The American author and educator Frank E. Gaebelein, once said, “As a Christian, I am responsible for the furniture of my mind.” I don’t know about you, but more than ever, it feels like the furniture in my mind is overcrowded, messy, and well, just plain annoying. If you have a brain full of unwanted junk, stick with me and we’ll talk about how to clean things up.
I could use the handy scapegoat called Covid for allowing sticky-icky stuff to wander around my brain, but Gaebelein is right – at the end of the day it’s my responsibility to care for what’s there. Julianna, the author of the blog Simplicity Habit, wrote a lovely article about things that make your home look cluttered. Most everything on her list can also apply to mental clutter.
Things left in the wrong place
When things are left lying on the floor, it’s easy to trip over them. The same is true when we leave bad, old memories lying around in our head. God doesn’t want us to dwell on past failures, sins, or shameful events. Although He remembers everything, He somehow chooses to forget what we lay at the foot of the cross (Ps. 103:12; 1 John 1:9).
If there are painful memories you can’t shake, ask God to intervene. Let Him show you His version of the events. Once you see the past from His perspective, the memory may remain, but the “sting” or “barb” in it will depart, and healing and relief will come.
Things you’re procrastinating about
For years, I was a terrible procrastinator. I didn’t get traction over the problem until I recognized that leaving a thing undone makes the task seem MUCH bigger than it actually is. The longer we procrastinate, the more ominous the task becomes. The remedy to this is obedience. If God asks you to do something, do it right away. Remember this: When God asks you to do something is when you will have the most grace and anointing to get it done.
Trash and empty boxes
We have both trash and empty boxes in our minds. The trash is our unclean thoughts and desires, and the empty boxes are the useless activities and pursuits we use to hide our thoughts from God and push Him away. We can get rid of the trash and empty boxes, but to do so we must live in His light. In other words, we must walk in unbroken fellowship with Him, and with other believers. The more time we spend in His presence, the more we absorb His thoughts and take on His traits. And by living next to Him, in Him, we’re continually cleansed from sin.
But if we keep living in the pure light that surrounds him, we share unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, continually cleanses us from all sin.
(I John 1:7*)
Things that are overflowing
If you open the closet door and things fall out, you’ve got an overflow problem. The same thing happens if we let worry and anxiety fill our minds. All it takes is one open door and suddenly we’re engulfed in fear, apprehension, and stress. The antidote for this overflow is simple (but not always easy to do).
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
The more we fix our minds on Jesus, the more peace we’ll have. It’s simple, but it takes effort and practice, and most of all, persistence. His peace floods in when we read His word, listen to it, memorize it, meditate on it, talk about it, pray over it, and sing it. It’s not good enough to set our minds on Him every once in a while – it must be habitual if we want to live in peace.
My friends, you can bank on this – the more you think on Him, the more you’ll want to think on Him. He is altogether lovely. He is the Rose of Sharon, and the Apple of God’s eye. As your understanding of His love and care deepens, you’ll want more and more of Him. Hunger and thirst for Him will grow, and you won’t be satisfied with anything else.
Our inheritance of peace
When Jesus left this earth, He bequeathed us with something precious – His peace. Ask Him to help you get rid of mind clutter, then grab hold of your rightful inheritance – that which is infinitely better than silver or gold.
When Christ was about to leave the world, He made His will. His soul He committed to His father; His body He bequeathed to Joseph to be decently interred; His clothes fell to the soldiers; His mother He left to the care of John; but what should He leave to His poor disciples that had left all for Him? Silver and gold He had none; but He left them that which was infinitely better, His peace.Matthew Henry
Are you stuck?
If you feel stuck with painful thoughts, memories or shame, I’d love to pray for you. Leave me a note, and I’ll stand with you against mind clutter.
*The Passion Translation © 2021 BroadStreet® Publishing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved
**Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.