Last night I almost entered a race I didn’t register for…and did not want to run! My thoughts were tip-toeing towards the start line of a race that many of us struggle with: our thoughts racing away from what is wise and true. Some new health concerns have opened up spheres of information that honestly, I’ve been “mostly” ignorant about. Never had to consider them personally, and so ignorance multiplied with no emotional or mental desire to learn, well…it led to naïve bliss. Bliss has been obliterated and that’s a good thing!
What happened? I allowed the seeds of “anti-Romans 12:2” to come near to my thoughts. This verse says, “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Transformation of our mind leads to transformation in the race we’re running. We can run the race of faith described in Hebrews 12:1-2 as our thoughts are planted upon Jesus and God’s word through consistent watering and nurture. Or, we can be swept away by our thoughts and emotions.
Do you struggle, like I do, to stay on the path of faith, when fears, anxieties, unknowns, and insecurities threaten to race our thoughts away to dark places? Maybe it’s not health concerns but finances. Paying the bills or attempting to figure out the world of savings, retirement, and life insurance. It’s a complicated maze of equations and statistics that confuse many of us! Maybe you’re facing relational struggles, in your marriage or friendships or with colleagues. Something feels off and you don’t know how to address or confront or even articulate it! Perhaps there is a sin struggle in your life that has been a familiar companion for way too long. You’re fairly certain God is calling you to “throw it off”(Hebrews 12:1), but what that practically means, and the specific steps towards freedom from it are an overwhelming blur as you ponder obedience.
Like me, your thoughts are starting to race…away from Christ and his hope and presence and truth. And like me, you don’t want this to happen.
Running to the Lord
Here’s how God rescued me last night.
1. I went to the Lord. I sought to throw off distractions as I mused upon what I was thinking and feeling. I knew I needed to stop, quiet down, and be still. I turned off my phone, closed my laptop, and went to another room in my home and sat with the Lord.
2. I called out to Him…and just put words (aloud) to what I was thinking and feeling. I sat…still. “Lord, I don’t know what to do. So many opinions and ‘expert’ voices. Help me hear you…help me, I’m overwhelmed!”
3. I listened. God reminded me of Psalm 32:8 in that moment, a powerful ‘soul-anchor’ verse for me over the last years. In it, our loving Lord, Great Physician and Counselor says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
4. I heard. This word of truth soaked onto my heart and the fears began to melt away, perhaps even race away (!) as darkness cannot stand its ground in the presence of Light!
5. I reached out. We call out to the Lord, and to others, not waiting till we can do so with calm and poise! In a word, we cry out, “HELP!” When we turn inward and don’t put words about our fears with God and trusted others, it’s an easy thing to be swept away by runaway thoughts. And, we’re not meant to journey alone! I need help from others not only to think rightly, but to learn, be educated and discipled in spheres where I lack knowledge.
I don’t share this list as Five Things You MUST Know About Racing Thoughts. They are offered to you with the hope that my experience will encourage you in yours!
Today, I still face a need to learn, decisions to make, and weakness and ignorance in spheres which I would rather avoid. God reminded me just a few moments ago that I have been praying to learn every drop of what he has for me in this faith trial. And he is teaching me new things about how crucial it is to watch over my thought life, and the subtle ways I can water seeds of fear and insecurity which lead to my precious mind racing away from what is true and hopeful.
Taking our thoughts captive to Jesus and his good news is definitely one of those aspects of sanctification which is a crockpot process, rather than a microwave. You know, the long, slow simmer in grace and the truth of God’s word rather than the quick deliverance! Oh…how I LOVE microwave sanctification! That’s a topic for a future post!