It is estimated that around 70,000 thoughts cross our minds each day. That’s crazy! We can think about anything, literally anything and it won’t change the world or the people around us. Or will it? Do our thoughts have consequences?
Gandhi once said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Our minds are powerful. Our thoughts have the potential to influence our feelings, our words and our actions. They can affect the way we view the world and the people around us and even the way we view ourselves. These thoughts can have both positive and negative consequences. How we think affects what we see. If our thinking is clouded, our vision will be blurry too, “as he thinks within himself, so he is”. (Proverbs 23:7)
During my year abroad I lived in Paris for four months. As soon as I got there my mind was like an email inbox that was clogged up with annoying junk emails. Some thoughts I had were so random, I felt overwhelmed, abnormal and completely out of control of my mind. I am no expert on how the brain works, but no amount of “PMA” (positive mental attitude) was going to cut it. I felt trapped in a web of anxious thoughts and doubts that made me feel sinful, guilty, ashamed and condemned. My mind was, to overuse the example, an unattended email inbox that seriously needed clearing up. Whilst I wanted a tick box that allowed me to ‘Delete All’ the negative thoughts, it wasn’t an option.
Is mindfulness the answer?
I was in Paris around the time that mindfulness became a thing. Well a bigger thing, with 2014 being considered by some as the “Year of Mindfulness”. Since 2013, a number of MPs and peers have attended mindfulness classes. Google organises ‘mindful lunches’ for its staff and the Bank of England held a meditation course for its staff. Even last week the House of Lords held its first yoga class. But, what’s all the hype about? Should we be making time for mindfulness? Or should we be mindful of it?
A deeper problem
Perhaps mindfulness might have helped empty my mind of some of the chaos, but I didn’t want to become more aware of my thinking, I wanted to stop over thinking! Ultimately the problem with my mind was much deeper. Its default setting was bent on sin and it needed to be renewed. “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)
Let me challenge us to approach with caution any quick fix which doesn’t deal with the root of the problem, namely that we are sinners, in need of forgiveness. The Bible calls us to fix our thoughts on Jesus and if we’re going to be the next generation of humble, servant leaders, we need to choose a sustainable approach; we need to choose Christ and choose his mindset. (See Philippians 2:2-11) Jesus demonstrated true mindfulness. His focus was always centred on God and the purpose of God’s kingdom.
At Current we believe we all have purpose. Our thoughts have consequences, so let’s purposefully use them to focus on God’s kingdom, let’s view things from His perspective. Our thoughts have the power to shape our lives, so let’s live mindfully and single-mindedly with a mindfull of Christ.
“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 LB).