Mark 4:19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
Distraction is often a parent’s best friend, especially when what is wanted cannot be given to that child. It is also our friend too. For example, we can choose to participate in an activity to stop us from over thinking. This can be beneficial when we chose purposefully to participate in it. The Bible teaches us that staying in the present moment, in your mind, is where life’s fruit lays. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10), “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” (Matthew 6:25), “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).
However, have you ever noticed how hard it is for your mind to stay in the present moment? Let me give you a few personal examples of thought patterns:
It turns out our minds can be very skilled at doing anything but staying in the present moment without check. (I’m not talking about purposely future planning or reminiscing or reviewing)
John 10:10 (NIV) - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I wonder if you, the reader of this blog, if you’re a person of mental time travel (R. Johnson: Are you living on Auto Pilot) as I can be. If so, then you could have been lured into a habitual cycle, prohibiting you from enjoying the fruits of present moments. Over thinking, thinking the worst-case scenario, re-visiting unwanted conversations or situations have an adverse effect on us. God knew this all along and so did His opposition. Distraction from the present moment is the silent thief!
As soon as we start re-visiting or as Richard Johnson puts it, doing ‘mental time travel’, we trigger a stress response in our body. This stress response tells our adrenal glands (see above) to send out cortisol into our blood stream. This travels to the brain and triggers fight, flight or freeze responses in the body. Making it difficult to concentrate and causing your heart to beat faster and stronger to get ready for that response. Un-checked participation of ‘over thinking’ can create a habitual cycle of bursts of cortisol to the brain in preparation for fight flight response. This in turn sets up a dysfunctional thought cycle of I must protect myself, due to the irritation of the regular surge of cortisol creating a me, me, me cycle of self-protection.
The good news is, now you know! You can choose to think about “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…” (Philippians 4:8).
Thinking about the best outcome of a situation has the opposite biological response. It sends out feel good hormones, heightens your mental capacity and makes you a nicer person to be around. God knew this already; after all he did create us! If this has spoken to you, please leave a comment.