Is Your Mind a Mess in the Morning?

Ever find yourself launching a mental argument with your boss/customer/spouse/kid two minutes after crawling out of bed? There you are sleepy-eyed, brushing your teeth, practicing how you’re going to set them straight. Adrenaline slips through your veins and you walk out of the bathroom angry, bitter and depressed, cobbling together a defense against grievances real and imagined.

Or is it just me?

In cattle this is called “being on the muscle,” and frankly I don’t want to act like some pissed off cow 16 hours a day. But for a long time I thought I had no choice – I didn’t know I could control my mind.

 Villefranche

My teacher says our minds are the battlefield and whoever wins control of that ground, commands the whole person and ultimately the whole life. That’s why, she says, satan works hard to crank us up first thing in the morning, before we’re even really conscious. If I am mad before I leave the bathroom I spread strife and bitterness like a champ.

Ever considered that?

Nice Lights

Where does your morning depression come from? Were you depressed when you went to bed? What are you so mad about? Are you dreading something? Dread is a relative of fear, you know, so what are you afraid of?

Maybe, just maybe, someone is planting your garden for you.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12

But why are spiritual forces interested in keeping me bitter and depressed? Well, look around at all the “angry Christians” – an oxymoron if there ever was one –  do you want what they have? Depression, anger and fear hinder the love of God and remember, this is war.

So here’s what to do about it:

1. Notice it. Stop bushing your teeth and watch the angry nonsense. WTF is a rational response.

2. Stop it and replace it with something else – a mantra.

Nice Sea

I use this little book all the time to help me. It lists hundreds of scriptures by topic – anger, depression, fear, worry, money, rejection, patience etc. Each scripture is reworked into the first person and meant to be spoken aloud. The Bible says words are containers for power, so why not fill our space with the word of God rather than the black smoke of our bitter fulminations?

So, try it and tell me what happens. And in case you’re short on time, I’ve pasted a few on my pix of the French Riviera, tailor-made for your bathroom mirror. Feel free to print em up.

What are some of your favorites?

Fill up with Love. Pour out. Repeat.

In a million years, I never thought I’d attend a Christian conference, much less enjoy one. They looked cultish and weird, with fog machines and a band cranking out Jesus songs while people hollered with their arms in the air and tears on their cheeks.

But then I went to one, and for the hundredth time since I began following Jesus like I mean it, I got to admit I was wrong.

How easily we accept the broken state of the world, kind of like we do the presence of smog. We breathe it, we lament it but what can we do?

Christian conferences are a reprieve, because in a stadium filled with people who boldly seek salvation from a God they can’t prove, the smog lifts and the Holy Spirit descends.

I know, because I was at this conference where this artist blew us away with an overhead projector and sand. All weekend, I glimpsed what the brand-new believers felt on the day of Pentecost, when Jesus sent his spirit to inhabit them. I sang with my heart, stood with my hands in the air and hugged the women next to me who I finally realized were my sisters.

Me. The girl who is too smart for all that, fell to her knees and trembled in the presence of God.

It’s hard to go back after that. And it’s painful to walk out of the stadium and into the smog, but that’s what Christians are supposed to do. Fill up with the love of God, then go spill it on people who desperately need it. It’s a system Jesus explained repeatedly to his followers and Jewish religious leaders.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Fill up with love. Pour out love. Repeat.

Have a great weekend.

You Can Feel Jesus In Your Bones.

I read a story once about how a woman, who was deaf from birth, listened to music.

She would turn a record up really loud and place her hands on the speakers, until she could feel the vibrations move into her chest and overtake her body. The rhythms would eventually articulate and she could fill in the melody with her mind.

Knowing Jesus Christ is like that.

We’ve all heard the mockery in people’s voices when they talk about someone who has “gotten religion” or is “high on Jesus.” It’s not their fault; they just don’t know you can feel Jesus in your bones. They don’t know it’s possible for a deaf person to “hear.”

But it is.

When people shouted at me about Jesus, I couldn’t hear them because I was deaf; but I wasn’t blind and I could see they were shouting, which made me resent them.

But when I finally put my hands on that Bible and read it, I was surprised by the tiny hum that rose in my chest. As I read more, the hum grew stronger and engaged my heart, my imagination and my gratitude. When I read more, the drums picked up and created rhythm; the cellos formed a baseline and the violins and piccolos chimed in with a melody. All together now this internal orchestra has surged into something fine and true that I really want to share.

But try as I might I can’t explain it to you. You have to put your hands on the speakers until you can feel it in your own bones. Then you’ll know.

English: The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's 7...

The Israel Philharmonic (Wikipedia)

Some people like Bob Goff, Joyce Meyer, Matthew Barnett, Chris Caine and Nancy Alcorn, play gorgeous music with their lives, but I’m still a young orchestra, and I’m sometimes pitchy or behind.

However, I’ve committed to practice and to follow the world’s greatest conductor, who promises the more I practice the finer my music will become. He is the most reliable speaker upon which to place your hands.

So with that, here is my tiny, little solo – a birthday present for Him.

I am raising money to counter human trafficking in SE Asia with The Exodus Road. In a week, we have raised nearly 30% of our $1400 goal. We have until Christmas.

The Exodus Road is playing some beautiful music right now. Please put your hands on their speakers, and when you’re done, put them in your pockets and help them play more.