Detoxing My Mind

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Do you remember that old commercial?  “This is your brains (Picture of an Egg), this is your brain on drugs? (Eggs drop in to a pan and begin frying). Any questions?”  It is an old anti-drug commercial and many similar ones have been created since then.  The bottom line message was when you do illicit drugs you fry your mind. The “mind is a terrible thing to waste” after all.  I’d go further and say, it is our mind, our thinking and choosing, that influences both our emotions and our behaviors. How we perceive things has impact on our feelings and attitudes about it. This then gives us options for how to respond.  If you are “sure” you’re going to fail that math test, then chances are you won’t feel good about it. If you don’t feel good about it you’re much more likely to under study (procrastinate) or fearfully over study (obsessively stay up all night studying) and walk into class that day from a place of fear. Fear breeds poor decisions and behaviors. A healthy society does not function from a “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” mindset. How we think, the decision making process, and our perspective sets the direction for how we will behave.

In the Garden of Eden the serpent put this to the test. He asked Eve a simple question, “Did God really say...?” To which she basically replied.  “Yes.” She repeated what God had said to her.  At this point she was stable and no sin was committed.  Her thinking remained intact. She wasn’t going to eat from the tree. However, when the serpent retorted, “You won’t die!” And “it will make you like God”, something happened.  It opened a doubt in her mind that maybe, just maybe God was holding out on her. Maybe there really was something to gain from eating of the tree of knowledge. After all it did appear good to eat and it could make her wise. You can almost feel her mindset changing as you read Genesis 3. It was game over for her right then. She hadn’t eaten of the tree, but her thinking lead to the feelings and ultimately the behavior. So simply put: Bad Thinking leads to Bad Behaving. So this begs the question, what does our thought life look like?

You might have heard it said, “Garbage in - Garbage out”. Or, in the programming world we had an acronym FIFO (first in first out).  They have similar applications. The idea is, what you put into something is what is going to come out of it. So let’s take a look at our daily thought intake.  Look at all the channels in our lives that encourage thought. Which of those channels promote messages that aren’t helpful to you. How do we know what is not beneficial? Somethings you already know. Just by reading this the Holy Spirt may be prompting you saying, “This has to go.” Maybe nothing comes to mind.  It may not be obvious where the toxins are coming from. I would suggest that anything which kills your joy, makes you feel heavy, hopeless, yucky, or irritable after “consuming it” probably isn’t good for you and will most likely cause you to feel better once you reduce or remove it from your life.  Have you ever spent an hour watching or reading something only to feel worse afterwards? To me, that sounds like something toxic is going on there. 

My family and I have been Cable TV free for nine years now. Initially outside of our will, but now very much inside it.  Time spent away from TV has helped us to naturally detox over time and in the process help us feel so much better about ourselves and our lives. We actually have more free time to do things we want to do and spend time with friends and family. When we do watch TV, while traveling for example, we see things very differently. We can better identify what is helpful for us, and what is not. Why? Distance from the toxins make the toxic effect more obvious. 

I need to pause here for a moment and give a disclaimer. I’m not promoting everyone do what I do. I’m not saying I have all the answers or that there is only one way to do this. What I AM trying to do is share some helpful tips that I’ve learned and that we use at The Fold, which may also be helpful for you. My intent is that you would grow in your relationship with God. This means that you run your ideas for change by Him to see if it is right for you. I don’t want us to live legalistically, which separates us from intimacy with God. I want us to live relationally in communion, fellowship and communication with Him.  So, ask before you jump into something that you might want to do.  Ok?  Thanks!

Back to detoxing our minds...  being intentional with your actions and awareness are key. What are we consuming (in our minds), and is it helpful for us?  Have you ever spent an hour on YouTube only to realize an hour just went by? Where did that time go? What have I been watching? Did this add value to my life or did it add clutter? I’m not saying YouTube is bad. I’m asking you to think about your intake and prayerfully ask if it is right for you.

If you want to start thinking healthier you will need to intake healthy things. Reading scripture is a safe bet, but most of us won’t read the Bible for four hours straight. What else can we be doing with our thought resources?  Serving others can be a great use of that time. Instead of focusing on me and my needs, what can I be doing to help others?  Can I make someone a meal, spend some relational time with them, or pray for someone?  These thoughts will bring life and freedom to your mind. Am I thinking on things that are “True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely...” (Phil 4:8) or am I consuming without thought everything that comes my way?  Just a thought. Am I allowing what others are saying into my thought life? Next week we will talk about Detoxing our Relationships.

“Father, I need your help to identity things that are not of you and are toxic to my thinking. I realize that toxic thinking will not lead to righteous behavior. I want to live in freedom, in Joy, and from your life. Teach me your ways Father. Free me from the heaviness of my mind and replace hopelessness with hope, fear with faith, and despair with joy. Thank you Father for sanctifying my mind.  Amen."

David Laroche