For the past several month I've been reading from the devotional "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. I love the way she writes from Jesus' perspective and reminds us about getting our focus on Him so that we can enjoy peace in His presence. Lately the devotions have been mentioning how important it is to take our thoughts captive and worship only God. Anything else we focus on becomes an idol, even our anxious thoughts.
This resonated strongly with me because I continue to struggle with how I think. I'm sick of myself, quite frankly. My depression is getting better thanks to counseling and medication. I find myself humming around the house quite often, so you would think that means I'm happy, wouldn't you?
Well, apparently some part of me has not gotten that message because I still find myself often thinking in very negative ways. I think ahead to how things could go in the future and I feel fear. I think back to how things have gone in the past and I feel guilt and regret. I think about how things are going each moment of the day and I usually feel either pride or frustration (and then guilt for feeling either of those things). So much focus on those kinds of thoughts leads me right back to feeling hopeless and depressed.
On the other hand, when my focus is on God I really do feel more hope, joy, and peace. I've had a word picture in my head today that seems to relate to this idea. I'm picturing a large herd of wild horses, running together through a beautiful landscape. They are strong, sleek, and fearless. They move almost as one as their pounding hooves leave the miles behind. Then my mind imagined a dumb old mule running into the midst of all of these powerful animals. He lets out a bellowing "Hee haw" and stands stubbornly in the midst of the herd, kicking his hind legs out behind him, refusing to run where the herd is going.
I think this image just may help me to be a little more deliberate about how I'm thinking. I think my thoughts focused on God are more like the wild horses. There is power there, there is beauty, there is purpose. There is also a bit of fear because you never know exactly where God will take you, but you know the ride will be exciting.
Random negative thoughts are like that dumb mule that gets in there and messes everything up. Those thoughts ruin our momentum, slow us down, keep us stuck, and often make us look like a fool. Maybe it will help if I try to recognize those "mule thoughts" and focus more on the thoughts that give me the beautiful power of those wild stallions.
I don't know if it will help, but I'm going to give it a try.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
Do you ever have runaway thoughts? How can keeping your focus on God help you to feel more hope, peace, and joy?