It was 3 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts seemed to have a mind of their own, and as much as I tried to quiet myself, I was overwhelmed by all the things in life beyond my control. All the ways I want to protect and defend myself, but can’t. I had the nearly irresistible urge to attempt to right all that is backwards and messed up in my life, and to start that process by working on everyone else. Three in the morning seemed as good a time as any.
I am supposed to let God be my defender, my shield. I know that. I stopped and told myself this as I stared at the ceiling, but immediately I continued rehearsing the ways I’d like to fix every relationship in my life. The thoughts, the panic, the fear that I’d always be misunderstood were an unrelenting flood.
“God, help me. Help me to trust You. I don’t know how to give all this to You, but it’s Yours.”
I should say this to so-and-so. If only they understood or knew me better…
“NO. YOU defend me, God. I’ve proven over and over that I can’t do it.”
Maybe if I hadn’t said it that way, they would have heard the truth…
Frustrated, I realized I couldn’t will my thoughts into change. I can’t will anyone’s thoughts to change.
Then, mercifully, a scripture popped into my head; one of my favorites:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. -Philippians 4:8
I focused my thoughts on something I knew to be true. When my mind began to rebel, I recounted stories of people acting honorably, treating fellow man with generosity and respect. I thought of lilies, pure white. Fields of dandelions and waterfalls tucked away in icy mountains… and I drifted off to sleep in awe of God’s creativity and wisdom.
Maybe that verse is in the Bible for people like me (and you?), whose thoughts become unruly and can’t be tamed by will alone. Maybe this is the key to redirecting a torrent of thoughts that refuses to stop flowing.
Maybe Philippians 4:8 is our anchor in the flood.
Have you had a mind too busy lately? Focus on truth. See honor in people. Think about everything that’s right in your life. Think about the untarnished, pure things. Find things to admire. Look for things that are excellent and that you can applaud.
Your problems might shrink just a little.