Tag Archives: thoughts

Where Your Mind Goes, So Go You


It started out as a feeling, which grew into a hope, which then turned into a quiet thought, which then turned into a quiet word, and then that word grew louder and louder until it was a battle cry.
– “The Call” Regina Spektor

                Sitting in the movie theater, my eyes adjusting to the lights that had just come up at the end of the movie, I knew I loved the credit song.  It didn’t hurt that it was sung by one of my favorite song artists, but I would have loved the song if it had been sung by someone else.  I loved the words and the instrumentation.  It was gorgeous.  Breath-taking. Magical.  And the lyrics of the chorus haunted me, hit me deeply, because I knew they were true.

Our thoughts are incredibly important.  They lead to actions.  And, apparently, actions are the fruit, or product of our hearts. But if actions are the product / fruit of our hearts, than our thoughts, are  the food of our hearts.

We have many sources for our thoughts – life itself, school, movies, music, friends, parents, T.V., the list goes on.

But it is the thoughts themselves that are our heart’s food.   It is our choice to focus our thoughts on what we want (or don’t want) from those movies and music.  What you choose to think about from the conversations you have throughout the day, from the subjects in school you’re learning, from the TV shows you watch and the songs you listen to, affects you.

It’s kinda like a dinner buffet.  At a buffet, you have many options of food to eat.  And you get to choose what you want to eat, or not eat.  You can choose from spaghetti or lasagna or some sketchy-looking Chinese meal, the salad, or the roast beef.  Well, the world is the same way with our thoughts.  You have the choice to think about stuff from movie last night, or from the book you’re (supposed to be) reading for Language, or from the conversation you had with your friend, or from the song that’s overplayed right now on the radio.  It’s your choice.

But here’s the thing, just like if you chose healthy food to put in your body your body functions more along the lines of its originally intended plan, so your heart functions in a healthier manner if you feed it healthy “food”, or thoughts.

From your thoughts grow actions.  Which might be why Jesus goes all strict-bun-in-a-tight-bun-steel-rimmed-glasses-ancient substitute teacher on people in Matthew.  He’s rather tough when it comes to such things.  He says it’s just as bad to lust after someone as to actually have sex with them.  It’s just as bad to hate someone as to actually murder them.

Maybe because if you continue to think those thoughts of lust or anger, they grow, and then …there’s a chance, should you be given the opportunity … you’ll ACT out of those thoughts.  And even if you don’t actually ever murder someone, or sleep with a man who’s not your husband, or say one nasty comment to your mother, those thoughts are still causing you to treat the people around you in ways that are not honoring to God, or honoring the fact that they were made in His image.

And God’s a pretty big stickler when it comes to how we treat each other.  He highly stresses treating each other with love and respect.  It’s a huge deal.  Love God and love your neighbor.  It’s incredibly important to Him – in fact, that’s how the world is supposed to know we love God – by our obedience to Him (which causes us to live differently than the rest of the world) and by how we treat others.  And if your thoughts aren’t reflective of that, your actions (and words and facial expressions) won’t be either.

So, be careful what you allow your thoughts to dwell on, what you focus on.  Your thoughts feed your heart.  And out of your heart spring actions.  Your thoughts have a great deal of power over how you treat others, so be careful what you think.

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En GUARDE!

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told to guard my heart.  Like sitting in 7th grade Bible, right after having a discussion about how tampons work.  No joke.  Sorry.  Or 8th grade Bible, and Language, and Social Studies, and P.E. and chapel.  And then practically every-other chapel in 9th through 12th grade. And it mysteriously came up in every high school Bible class.  And in every Christian book I read (fiction and non-fiction).

So, I thought I got the picture.  I mean, it’s pretty simple, right?  Don’t fall completely in love with a boy until you marry him, right?  Simple.

HA!

The thing is, growing up, whether or not the speakers were actually doing this, I always heard “guard your heart” in connection with dating and boys.  Which isn’t really the case.  Giving your heart away is different than guarding your heart.

SO VERY different.

There are SO MANY other things that are going to try to steal or taint your heart other than boys (or girls).  Like anything and everything.  Literally.  Anything on this earth that can be twisted and tweaked so that it can become an obsession that takes your focus away from God.  It will steal your heart.  Like food.  Like Facebook.  Like reading.  Or watching TV.  Or dreaming about your future.  Or working out.  Or computer games.  Or board games (don’t ask). Or coffee.  Or a band.  Or ANYTHING.

Now, before you freak out on me.  Those things I just listed aren’t bad.  I promise.  It’s when they become more important to you than your relationship with God – when you turn to them instead of God when you’re angry/frustrated/confused/depressed – that’s bad.

Incase you didn’t pick up my subtleties there – whoever /whatever you go to when you’re in a rough spot –t hat’s who has your heart.  Wherever /whoever you spend all your free time with – that’s who has your heart.

And it’s no use trying not to “give it” to someone /something, because we as humans are wired to give our hearts away.  You’ve given it to something already.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t guard it, or that you shouldn’t guard it.  Because you should.  Definitely.  Crazy thought – you even should guard it AFTER having given it!  In fact, hopefully whoever you give it to should help you guard it, and you should help guard theirs.

So guard it!  Your heart is the single most precious thing you’re responsible for.

Now, the question I wish someone would have addressed in all those talks I sat through – HOW?!?

I think, as simple (and impossible) as it sounds, the key to guarding our hearts are in our thought patterns.  We are, after all, commanded to think about only things that are good, pure, honorable – all that jazz (Phil 4:8).  That’s a HUGE part of guarding your heart.  Watching / listening to stuff that wouldn’t make you blush if Jesus walked in the room (I know that’s cheesy, but it works) .  And that doesn’t mean only watching stuff that is morally-right, or singers that don’t use cuss words.  It’s more along the lines of in what condition does that song/movie/show/person leave you in when you’re done listening/watching/hanging out.  Are you generally encouraged and challenged?  Or are you angry/frustrated/scared.  How is your heart feeling?  Taking stock of how the world around you affects you – that’s guarding your heart.

Be vigilant*.  Be strong.  Stand True.

 

* (I know – old-school word you have no idea what it means – go look it up!)

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