Does your mind ever fill so jumbled with all the thoughts that trying to make sense of them seems too big a task?
You’re not alone.
Scientists say the average brain processes between 2500 and 3500 thoughts an hour. That’s 50 thoughts per minute or nearly 48,000 thoughts on any given day. That’s a lot of thoughts and just thinking about it makes me tired.
In addition, research shows nearly 78% of our thoughts are negative. That means approximately three-fourths of what’s pinging inside our heads can be conceived as unhealthy or unproductive.
No wonder we are suffering.
We go to yoga classes and chiropractor appointments to help us ease tension. We reach for food to comfort us or pull the cover over our heads when we don’t feel like participating in life. And we all know someone who struggles with a consistently negative attitude. Perhaps that’s us.
Our minds are powerful. And before we realize what’s happening, we can become so consumed with our ideas that the life we are meant to live will suffer the consequences if we don’t get a grip on our thinking.
Recently, my morning walk reminded me of just how powerful our minds can be.
I was pounding out my steps. Enjoying the humidity that Georgia is known for in the summertime. Feeling strong. Feeling accomplished. Soaking up some alone time as I passed the budding trees and the neighborhood horses eating their breakfast.
I wasn’t far up the road when I realized I was watching my feet. Counting each step. Keeping cadence with the ideas that shouted for attention in my head.
My thoughts were feeling like the Kentucky Derby was taking place between my ears. Each one with its own lane, doing all it could to beat out the thought beside it. With blinders in place, each notion was determined to finish out its course before anyone else.
While my walk was strengthening my body, my loud, unorganized thoughts were weakening my mental state.
Until I glanced up and saw a large X right in front of me.
It couldn’t have been more clear if it was decked out with flashing lights and sirens.
Stop. The. Madness.
My thoughts had felt like that barbed wire, cutting their way through whatever necessary to get to first place. Now, my mind shifted to a farmer with industrial-strength gloves wrapping that wire around those posts, making sure to secure it so it wouldn’t move out of place.
And just like that barbed wire had to be wrangled and forced into its current state, we have to grab hold of our thoughts and show them who is boss.
Thankfully, the Bible is clear that with God’s help, we can do it.
You see, we serve a God of order, not of chaos.
A God of rest, not running.
A God of progress, not regress.
A God of refreshment, not weariness.
- Recognize those thoughts that have no place in our thinking.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:2
- Rope them up and show them who’s boss.
“ For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
- Return to a place of mental order and rest.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a
So…what are the names of your horses?
I would encourage you today to take stock of the thoughts that most consume your mind and write them down. Give them a name. Pluck them out from the midst of those beautiful beasts which belong on the track and put the wild ones out to pasture.
Perhaps this is your giant X.