NEW CASTLE —
Where it goes, we follow.
Remember the old “don’t think about a pink elephant right now” test?
Yep. I’m thinking about one right now, too.
But here’s the powerful twist — the mind only goes where we take it.
You angry right now? You chose to take your mind there.
Worried about an upcoming test? You chose to take your mind there.
Thinking impure thoughts about the girl or guy sitting next to you? You chose to take your mind there.
That’s the bad news about our minds.
Want some good news? You can stop it.
“Act the age you want to be, not the age others expect.” — Harvey Mackay
As children, we all had vivid imaginations.
•As we shot hoops at the playground, we always dreamed of hitting a jumper at the buzzer to give our team a victory. I don’t recall thinking about the shot clanging off the rim.
•Grabbing a broom and using it as a microphone to “sing” to our audience. Music critics or mean “American Idol” judges never entered my mind.
•Pretending we were a doctor, a soldier or a police officer. I never even considered getting laid off.
•Tying a blanket around our necks and becoming the superhero who saved our city from ruin. What Kryptonite?
Then we grew up.
“Sometimes I feel like we're all still junior highers trying to be accepted by the cool kids, who are doing their best to convince us they're cool.” — Propaganda
Somehow, during the teen years, the mind takes a deep, dark turn:
•I wonder if people are talking behind my back?
•I’m so stupid! I’ll never get this math stuff!
•My coach hates me. That’s why he never puts me in the game.
•I’m such a loser. I can’t even get a date for the prom.
•Why did I have to come from a poor family?
•I wish I were taller/slimmer/tougher/smarter ... go ahead and fill in the blank.
“If you aren’t happy with the results in your life, take a hard look at your diet: what you eat, drink, listen to, read, and watch.” — Joshua Medcalf
And our thought life continues to spiral out of control into adulthood.
•How am I going to pay the mortgage?
•What does my boss expect me to do ... everything?
•Why did I pick this career? I wish I could just quit and start over.
•My children don’t respect me at all. Now what am I supposed to do?
•Am I going to die all alone?
•There’s got to be more to life than this.
“Your thoughts aren't real. They are patterns that only continue to exist because we keep listening to them.” — Kyle Cease
It all comes down to identity.
Ever heard the term, “who do you think you are?”
No truer words have ever been spoken.
So, who are you? Who am I?
Am I a superhero rockstar who hits the game-winning jumper?
Or am I the loser who flunked his math test and got rejected by the homecoming queen?
Yes. I am ... both.
So are you.
But neither defines who we really are.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” — Philippians 4:8
Think about it.
All the negative thoughts we have point in the same direction — back to us.
And there’s a good reason why we’re horrified: We can never live up to our own expectations.
But for those who have given up trying to live in our own strength, we know there is a way out.
Better still, we’ve learned there is The Way out.
We’ve found Someone who is honorable, pure, true and every other superlative we could imagine.
So we fix our eyes on Him. We think about Him as we embark on our days.
Peter did, and walked on water.
Paul did, and has influenced billions of people for the past 2,000 years — from a jail cell.
And so did Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Bono and Tim Tebow.
“The gospel doesn’t just free us from what other people think about us,” says Tullian Tchividjian. “It frees us from what WE think about ourselves.”
In other words, this life really isn’t about you. It’s not about me either.
So we don’t have to feel guilty over spilled milk. We don’t have to beat ourselves up over a missed assignment. We don’t have to pretend to look good for other people.
Isn’t that great news?
Doesn’t it make you want to crumple up every negative thought about your current self and toss it into the trash heap? Doesn’t it make you want to slip on the cape again, grab the broom and play LeBron in an imaginary game of one-on-one?
I thought it might.
See you at the playground, kid.
NEW CASTLE —
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