Tangled

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For those whose thoughts have been holding them captive, may you find release and know the peace that surpasses understanding…

 

 

 

 

Tangled
Thoughts twist ‘round and through
Motives mingled with impurity.
Emotions churn like turning tides
Struggling to conquer and subdue.
Guilelessness gives sway,
Tugged from shifting sand
While innocence gasps for breath
Beneath crashing waves of deceit.

Habits rise and fall,
Tumbling in and out,
One after the other.
Each struggling for firm footing
To become
King of the Mountain
On the playground
Of my soul.

Fears
From the past
Accelerate doubts
For the future,
Cutting off hope
For the present.
Despondency is captor’s name,
Indifference, my bedfellow
As I surrender to this
Self-imposed confinement.

Breath of Heaven,
Send Your wind.
Rattle prison doors
With Voice that named the stars.
Awaken truth to
Stir these bones long dead.
Sprinkle Your stardust of mercy
Upon this wayward life.

Raise me to joyous heights
As I dare to trust,
Dare to dream
Once more.
Sweep through the chaos.
Tug my heartstrings
Toward Your presence.
Work Your magic and
Untangle me.

rope-heart

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Fried Eggs and Scrambled Thoughts

Many years ago there was an anti-drug commercial that showed a man holding an egg while stating, “This is your brain.” He then picks up a skillet and says, “This is drugs.” After cracking the egg and frying it in the skillet, the man looks at the camera and asks, “Any questions?”

Despite the simplicity of the commercial, the point was made. More than 25 years later, and I still remember that “drugs fry your brain.” Funny how things stick with us.

Recently my thought life seems to be running the course of the wayward egg on its way to the skillet. It’s frightening how quickly one little thought can hit a hot spot in my mind and start sizzling with intensity. And it doesn’t just sit there and fry nicely; it becomes a big, scrambled mess. And while scrambled eggs can be nourishing to the body, nasty thoughts are not.

In fact, they tend to smell a lot like rotten eggs.

Given the number of scrambled impressions wildly careening about in my mind lately, it’s easy for me to see why the Bible places an emphasis on taking every thought captive under the obedience of Jesus Christ. My unchecked thoughts are prone to “fry my attitude” much like the famed commercial shows that drugs can fry my brain. I think it’s time for an intervention.

But just how does one go about controlling her thoughts?

How do I capture those random impressions that work their way into my psyche so completely, eluding proper management?

By adopting  a “whatever” attitude. 

When a wayward thought pops up and begins sizzling in the skillet of a negative perspective, turn off the heat by applying God’s Philippians 4:8 “whatever” standards.

Whatever is true. Is that thought you are processing based upon a rumor or false assumption? If so, ditch it and ponder the fact that the person whom you are thinking of in an unfavorable light is created in the image of God.

Whatever is noble. Are your thoughts honoring or discrediting the one upon whom you are focusing?

Whatever is just. Are you fair in your assessment of others, or are you judging them based on hearsay? Are you holding them accountable to your own standards of conduct or presuming that they will act in ways that are more honorable than your own?

Whatever is pure. Have your thoughts been muddied by the influence of others? Guard against contaminating thoughts that are prone to overrun the banks and pollute the surrounding area.

Whatever is lovely. Focus on beautiful things. Try seeing the bright side of a situation instead of constantly looking at the downside. It’s amazing how beholding beauty lightens the heart and breathes life into the soul.

Whatever is of good report. Are you tempted to believe a bad report? Dwelling on the “what ifs” of a possible outcome generally only lead us to worry and anxiety. Believe the promises of God, then apply them to your life accordingly.

Whatever is virtuous. There’s a reason that a man of integrity is honored by the Lord. Strive to live a life that is above reproach. Your thoughts are a great place to begin.

Whatever is praiseworthy. Building others up is much healthier than tearing them down, and it increases joy for all involved. The next time you’re tempted to allow your thoughts to drive you toward demolition of another’s character, exchange the wrecking ball for a hammer and nails, then work toward repairing the rifts.

