Bible Reference: We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
Have you ever felt like you need a vacation…. from your own head? We have to-do lists and check lists and grocery lists and lists of lists rumbling around our heads. There are meal plans and chore lists and things-not-to-forget-lists, appointments on our calendars and Christmas lists for all our people. It gets crowded in that small 6x6 inch space we call “the brain!”
Yesterday we talked about intentionally carving out time to be silent. Your time probably went something like this, “And now I will quiet myself before the Lord. Oh, and I have to remember to send that email today. OK. Deep breath. Back to quieting myself before the - Is the oven on? I think I left the oven on. I should go check. (Ten minutes later) And now I will quiet myself before the - where is my Bible? I bet I left it at Bible study. I’ll text _____ to see if it’s there. Wait, where’s my phone?”
Quieting ourselves before the Lord can be the exact opposite of peaceful! Sitting down to be quiet seems to be an invitation for all the noisy lists and demanding thoughts stored up in our head to clamor for our attention. Like toddlers, our noisy thoughts can be very bossy and very needy. It takes practice to cultivate a quiet mind, because it goes against culture and the world’s unspoken pressure to be a “human doing.” But God created us as human BEINGS; his greatest desire is to just be with us. This requires us to take every thought captive and be the boss of each and every one. Our minds are not the boss of us! Just like toddlers, we can’t give our minds everything they want when they want it. We say when, where, and how.
Just like all closets need a good cleaning every once in a while, so do our brains. Practicing the art of silence is one way to declutter the mind.
As you practice the art of silence again today, keep paper nearby to write down the random thoughts demanding your attention. After your time of silence, categorize them:
- The Keep category (requiring further action or maintenance)
- The Trash category (a lie, a nagging thought, a worry or concern, a negative idea. Anything that you need to get rid of.)
- The Donate category (any needs, wants, hopes, or desires you need to surrender to God.)