Do these words ever describe you? They do me. Or, at least, I feel like they do. The words flood my mind as I struggle yet again.
A couple of mornings in a row, my quiet time seemed anything but useful. I gleaned nothing from my Scripture reading, and I seemed incapable of spending any time in prayer. Later on the second morning I stood at the sink washing dishes, and I felt my heart crying out, “Why, Lord? Why can I not seem to focus on You? Why does my mind wander so greatly?”
The answer struck me quickly and powerfully. First came a verse.
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NASB
Then came a thought.
You try to focus on your relationship with Christ first thing in the morning, but as you go through your day you allow any old thought to crowd Him out. Your mind is not steadfast. You are sacrificing perfect peace. How can you expect to have a focused mind first thing in the morning when you do nothing to maintain that focus throughout the rest of every day? You sacrifice your peace on the altar of selfish thoughts.
Now, I try to be careful about saying, “God spoke to me and He said _____________.” But, when I pray and immediately Scripture and an application both pop into my mind, I’m rather inclined to believe that the Holy Spirit is working! He certainly was working on me that morning.
What has filled my mind has not been inherently bad. I think about the things that need to be done. I go over conversations, past and anticipated, in my mind. I make up stories and scenarios (my daughter comes by it honestly, poor child!). I think through blog posts, reviews, and other writing projects. My mind is always going, going, going.
As I examined all of those things, however, I realized that they all lacked prayer. I was not interacting with my Savior through it all. I was not seeking His wisdom, direction, or even companionship. That reality took thoughts that were not inherently bad and turned them into something very wrong. They pushed out thoughts of God.
The ESV puts a slightly different spin on Isaiah 26:3.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
My mind had been neither steadfast nor stayed on my Lord. No wonder I had no peace.
Where is your mind today? Do your thoughts edge out a steadfast focus on Christ? Let us stay our minds on Him and watch as His perfect peace floods through our souls.