Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bootcamp for our Thought Life. (Because we are the fiercest freedom thief!)

As much as I would prefer to think that the only freedom thief is a villainous, red caped, fallen angle, I find him second to the featured robber of today's post.

I doubt I'm alone when I confess that it's much more comfortable to play the victim, to presume that all threats to my freedom are from the outside. Yet,  of all the nemesis of liberty that I have experienced, there is none fiercer than....


More than the Devil or other people (I'll process about that next time), I give myself the most problems.  I steal my own freedom,  I bend down to my ankles and fasten one ball and chain after another.  I reject Jesus' offer for freedom , and instead, chose the painful weight of submitting to my flesh.

I see this freedom thief (uh, Me) running wild because of one main reason:

I have let my thought life run free, and unrestrained. And the result is a bit of a dull, and soft conscious.

I go through my days, (like most women), and I can maintain an on-going conversation with myself in the quiet of my mind, all while being amazingly high functioning on the outside. My husband can leave the world's problems on the breakfast nook and dad-gum, I will have them solved and packaged up before he gets home. Right? Like you, I know that I can make meals, clean up meals, change eight diapers (eight.), color, wrestle, play soccer, race, and do puzzles, all while being extremely deep in thought.

In my recent weeks, God has graciously revealed to me my need to train my thoughts. I have three little amigos with me all day, and most days, it's just us.  Like lots of young moms, we have lots of 'dead' time, where my brain can get itself in a lot of trouble.  I don't know about you but I can read "Go, Dog, Go" while being chin-deep in thoughts of regret.  I can fight about vegetables (patiently, of course) while replaying a painful situation for the 20th time that hour.

 And of late, those overgrown, vicious thoughts have been my freedom thief.  Here's why:

#1. They are not true. Pretty simple, huh?  When the thoughts are so secret between me and....me, there is nobody to tell me that I have lost all objectivity. Because I'm only listening to myself, I can't listen to anyone telling me that I have now accepted a brain-full of lies. I have slowly drifted, one mundane day to the next, wandering off to an emotional desert.

#2. The second problem with flesh-fed thoughts is that they are not Gospel-based.  When my mind has gone unkept, it loves to plop down in a puddle of either self-debasement or self-love. Both of those puddles leave my pants stained with all sorts of spots of selfishness, pride, vanity, and drama. My conclusion at the end of these thoughts is never anything helpful, life-giving, or encouraging to others.

And so, while I may have avoided Satan's attempts to enslave me, I am now a slave to my own thoughts.  And in moments of grace I feel the gap between how I am living and how I was made to live.

So what the heck do we do?

How do we pursue the freedom that we were called to? How do we fight this freedom thief?

We put our thought-life in boot camp:

#1. We must be willing to take most of the blame.  We must be aware of our ability (and maybe, our habit) of choosing chains. We must stop shifting all the blame for our imprisonments. Yes, there is attack from the Enemy, and there are attacks or wrongs of other people, but often we are largely to blame.

#2. Immediately after #1, we must preach the Gospel to ourselves.  We don't beat ourselves up that we are weak or imperfect, but we accept that we are sinners who desperately need the grace of a loving God.  We see ourselves for what we really are--utterly lost and guilty.  And then we just let our Maker pour his goodness on us.  We let Him remind us of his power that shows up and steals the show from our weakness.  We let Him swoop in, overcoming our heart and mind, thus lining us up with what is true.

#3. We must actively fight our own thoughts. From the FIRST moment of our days, we must be ready to argue with our flesh.  Our flesh that feeds on self-preservation, self-comfort, entitlement, and pride (among other things, but those are my flesh's favorites). We must keep a tight leash on our thoughts, we must, through Christ's power, obtain control over our thoughts.

#4. In addition to fighting off fleshly thoughts, we must also be diligent to train our minds, we must have a plan. Similar to cutting fat, and replacing it with muscle, we can't just erase unhealthy thoughts, we must fill that vacancy with life-giving thoughts. If this is an area that you are currently struggling with, like me, I would encourage you to post this picture around your kitchen, on the banner on your phone, in your car. (Think about what you are around during your 'dead' times, times when your thoughts tend to run wild.)

For example, last week I was driving home from the zoo, listening to Micah educate me about the difference between jaguars and leopards. I was listening, I was giving occasional "mmmhmmmm"s.  But silmultaneously, I was playing the broken record of a guilty-failure-despair-Rebekah-song. God graciously prompted me to stop, out loud say "NOPE," literally turn my head, (and probably swerving a bit!) to symbolize turning my thoughts from unhealthy to healthy. I then purposely think about traits of God that leave me in awe, graces that I am thankful for, or more fully engaging about the conversation with my littles, i.e.---jaguars.

 #5. Lastly, and most importantly, we must ask God to break off our self-applied chains.  We must cry out to Him for deliverance from our own flesh.  A flesh that only brings death and pain, albeit disguised in promotion or comfort. He alone can see the ball and chains on our ankles--placed by lies that have made a home in our brains.  He alone can see the condition of our heart--nailed down and paralyzed by untruths we have adopted and carried around

And we ask him to heal us from the effects of a unrestrained mind, we ask him to heal the deep abrasions on our ankles from the chain, the empty hole in our heart, caused by nails of this freedom thief. 


  1. Thank you for being transparent with this blog. I am truly blessed to know that there are others like me waging the battle for victory over my thoughts, attitudes and failures. Your words have brought life and hope to this weary-warrior. Keep being real! Nancy

  2. Thank you Nancy, your comment encouraged me--it's a cycle! :)