A while back I remember strolling down the beach with Rob as I excitedly covered some long-forgotten topic — from 3 different angles. I was virtually uninterrupted for at least the first quarter mile of our walk. Rob knows I am a verbal processor. He’s a great listener and so wonderful about letting me express a myriad of thoughts out loud with him. When I finally asked, “well — what do you think,” I’ll never forget his answer. He had listened to it all. And cautiously and honestly suggested, “I don’t think I think quite as much as you do.”
Can you relate? I can seldom “turn off” my brain. Meaning rarely am I not running a stream of consciousness reel in my head… traveling from topic to topic; turning over ideas, people, relationships, prayers, problems, lists and schedules (you name it) repeatedly and to varying depths — involving both my head and my heart.
E-X-H-A-L-E… I’m out of breath even typing it!
Sometimes it feels like a curse. I’d love to just chill and go “brain dead” for a moment of rest and relaxation! Many men seem to be wired better for this than a lot of women I know. But God made us as we are for His own reasons. As Psalm 139: tells us, “You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”
I want to be thankful… but sometimes, I want a break even more!
Painting is my best escape. I have no scientific data to prove it, but experience tells me that painting involves a special kind of creative process that shuts out the barrage of interruptions that usually pierce my internal peace and quiet. When I create, I can’t think of anything else… Ahhhh. The bliss of it!
But alas, my life can’t always be lived holed up in my studio, in sweats and the shirt I slept in…braless and covered in paint. I paint like I do puzzles and read books… ravenously. Non stop until I arrive. Loving the journey, but living for the accomplishment. Engrossed. Then away, and back to the rest of life… and the dreaded non-stop thinking. The thoughts that just will not turn off.
They say in truth, everyone’s mind is ever active… analyzing, evaluating, reflecting, relating, dreaming, creating. As human beings — despite sometimes reducing the noise — we all think without ceasing. These unending thoughts sometimes bring fear, worry, guilt, stress…
Something I read the other day stopped me in my tracks. Then I moved on to why one of my dogs has sort of bleached, orangish, kinky highlights in his coat and the other has dark brown curly locks when they are from the same blood line…??? Anyway — I can’t take credit for the original thought, nor can I tell you its source. I’ve alternately pushed it away and corralled it to mull over more thoroughly. Regardless, the thought held on to me.
Here’s the big AHA! idea I ran across — what if instead of uselessly desiring to turn off our tiring inner monologue, we convert our endless thinking into unceasing prayer?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives us what feels like a daunting and impossible task, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I’ve tried, but honestly thought, “really Jesus? UNCEASING prayer?”
I’ve spiritualize the concept by trying to “live my life as a prayer offering.” I bet the Sadducees and Pharisees beat me to that rationale. But WE CAN DO IT, if we will only acknowledge the Truth of a few verses:
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
May I suggest we all reread those well-known verses again? Really let them permeate the cacophony of voices that may be competing at this very moment?
God is here, with you, right now. Loving. Listening. Desiring to guide you and give you His thoughts. Share in your world. Give you Life.
What if we resolved to convert our inner monologue into a ongoing dialogue with our God, our Abba, who loves us? The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and gives us Life. We already know He is always with us. What if we invited our Maker into our awareness — and made our very thoughts a conversation of give and take with the Living God?
We can confidently know He wants to listen with his unfailing love, grace and mercy to all that preoccupies or taunts us. And all that delights us. Every good gift is from Him, and He allows and uses everything in our lives for our good. Why wouldn’t we alter our ongoing thoughts into prayer just by acknowledging what we already know to be true?
This is a game changer! From endless thinking to unceasing prayer as He commands! Oh the delight and the relief!
I’m not Pollyanna, nor am I naive. This won’t happen overnight for me. Like anything worth having it will take discipline and work… and dare I say obedience to God’s Word? But oh, the rewards I can see down the pike! I’m surrendered to the invitation, and trusting God to move.
And one more thing that came to mind… back at the beginning I mentioned wanting to escape sometimes. I’ll keep on painting, but as wonderful as it is, even that isn’t complete rest. And I need a real break very frequently.
God commands rest too, and offers Himself to facilitate it. Where I am today, just typing this brought tears to my eyes. Read a few more verses and imagine them whispered in your ear by the One who loves you more than life.
Exodus 33:14 “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
His Peace be with you.
Your comments are so encouraging — either in the comments section or through social media below. Thank you for “hearing” my confession, and for your prayers.