The human mind operates on 2 levels of thinking: conscious and subconscious. Consider a couple things for a moment – you breathe all the time but never need to think about breathing and you blink constantly and never think about blinking. However, now that I have said this you are likely thinking about it and maybe even bewildered as you ponder that thought – this is your subconscious mind at work. It means you don’t think about it you just do it. Yet your conscious mind is now thinking about what you subconsciously do because somebody has mentioned it.
Our minds are incredible and so complex that we are only able to scientifically explain a small proportion of how it works. Don’t get me wrong, we know a lot! Yet that knowledge is only a small portion compared to the endless possibilities. It’s like exploring God or the ocean, you will always be learning something new. So let’s look at a couple of interesting facts about the human mind:
Apparently we have on average 6200 thoughts per day according to a study! Article – https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2020/07/new-study-reveals-just-how-many-thoughts-we-have-each-day.amp.html
Our brain has amazing development capabilities. Check out the meaning of neuroplasticity: https://positivepsychology.com/neuroplasticity/
Besides these two incredible points your brain has many areas with different functions which are: Occipital lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, frontal lobe, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hypothalamus, thalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, amygdala, hippocampus and the mid-brain. I have no idea how to explain the mechanics of each area, I can only just say the words! But as you can imagine our brains are very complex and amazing!
You can see more about the brain in the below picture…
So, now we know just a slight bit about that powerful instrument tucked up in our skull, let’s get back to our thoughts.
Do you ever think about what you think about? It’s an intriguing question because if we did think constantly about our thoughts then wouldn’t our mind be going into quantum mode? Those 6200 thoughts would translate into 12400! Or would they? Perhaps you may be surprised to know that once you start consciously determining your thoughts, your mind settles down and no longer travels at warp speed and those constant working brain transmitters catch a slight break as those brain waves settle.
Be careful though, practices such as emptying the mind through something such as mindfulness can do more harm than good. Emptying the mind means you have made space to be occupied, this space if we are not careful can make room for the devil. So, when you do meditate, meditate on scripture and build up a positive fortress of good thoughts. Repetitive negative or positive thoughts in time create strongholds, once strongholds are created they are very difficult to destroy… whether they are good ones or bad ones. This is how habits are formed, through constant repetition.
So, how do we start thinking about what we think about? We start by paying attention. The more attentive we become to why we thought that thought, the more likely we can change our thoughts. Thoughts can also be triggered by our environment, especially when this environment reminds us of negative things like a trauma or something. Let’s give an example in the best way possible with a short story.
Meet Stanley. He’s a young man who has struggled with depression for some time now. Stanley has became so used to depression that thinking negative has become the norm. One day Stanley performed his usual routine but this day was different. He for once opened his curtains and immediately the sunlight beamed into the room lighting up the darkness. Stanley was awestruck by the sudden light and noticed how it highlighted things that were once hidden in darkness. As he felt the warmth he began to think of how he feels. Then he looked around and started to notice what he had… clothes, a bed to sleep in, a roof over his head and so on… For so long Stanley only had dark thoughts because he never focused on the good that he already had. As the sun warmed up his soul he set in motion to change his routine every day, even without the sun there will be daylight. From that day forward, Stanley changed his thinking, his routine and ultimately his life.
This short example shows how one small change can make a humongous difference! It can literally change the course of your life. So, let’s open up the curtains of our mind and let the light in. This example can also be translated into a heavenly perspective of how our mind can become occupied with the future eternal hope we have… the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us that one day he will come and take us too (John 14:3)
The bible is in no way quiet about our thought life. First, Jesus said that even lusting after a woman (or man) just by looking at them is actually a sin (5:8) he said this because he knows that sin is predominantly birthed in thought, that’s where seeds are planted and then we chose to water it (meditate) or toss it out. Second, what we think we will become in due time, so its vital that we learn to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians10:5). Third, we are called to fix our mind on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2) a mindset that focuses on the eternal not the temporal will be steady and stable. Focusing on earthly things will be a rollercoaster ride… I know this too well!
So let’s begin to consciously think about our thoughts. Ok, so we cannot possibly track all 6200 thoughts! But we can at least learn to recognize thoughts contrary to the ways of Christ (lust, selfishness, greed, envy, jealousy, hate, pride and so on) toss out those thoughts and replace it with love, joy, humility, thankfulness, selflessness and so on. This is what capturing the thoughts is… recognizing them and replacing them.
Let’s think about what we think about and change the course of our life for something truly amazing!
Philipians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
Father God, thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Thank you that we will never be bored of exploring your greatness as we will always have something new to learn. Help me to think about what I think about so that I may learn to make my thoughts obedient to Christ. Our minds are a sacred place that can be used by you or the devil, help my mind to be equipped and used by you! As your word says, we have the helmet of salvation to protect the mind. Each day, may I remember your salvation through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
Thank you for making it to the end!
Much love and God bless!
Image credit: pinterest