Focus: Guarding your mind gate
Psalm 37:8 (NIV) Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
I stopped watching the news and reading the daily newspaper many years ago. That may sound radical to you, but I came to the realization that both of those practices were introducing more negative images and themes to my mind than I cared to deal with. A lot of it was information I just didn’t need. I subscribe to a weekly news magazine that gives me an overview of major events and issues, which I balance with my own religious views. Many weeks, I don’t even look at it. For the most part, I have found if there is something vital which I really need to know—I will hear it from someone I trust, who follows the news more closely than I do.
Now, you can listen and/or read!
You might think that concept is like living under a rock or having your head in a hole, but I adopted the practice from a standpoint of ‘self-preservation’. You see, I learned my own peace of mind and well-being were more important to me than being ‘well-informed’. Being up to date on everything going on in the world was destructive to my mental and emotional stability. I was lying awake at night spending precious energy in a state of anxiety over the constant stream of potential threats, possible dangers, and known evils making their way into my mind through the media.
There are some things in life we can’t control and there are others we can. Understanding I was a person who was prone to dwell on the ‘what ifs’…I saw ‘the news’ as one thing I could delete and have fewer ‘what ifs’ sailing around in my brain.
From a physical point of view, if a person has a constant diet of sugar and carbs—their body is not only going to get fat—it is going to become unhealthy—a breeding ground for sickness and disease. It’s a simple fact. Where our mental health is concerned, we have to use common sense about what we feed on, as well—if we want to have a healthy mind and peaceful outlook. If we don’t create filters or set limits for our mind—the gate is wide open. An excessive amount of information coming in of a negative nature will not benefit our sense of well-being.
From a practical position, if you are a person who has been dealing with depression—what is the point of funneling more doom and gloom into the mix? Negative media added to depression fosters anxiety. Anxiety and anger feed each other. When you have anxiety—anger in some form is usually present…actively or passively. In recent years, the increased publicity of crime has done nothing to decrease anxiety and anger in our society—just the opposite. It has led to even more evil.
Spiritually speaking, feeding our brains with messages of wrath and evil doesn’t agree with how the Word of God tells us we should live. Philippians chapter four tells us to rejoice in the Lord constantly. It recommends that our gentleness (not anxiety and anger) be evident to everyone around us. It exhorts that we not be anxious about anything—but in every situation bring our requests to God with thankful hearts. We have God’s promise that when we adopt this kind of lifestyle, we will have His peace in spite of our circumstances and against all odds. We are further guaranteed that Christ Jesus will protect our heart and mind. We can’t willingly gorge ourselves with evil images and concepts—and then expect to have the peace of God—they don’t go together. We have to make a choice which one is more important to let in.
Philippians four goes on to say we should deliberately fill our mind with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. If that description agrees with what is on the news—keep watching it and reading it. Personally, I can do just fine without it.
God wants us to have minds that are happy, healthy and whole. He gave us the freedom to choose what we would do with our time and how we would program our own brain. If we have a steady mental diet of garbage—we will be a product of the environment we have chosen. Many health conscious people wouldn’t dream of eating any type of food that would adversely affect their physical health—yet they think nothing of what they put into their brain. No wonder they can’t find peace. Go figure.
Declaration: I will find new strength by closely monitoring my mind gate. I will pay more attention to what influences I am allowing to enter. I will keep moving forward by seeking positive, nurturing information that agrees with what God promises will bring me peace.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.