On my recent trip to SE Asia I experienced this almost daily. I saw and experienced so many things in a day that by the time my head hit the pillow at night, I couldn’t think of another thing, let alone analyze anything I had seen. So I’d just go to sleep and pray for a fresh start the next morning. The problem was that I just added more experiences and sights to my already overloaded brain.
It’s been two weeks now since I’ve returned and I’m recalling incidents that I could never have remembered or thought about there. It’s amazing how our brains store such pieces of information.
For fun, I read through magazines that have little impact upon my life. Oh I might find a recipe I’ll stash away for the future or I’ll read a section on weight loss and wonder if I’ll ever lose the weight I need to lose, but for the most part, it’s just something light.
In a recent article I saw a little blurb about coloring. Now I love to color. I’ve just never been in the habit of coloring without my children or grandchildren. But according to this little paragraph, perhaps I should consider it more often.
According to British researchers, “coloring just two minutes can increase your mental energy by as much as 29%.” These researchers believer that “the repetitive, precise motion stimulates the brain’s alertness center.”[i]
Yes that is one way, but another way to increase mental energy is by saturating it with God’s Word and His message.
Scripture tells us that God examines our minds (Psalm 7:9; Psalm 26:2; and Jeremiah 17:10). Our minds are the one place we can hold secrets from our earthly friends and family, but God knows those secrets. He gets into the nooks and crannies and knows our thoughts. When I think of it this way, I am even more determined to keep the awful thoughts out.
So just how can we free our minds of unwanted thoughts and mental exhaustion? Romans 12:2 (NIV) gives us insight. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We must first allow God to transform our minds.
Then our minds need a new attitude. “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 – NIV)
Our minds must be prepared and ready for action. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13 – NIV)
So what are the results? First, we’ll gain peace. But just not any peace, you’ll gain God’s perfect peace. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 – NIV)
And then, because your mind is set on God, you’ll be able to pray more effectively. “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.” (1 Peter 4:7 – NIV)
So if your mind is faltering, flailing, or feeling fatigued, you have a few options. You can color or you can rely on God’s strength, wisdom, and expertise in renewing, restoring, and refreshing your mind.
Let me know what works for you. How do you keep your mind focused when you are most distracted? How do you use God in situations like this? Are you a colorer or a depender? Perhaps you are both? Whatever it is, let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,