Reining in random thoughts is a lifelong responsibility. Some days we’ll do better than others, but the goal is to continue responding to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Surrendering ourselves to truth, then positioning ourselves to reflect it.

And just in case you need a visual reminder…

These are your thoughts:

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These are your thoughts without God’s intervention:

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Any questions? 

Sucking the Life out of Living

It was another morning on the beach. Another day of nearly 12 successive walks on the beach. Sand, shore, shells. Run, chase, walk, breathe. We stomped through shallow pools while the high tide pulled the ocean away from below our feet, and I considered every beautiful analogy the ocean offered.

Everything, great and small, points to Him, to beauty, to imagination. Stories are in every element of creation and nature, and if I’m tuning in, I feel like I see and hear them all.

And instead of feeling the usual overwhelming sense of gratitude toward the great analogy played out around us, I was irritated.

I was annoyed that the ocean was so big, and I was so small. I was annoyed that I looked at shells and saw my heart. I was angry that watching my daughter chase birds made me think more about a blog entry instead of her.

I am prone to always dig below the surface in my own life. Sometimes this is beauty. Sometimes it’s distraction. I admit, there are times I end up extracting another meaning out of a situation simply because I am unable, unwilling or too bored to experience what is actually happening.

I wonder how different my words and relationships would be if I stopped viewing all things through the spin of my wild mind.

On that beach, while my daughter chased birds, I told myself to forget about the extra meanings and possible metaphors. I actually shook my head and closed my eyes and told myself to listen, and breathe, and then watch and experience.

Extracting is good. Mining for the deep things is a hard and necessary work. Sometimes I need to look at the world around me and realize that God is still speaking through the work of His hands. I want to notice how interwoven and connected everything is.

And sometimes I want to just get dirty feet, feel the heat of the sun and notice how my daughter’s curls form perfectly on her shoulders on a humid April afternoon. I need days full of her crinkled nose and storytelling. I need to pay more attention to the words I say to her instead of the words I’m writing inside. It’s all happening so fast, I think. While I’m mentally adding and erasing metaphors, I’m accidentally erasing myself from my own story…
(excerpt from The Organic Bird the Blog)

Have you ever read something and felt as if you had taken a sucker punch to the gut? That’s similar to my stomach’s reaction after  reading the above wisdom from a fellow blogger. It was if she had seen into that part of me that I try to hide from others – the truth being that I do try to hide from others. My heartbeat melded with her words:
I admit, there are times I end up extracting another meaning out of a situation simply because I am unable, unwilling or too bored to experience what is actually happening.

I escape. I hide myself in words. If things are devastating, I’m attempting to take away a hidden meaning – my mind racing with metaphors to link the pain with purpose. If things are joyful, words are tumbling within me straining to be released in a blog to match the blessing. And sometimes I am simply bored – so my mind disconnects, fleeing into its own world of swirling similes and ponderous paradoxes, aching for pen and paper, instead of  being there. 

Wherever there may be.

I can get so caught up viewing things through my own wild mind, that I forget to live the moment.

With my penchant to scratch below the surface, I suck the life out of living. I silence the beauty that is unfolding, forgetting that it is doing so wholly for the sake of being beautiful, not for the benefit of my writing projects.

It shouldn’t be so much work to enjoy life. But it is.

Because I refuse to simply let life happen.

As wonderful as this propensity toward words can be, as enlightening and freeing as they can seem, there is always the threat of too much meaning. A distraction from living life as it comes.

So today I am seeking silence. Calming my tendency to manipulate the moments with my thoughts, curbing my bent toward many words.

Today I am asking God to fill me with His presence as I rest my mind.

Today I choose to grasp life.

One beautiful breath at a time.

And who knows, rather than accidentally erasing myself from my own story, perhaps I will purposefully live it instead.

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