Mental Pathways

mental pathways

Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? (Isaiah 51:7, 11-12)

Read: Isaiah 51:1-53:12, Ephesians 5:1-33, Psalm 69:19-36, Proverbs 24:7

Relate: “Ewww, no!” Those two words I can still hear about twenty-five years after they were uttered. It was the first day of camp. I had picked out the hottest girl at camp and convinced my friend to ask her out for me. Those two words were her response.

“Can’t you do anything right?” I was a rambunctious student in third grade. I had a poor teacher fresh out of college in her first teaching position and I was far and away her worst student. She told me a good decade later that for years, any time she had a rough day she would tell herself that if she could survive me she could survive this. So even though I deserved them, these words spoken in frustration… I can still hear them almost thirty years later.

“Pee-the-bed Peewee” It was a nickname I was given at a kids camp when I was six or seven years old. I’ve always been very good at voices and one of the first I ever mastered was that of Peewee Herman. The other part of that nickname… sometime during the night I had wet my pj’s. It woke me up and I took them off and then left them on the pole by my feet on the top bunk of my bunk bed. While I was sleeping, they fell off and landed on the pillow of the poor guy below me. Kids can be brutal and for the remaining few days of that week of camp I was verbally brutalized at every opportunity.

Things like this stick in our minds because we replay them over and over. They get stuck in a form of mental feedback loop and the more you think a certain thought, the easier it is to think it again and the harder it is to flush it out of your mind. Our mind creates pathways as would our feet, walking the same way through the wilderness. We can very literally find ourselves getting stuck in a mental rut.

React: In my Bible, the topic title for Isaiah 51 is “A Call To Trust The Lord”. Israel was a shell of its former self. Depending on what commentator one is listening to, second Isaiah (40-66) was written either during the exile or shortly after their return. Either way, the nation was stuck in a mental feedback loop. We’re no good. We’ve failed. God has abandoned us. Our time of greatness has long since past…

God needs to brainwash His people. He needs to send their thought processes down new paths. That is what Isaiah 51 is all about:
51:1 – Listen to Me
51:1 – Consider…
51:2 – Think about Abraham and Sarah…
51:3 – The Lord will comfort…
51:3 – Sing thanks…
51:4 – Listen to Me…
51:5 – …look to Me…
51:6 – Look up…
51:7 – Listen to Me…
51:7 – …don’t be afraid…

And on I could go. God is instructing His people to how to “be transformed by the renewing of their mind.” He is showing them how to “take captive every thought.” What do I allow to repeat itself over and over in my head? How mindful am I of my mind? What I dwell on is what I become. (As a man thinks in his heart, so is he) What are those thoughts, that are not from God that I need to push out? What will I put in its place? God has done so many good things for me. He has given me so many promises. In my mind, how well worn are the paths of these truths?

Respond: 

God, it is so easy to become mentally lazy. I is so easy to allow negative words and thoughts that were spoken of me, and that I have said of myself to get caught in an endless feedback loop in my mind. God, help me to hijack those pathways. Help me to dwell on Your word. Help me to repeat over and over again what You have said of me. Help me to remember time and again what You have done for me. Be my all consuming thought until there is no room for anything else.

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5 thoughts on “Mental Pathways

  1. “Help me to dwell on your word”. Amen. You’re right, it’s so easy to fall into a vicious cycle of negative thoughts, but because we know God’s truth in our hearts, we find strength from him. Good going! Hugggg

  2. Pingback: Mental Pathways | SHALOMES BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

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