Leading Your Mind = Leading Your Heart
Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine on Sunday morning at church. He’s someone that I’ve gradually gotten to know over the course of the last 3 or 4 years.
We’ve had the opportunity on many occasions to play together in the worship ministry. I’ve enjoyed seeing the depth of his relationship with God expand over time. But I’ve also seen the way in which he’s struggled and grappled with his past decisions in life.
As we were talking and catching up on life, he seemed to circle back to the challenges he was experiencing in his mind as of late. I reminded him, as I’ve often reminded many of the men I work with, how much of the battles we face take place in the mind.
I’ve even heard it said that the greatest battlefield we’ll ever fight on is the one that lies between the ears.
This August, I’ll be entering my 15th year in recovery from a pornography addiction. While I’m grateful for the healing, sobriety, and progress that has come from my journey, I have to remind every person reading this how much work it took. And STILL takes today.
The dichotomy between the heart and the mind is really interesting. In my recovery experience, I knew what I wanted and felt like I always tried to keep the destination in mind when it came to my own healing.
My heart was anchored in truth and it wasn’t going to budge. My mind, on the other hand…now that’s a different story. For the first several years in recovery, the battle really raged in my thought life. Especially as it related to shame.
Shame kept a tight grip on me.
No doubt over the years there has been some serious rewiring that’s taken place, but it wasn’t easy.
How is it that your heart can be so committed to what is right and true yet your mind is so triggered by the opposite?
I believe it’s because on any given day we’re bombarded by thousands of thoughts. Quite literally.
This from the Cleveland Clinic: “Your brain is a three pound universe that processes 70,000 thoughts each day using 100 billion neurons that connect at more than 500 trillion points through synapses that travel 300 miles/hour.”
That’s a lot of thoughts for one brain!
And so given our memories and experiences from childhood, past trauma, addictive behavior and so much more, it’s no wonder we struggle as much as we do with our thoughts. As you’ve probably learned, when a thought is entertained long enough it begins to take root.
And when we choose to believe and make an agreement with those thoughts, they travel south towards a much more permanent location: the heart. This is the area where thoughts that are received become core beliefs about who we are.
I think there is a reason Paul gives us this powerful reminder about our thoughts in 2 Corinthians 10:5. I love how The Passion Translation reads:
“We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One.”
Pretty radical language if you ask me! And perhaps not all of it makes sense to you, but I hope you’re able to see any thought that is contrary to the nature of God probably isn’t a healthy thought.
Sure, we can have all sorts of thoughts. Not everything we think about is “evil” or unhealthy. But I do think there are certain thoughts we think that would fall into the category of what are called lies. The very opposite of Truth. We must literally lead every thought to the One who is the source of Truth.
Yes, I get it. This is easier said than done. 99% of the time! But it doesn’t change the assignment we’re given if we want to experience freedom within our minds.
I love what Havilah Cunnington recently said: “Do you want to be powerful? Lead your mind.”
Perhaps this sounds too simple to you. That’s because it is. And yet the significance is a stark reminder of what we’re called to do. For far too long, we’ve allowed our minds, our thoughts, and our core beliefs to lead us into some pretty unhealthy behaviors in life.
All in an attempt to find peace. A peace that never comes because we’re drinking from the wrong well.
Do you see how the relationship between the mind and the heart is so important? One feeds into the other and one depends on the other. The Bible tells us that how a man thinks about himself is what he becomes (my paraphrase from Proverbs 23:7).
So what can you do? I don’t want to overcomplicate this so I’ll just suggest a couple of things:
- Be aware of your thoughts and the direction they are going.
- Protect your heart by taking action upon your thoughts — both the good and the bad ones.
Remember, you are powerful when you lead your mind. Because when you lead your mind, your heart will thank you.