Have you ever found yourself reading an amazing book or article and thought to yourself, "Wow, now THIS is some good stuff! I totally wish I could hand a copy of this book to everyone I pass on the street!"? Well, I had just that experience yesterday! I finished up a particular chapter in a book and as I reflected on it I found it so convicting, true, and spot on that I just wanted to share a glimpse of what I read with ya'll! Who knows, maybe just maybe, it'll spark an interest in someone to go get the book and read all the other good stuff it's chalked full of!
I know, I know, you're wondering what the heck this book is, right?! Well, my mom is letting me borrow the book "ME the me I want to be- becoming God's best version of you" by John Ortberg, and while I'm not going to pretend to have read the whole thing... yet... this one chapter in particular called Think Great Thoughts is about how powerful our thoughts are in determining what our life looks like- and I'm just sayin' it's a crazy good chapter! I think all of us would have much to gain in realizing just how much our thoughts have an enormous power over our lives! Here's a story he shares that paints the picture so well... Enjoy!
"My friend Danny went spelunking in the caves of Iowa. The man guiding took him deep underground, then said he would lead Danny through a passageway into a spectacular chamber. The passageway was small enough that Danny had to stoop at first. Then as it grew still smaller, he had to get on his hands and knees. Eventually the only way to go forward was to lay on his back and push his body forward with his feet. Then the ceiling was so low that when he inhaled he could not move at all! He had to stop, inhale, and exhale, and only then was his chest low enough to allow him to move. By this point is was physically impossible to back out. If the passageway had gotten any smaller they would have lain there and died in that cave.
Danny is a sky-diving, mountain-climbing, hang-gliding thrill-seeker, but there in that cave he felt sheer panic. He was terrified, He tried fighting his fear, but he kept picturing his dead body moldering in the cave. Finally, he told his guide he was about to lose it, and the guide said, "Danny, close your eyes and listen to my voice. I will keep talking, calmly, and guide you through this. We will be okay. I have been here before. I will get you to the other side. But you must listen to my voice. It will not work for you to let your thoughts run wild. Just focus on my voice."
Danny did so. What freed him from panic and fear was not trying hard to quite thinking fearful thoughts. It was listening to another voice.
What voice do you listen to when you're in the cave and it's dark, when the ceiling is low and you can't back out? The Spirit longs to flow in our minds all the time. One reason why people have found memorizing Scripture helpful is that it helps us listen to the voice of our guide when we are in the cave. I might miss a second serve, but the Spirit will remind me that I am still God's beloved child. I might be criticized, but the Spirit will remind me that truth and grace are always my friend. The Spirit desires his presence to be a river of life- of love and joy and peace- through each moment of the day."
He goes on later in the chapter to say...
"Even twenty years ago, researchers thought that the adult brain was genetically determined and structurally unchangeable. But they have since found that even into adulthood the brain is amazingly changeable- it has neuroplasticity. Which synapses remain and which ones wither away depends on your mental habits. Those that carry no traffic go out of business like bus routes with no customers. Those that get heavily trafficked get stronger and thicker. The mind shapes the brain. Neurons that wire together fire together. In other words, when you practice hope, love, or joy, your mind is actually, literally, rewiring your brain!"
That being said, I get that what I call a "cave" in my life, is actually a "well lit room" in other's life. The unknowns in our adoption don't compare to some of the dark caves that others are trapped in! As I was reading, I was burdened for several individuals that I love and care about. I thought about each of their life circumstance, from the tragedy of loosing a child, to a broken marriage, to a life-threatening disease, to crippling mental illness, to the struggle of flat out being dealt a crap hand in life... leaving them swimming in a sea of negative thoughts, depressed and hopeless. Sick at heart. They feel trapped in a dark cave and their voice isn't telling them truth. I cry out on their behalf and pray that the TRUTH of the Holy Spirit's voice would scream above their own fears and doubts! I pray for peace and joy in their life and that the truth of God's love would releases them from the paralyzing grip of their negative thoughts! "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." (Romans 12:2 NLT). I pray in this very moment that God would heal their hopeless hearts so that they are able to truly become God's best version of themselves!