Claw Machine

Capture device for soft toys on background of heap of toys

Your thoughts are more like a claw machine than you might think. What our mind pulls up is sometimes the machine on autopilot like the ones in local stores around here. They show off the machines function by randomly setting it to mill around the machine, never actually grabbing anything. What our mind pulls up is sometimes triggered by something in our environment-something someone said or we saw-and we may or may not have wanted to grab ahold of that thought. Sometimes our mind malfunctions, like with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and we keep pulling up something we didn’t want in the first place. In all of these cases, learning the release on the claw machine (I know, they don’t really have them in real life) is critical. Letting go of a thought and dropping it back in the machine-that can take a lot of effort, sometimes the help of a mental health professional, and, above all, prayer.

Many times, though, what we pull up isn’t an accident. Many times, what we pull up is our own choice. In these times, what we think about is a reflection of what we’re trying to grab. What ends up in the deposit box if a reflection of this thinking. It’s what happens in your alone time and in the time you’re acting like you’re engaged with someone or something, but you’re really thinking about something else. The “prizes” you carry home with you are what you spend your time trying to grab. These prizes are always a secret between you and God. You are the only two who know about them. As you react to the prizes you get, others may suspect what you’re thinking about, but most of the time, no one will know for sure. Only you and God.

I don’t know about you, but it’s so easy for my mind to go on “auto-pilot” and lose these precious moments of pulling thoughts I really want to have to mind. It’s also easy for my mind to slip into aggressive worries and regrets of the past rather than purposefully mining for treasure. Whatever your mind is doing, know that there is hope.

God commands us to love Him with all of our mind. We’ve all chosen to sin and we’re all fallen, so no one except Christ will ever fully do this in this life. But we can strive to know Him more. Every time we let go of a thought we didn’t want, to search for the truth of God, we’re learning how to love Him with more of our thought life. Every time we capture a thought for Christ, we show that we’re serious about loving God with our minds.

It’s time to recognize the claw machine within your head-and start targeting the thoughts you’re proud for God to see you think, and prizes you’re glad to give to the King.

. . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 7:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Good Thoughts

Here’s an idea for good thinking: keep a journal of good thoughts. Make a list in your planner, phone, or old-fashioned journal. You can even be creative and keep a list on the backs of photographs that remind you of those good things. If you carve or sculpt, you can make figurines of the memories. Or, you can write on a poster or sketch pictures in a notepad. You can even keep a list on an audio player, or make little videos to remind you of the moments. Number your list, and you’ll know how many good thoughts you have to think about! If you want, you can even categorize your lists.When you feel down or depressed, pull out your list. While it’s not a guarantee to lighten your mood, it can help you remember all the good things that have happened in your life (or all the dreams you have), or things that have happened to others that encourage you. It helps you zoom out from your focus on one negative thing to see the many positives that are also out there.

Christmas cookie and drink.

Here are a few on my list.

1. Hot apple cider at George Washington’s house on a snowy evening. (Memory)

2. Me sitting in a meadow and plump rabbits gingerly hopping up to sniff at me and then sitting in my arms. (Dream)

3. My friends J. & C. adopting a baby after years of longing to have a child, and what good parents they are turning out to be. (Inspirational)

4. Throwing a birthday party for my husband, and all the planning I can’t wait to do. (Future)

5. Color photographs of different flavors of ice cream, toys, candy, or stuffed animals. (Art)

6. The way I can change the life of a child by sponsoring her and writing her letters. (Things I Can Do to Change the World)

7. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV (Soul Thinking)

Happy Thoughts

Man With Eyeglasses ContemplatingAs a kid, I watched the McGee ‘n’ Me series and, in the episode The Not-So-Great Escape, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” is used. The main character learns that what he puts in his mind is hard to get out-and can change who he is.

Filling your mind with writing, art, television, movies and experiences that you will want to recall later will profoundly impact the purity and peace of your mind. Carry a Scripture in your pocket or on your smart phone to memorize, keep a few small photographs and pictures on hand to look at when you’re feeling troubled, write a journal entry about a happy memory, pop in an encouraging DVD or watch a motivating sports game, flip through an uplifting magazine, or play a board game with friends or family. Make memories of caring for friends, family, and even strangers through various mission projects . Fill your mind with goodness so that, later, in the lean and difficult times, you’ll have goodness to draw on.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8b, NLT)

Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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