If there's ever anything I wanted to be when I grew up it was this: Charming. I think it's almost better to be charming than to have computer skills, but we all value things differently.
Unfortunately for you, I am not charming. In fact, if I'm anything, it's probably best described as awkward and neurotic. If there is any crazy conclusion that will result in anxious behavior, I assure you, I've had it. Case and point: I was laying in bed one night and I heard an airplane fly over my house. All of a sudden, my breath caught in my throat and I got all panicky thinking about what would happen if that plane fell out of the sky and crashed into my house.
I wish I were lying. But that? Is just a sample of the ridiculousness that goes on inside my head. You don't even want to know the panic attacks I've induced over little Navajo.
But that pattern of thinking is no new thing with me. In fact, I would say those reactions are systemic of a deeply ingrained pattern of thinking. A pattern God has probably been speaking to my heart for years, but I only just started noticing since January. (What can I say? I don't pay attention wel...SQUIRREL!)
Since the issue is, in fact, systemic, panic isn't the only emotion derived from my thought patterns. I've also graciously developed skills in paranoia, suspicion, fear, hurt (often imagined) and even allowed those patterns to lead me to long seasons fighting a depression I couldn't always identify. And while medication was and is always an option (and often a good one for a lot of people), I quickly became aware that my problem would quickly return if I didn't find a way to treat it at the root.
During one season of Bible study, I remember reading something Beth Moore said. Paraphrased, she indicated that since the whole of her mind was diseased, the whole of her mind needed to be remade. And that meant trashing the things that led to those familiar thought patterns.
Her thought really resonated with me, and since I found myself being less than positive about several situations in my life, I aimed to change a few things to focus my mind on Christ. For a while, I only listened to Christian music--not because I think Christian music is the only route to go (it certainly isn't), but because it was a guaranteed bit of positivity to my less-than-positive mind.
Eventually, though, I let that go and stopped worrying about my thinking tendencies and found myself struggling with the same set of thoughts I've already described. A cycle will be a cycle until you decide to break it.
Or until God says, "You've circled this mountain long enough. Turn north" (Deut. 2:3).
(Odd how that scripture applies to my thinking regarding weight loss. Oh, and everything else. Turns out my whine and self-medicate approach likely isn't healthy.)
The Nehemiah study really brought this home for me. Every week, Kelly Minter really seemed to focus on the gates we weren't latching and what was coming through as a result. Every week, I would justify the things I wanted to maintain even when I realized they were feeding my manic thought life.
So, gradually, I've started to identify what has to go...
What I will not read (which was extremely difficult because I will read almost anything)...
What I will not watch...
What I will not hear...
It's been a rough process because not everything was counter to Scripture. In fact, I realized there were some things that cultivated my bad thought life simply because they threw me in a frenzy of comparison or something similar. (But some things were outside of what is acceptable for a Phil. 4:8 Christian to consider. Waaaay outside.)
Clearly, everything I'm learning boils down to one true thing: bending my knee to God's authority in my life. And gracious. It's going to take me a lifetime to get there.