It was a simple question that arrested my attention.
During a Sunday morning sermon, the preacher said, “What goes through your mind throughout the day?” He rotated his finger around his temple, like thoughts turning over and over. He didn’t say worry. He rolled his finger, “What goes around?”
That picture struck me.
What rolls through my mind? What thoughts churn there?
I have this lurking fear that I’m borderline lazy and weak. So many years ago, I began to keep tabs on my perseverance and faithfulness in the little things of life.
Over time, I began to berate myself for not doing life quickly and efficiently. There are people to help, jobs to complete, situations to be a witness in, a place to keep orderly, and time to spend alone with God. My thoughts became more and more a series of rationalizations, why I’m doing A instead of B, why I’m doing it now instead of later. I figured it was planning ahead, being organized, being able to explain when my family or friends were offended that they weren’t top priority at that moment.
I did not realize that my thinking and rationalizing was sucking the Lord’s peace out of me. I did love life. I loved God. I loved what God was doing in my life and those around me. But I still felt terrible saying No. To anyone. For any reason. No matter how many times I had already said Yes.
The preacher continued, “What should be going through your mind? One thing is, praise the Lord.” And he read a verse about praising the Lord.
Do my thoughts praise the Lord? Do I rely on Him for peace in decisions? Does God have an opinion about this?
A third idea from the preacher echoed in my mind, “Do you respond to God?”
I thought, “Yes, God, do I respond to You? Do you have an opinion about what rolls around in my mind throughout the day? I’m bringing it to You.”
I thought of James 1, how God doesn’t scold when I ask for help, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
I started to do that.
Throughout the day, I would find myself mulling over something, debating future decisions or berating past ones. Sometimes the thought was already well-chewed and no longer profitable by the time I realized what was “going through my mind.”
As soon as I caught myself, I switched to praising the Lord and asking for wisdom by turns. I looked for the blessings God had in that moment. I looked for the wisdom He gave for decisions that day. I reflected on the goodness of His character as my Savior, my God.
And I felt joy return to my soul.
I felt my spirit renew in the Lord. I felt strength to make decisions about the opportunities that God was offering me. I felt peace, realizing that if God approves, it doesn’t really matter who doesn’t.
Then something very surprising happened.
I slowed down. And I found answers.
Solutions would pop into my head for the task at hand. Joy would alleviate the burden of the moment. Strength would enable the present duty. I found that God is indeed, a very present help in time of trouble, even troubling thoughts.
I am once again excited to see what God will do in the moments ahead. 🙂