Making My Mind, Mind

angstTo make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Henry David Thoreau

In my darkest years, I was harassed by voices that accused me and terrorized me with memories of excruciating incidents. The voices jeered: “You’re alone, sick, and broke. God is mad at you. You’re a loser. Don’t get back up; you’ll only get knocked down again!”

The most difficult time to corral those renegade thoughts was when I was trying to get to sleep. Most nights, sleep eluded me. I would try to wear down the night by watching the clock. While drifting off, my mind raced like a nervous greyhound around an oval track, chasing a mechanical rabbit, and I struggled to drag them away from that track.

In my repeated readings of the book of Job I ran across these nighttime musings of his: “When I lie down I think, ‘How long till I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss till dawn” and, “Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.” (Job 7:4 and 30:17) I figured at least I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t sleep! I journaled prayers for deliverance from the taunts and toxic thinking. “Lord, tell my mind to mind me!”

After some of my well-meaning friends added to my confusion with sincere, but unwise, advice and comments, I applied the blood of Jesus to the doorpost of my mind and asked for the toxic thoughts to be turned away. I pleaded with God to save me from fear, anxiety, vengeance, bitterness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair and to fill me with his thoughts.

I began listening to Bible commentaries and lectures, which helped me chase Jesus instead of the elusive rabbit, and lull me to sleep at night. As I fell asleep listening to these tapes, the personality, teaching, and compassion of Jesus became a comfort to me and rested my mind.

Though I could not completely avoid the nagging voices of depression and despair, I began to block this “stinking thinking” by trying to “fix [my] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. . . about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Rather than letting outright lies and half-truths camp unchallenged in my mind, I sought to “cast down these imaginations and bring every thought back into captivity” (2 Corinthians 10). Whenever I wrestled my renegade thoughts under control or struggled to differentiate clearly between truth and lies, I told myself that I was making my mind, mind. Because I knew that if I didn’t make my mind up, something—or someone—would make it up for me.

Excerpted The Other End of the Dark. You can purchase it here. The profits all go to Freedom House.

One Reply to “Making My Mind, Mind”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: