How do you handle a cluttered mind?
How do you sift through truth and lies? How do you know where to move towards next? Every now and then my mind goes in to this paralyzed space where it shuts down. It sees the fifty thoughts and predicaments and emotions swirling around, battling for attention and freezes amidst them all. I can feel my heart stutter, wondering where it’s supposed to rest.
Often when I find myself here, I notice a demeanor shift. My conduct becomes out of line with my heart. I begin to act and speak out of my flesh rather than the will or Spirit of God. I begin to convince myself that I’m “fine” or “handling it,” that I will “get back in the swing of things.” Oh, how we lie to ourselves in fear of seeming weak!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
In the book of Romans, Paul’s readers were confusing a law of faith with a law of works. They thought and acted based on OT rituals, sacrifices, and work and defined that as faithful living. Paul, however, is challenging them to remember the work and person of Christ. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” meaning do not settle for the outward appearance of obedience and good deeds and ignore the internal work that needs to be done. It is the internal that transforms our outward obedience, not the other way around.
Because of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit has sealed our salvation and it is through this grace that we are daily renewed. A thinking and learning through bible study and prayer that the Holy Spirit blesses – and we learn, slowly, day by day, how to live more like Christ.
This is the place I need to draw back to in times of paralysis. When my mind is full of this world’s antics and echoing human frailty, it must be the foundation of our faith, the internal work, that I come back to. Letting the word of God nourish my soul and nurture my body in order to filter, exhort, and fuel proper obedience. To remember that action without faith is in vain; action without conviction is in vain; and action without Jesus is in vain. Our motivations and our purpose must always build from the person and work of Christ. It must run through the transformation that the Spirit leads through study and prayer. It must be becoming a part of who we are as we are a part of God.
So, how do you handle a cluttered mind? Where does your heart lay down to rest? In the word of God. Set your mind on things above and drink alone from the living water. The only thing that can properly filter through truth and lies is the truth itself. The only thing that will help your heart rest is the Person who saved it. Mindful paralysis, then, isn’t a lost cause – it is a cry for help. A cry to run towards the One who sets us free and makes everything right and true. Let us, too, learn from Paul today and not allow ourselves to conform to the temporary and shallow patterns of this world, but step in to the daily transformation of body, mind, and soul in our pursuit of Christ.