I think that we can all agree that we have those “days.” Those “foggy” days. The days that feel like somehow we’re sleep walking through our day. We feel disconnected and a little out of touch with, well with ourselves really. We are not mentally processing the activities in our lives in ways that allow us to feel connected with ourselves, God, or others. At least I hope that you know what I mean when I describe these “days.” I have tried for the longest time to get to the bottom of why these days happen and how to prevent them. Or at least prevent their week long continuations. What I have discovered is that these days are not something that “just happen.” They are the product of my previous choices. The choice on my part to not deal with underlying issues, a choice to put off my time in solitude and silence, a choice to neglect my prayer life, a choice to not input healthy, life giving material into my mind, a choice to not receive what the Lord is trying to give me, a choice to not let my emotions rule me, but instead to suppress them. In essence it is a choice to not process life in a healthy way, therefore ending in a flat line state that feels like I am a zombie walking empty streets.
So what can we do to ensure that we are “processing” in healthy ways? Are there even things that we can do to circumvent the “fog?” I would say yes, but it takes another choice. The choice to make prayer, receptivity, awareness, what we are mentally consuming, and our emotional health priorities. It is also a choice to make praise a regular part of our daily lives. There is something about worship that causes the world to fade, and realigns our hearts with the Creator of the Universe. And in realigning our hearts we are reminded of who we are in Him and to Him. Ultimately finding joy. Life giving, fog dispersing joy.
Here are several ways that we can practically put P.R.A.I.S.E. into motion in our lives.
First there are a couple of things that you need to remember. It is more crucial that you be regular in your time spent in renewing your mind. It is easier to stay on offense than have to constantly be switching to defense, losing ground, and then having to make a come back. It’s EXHAUSTING. Gathering your “manna” everyday is key. What you gathered yesterday is no longer good enough to sustain you today. Secondly, one of my favorite quotes is, “If satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Don’t let guilt of wasting time keep you from the most important part of your day, time alone with the Lord. This time with Him is charging your batteries, and keeping you drifting in an out of the fog of life.
With that said, here are some practical ways that you can stay alert, and fog free:
- Fill your day with worship music. I know the world is FULL of amazing artists and music genres. I am a passionate music lover. But there is something about worship music, or music that points our hearts and minds to the Lord that keeps us praising Him, focusing on Him, and focusing on the right things. It’s like a bath for our minds. AND satan hates praises to the King, so if your filling your mind and space with that, he can’t be as effective. Worship is a shield.
- Read Truth. ie: The Bible, or other truth filled books. Got a specific area that you are struggling with? Find a trusted author who has written on the subject and input truth! Blogs are a great source as well. I particularly like Relevant Magazine’s online site.
- Unplug. We could all use a little more space and time to think. Unplugging from the distractions of life, like your laptop, ipad, phone, radio, ipod, TV, internet, etc. Allows our brains to breathe. Allow yourself to process what you find in your mind. The different emotions. Don’t be afraid. If you don’t confront things now the same issues will keep surfacing. The way through is forward not through retreat.
- Community. Get plugged into a healthy, vibrant, like minded community. People who encourage you, uplift you, challenge you, pray for and with you. You are the medium of the strongest and weakest people in your community. So as you look at who you have in your community make sure they are positive people who are moving forward in life as well in their faith and other aspects of their life. People who are going to give you wise counsel and accountability. I always tell people, “Your friends determine your future.” So choose wisely.
- Journal. Keeping a record of your life is the way to learn from your past, and encourage yourself in the future. It is also leaving a legacy, and helps you to process through the 1,000’s of thoughts you have everyday. Seeing it on paper is always helpful to me. Today and in the future. Like Mark Batterson says, “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.” Make it a priority to help yourself remember through journaling.
- Gratitude: It is not joy that makes us grateful, but gratitude that makes us joyful. If you want to have joy, than lead a life that is marked my gratitude. Giving thanks is the quickest way to peace of mind.
- Listen to truth. Not just on Sundays but everyday. Find a favorite speaker or pastor and listen to a few podcasts throughout the week. What goes in comes out.
I will close with this: DO NOT EXPECT IMMEDIATE CHANGE. And don’t stop pressing in just because you stumble here and there. Get up quickly and keep fighting. For we are in a war that is not fought with weapons of this world, but Spiritual weapons. ( II Cor. 10:4-5 and Eph 6) Don’t strive to accomplish something, but just focus on BEING. Just BEING with the One who loves you. Cease striving and KNOW that HE is God, and that He has everything under control. I believe this is the most important part of spending time with God and allowing Him to renew our minds. For when we are focused on Him we are not focused on ourselves, our circumstances, or what is stressing us. We are reminded that we are but dust, and that our loving Creator knows this and is fighting on our behalf. So we can RELAX. We can REST. We can be STILL.
You’re thoughts determine your destiny. It up to you what that destiny will look like.
May we be different with each passing tomorrow, than we are today, because of the truth we have allowed into our hearts and minds. Be teachable. Be hopeful.