We dreamers and creators are always working toward a goal or dealing with a problem; waiting and hoping for answers and breakthroughs. Along the journey to realizing our hopes and aspirations we’ll encounter opposition and setbacks, and we’ll need to be able to endure delays and disappointments. Sadly, when “life happens,” it’s tempting to give up on our dreams and creative pursuits. If we want to stay the course and fulfill our destinies, we’ll need the backing, encouragement, comfort, strength, and reassurance that comes from One greater than ourselves. To get this Divine support, we’ll need some basic training … to follow several important spiritual steps.
More on Managing your Mind
Previously: If you’re going to tap into your creativity and fulfill your dreams, it’s imperative that you discipline yourself to think positive, faith-filled thoughts. “Stinking thinking” and toxic emotions make a deadly combination that is pure poison for Dreamers and Creators. It can sap your energy, steal your time, sabotage your efforts, and eventually lead to the death of your dreams.
Who’s in charge here?
Most of us need to feel we have some degree of control over our lives and destinies. So it’s a sobering truth that, according to Denis Waitley, “You are either the Captain or the Captive of your thoughts.” (Chicken Soup for the Soul: Unlocking the Secrets to Living Your Dream, p.14) In other words, do you control your thoughts — or do your thoughts control you?
The Apostle Peter wrote, “…Gird your minds for action, keep sober….” (1 Peter 1:13 NAS 1977) The word gird means: to muster [collect, assemble] up one’s resources; to equip and make secure; to prepare for action. Peter is admonishing us to collect our thoughts, to stay focused — not wasting valuable mental real estate on negative, unproductive and destructive thoughts — to stay intellectually and spiritually alert, and ready for action. This is precisely the strategy we need to adopt, especially when pursuing a dream or tackling a creative project.
Here’s another, more direct translation of the verse: “…Think clearly and exercise self-control.” (NLT) Got that? Get C.O.N.T.R.O.L. of your thought-life.
The human brain is not unlike a super computer — with a powerful high-speed camera built-in. It records a lot of information (and imagery), and then imbeds it in the mind. Not all of this info is useful. Some of it is even harmful. All of it has an affect on our productivity, as well as how we function (act) and what we say (including some stuff “That does not compute!”). As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
And, like a computer, the brain’s “data storage space” is not unlimited. In fact, what God has given us is precious — and will be until someone invents a zip drive that plugs into the side of the neck. So, as with a computer, it pays to frequently peruse old data files, to see what’s clogging the system. Taking a Mental Inventory allows us to evaluate the quality (and creative value) of our thoughts.
Try it. Ponder these self-assessment questions:
- What’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning?
- What’s continually on my mind throughout the day? (What dominates my thoughts?)
- What’s the last thing I think about before going to bed?
- What am I putting into my mind?
- What am I reading, watching, listening to, and engaging in (games/social media)?
Ready to evaluate your test against THE standard? The measuring stick is what the Apostle Paul wrote roughly 2000 years ago: “…Friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Philippians 4:8 MSG)
Join us tomorrow for the conclusion of this important Boot Camp step about Managing Your Mind: MAKE UP YOUR MIND!