Today, as I write, it’s Mother’s Day. And it feels heavy. Ian is coming home to make me dinner. Thanks to his assistant Sheri, who is both his memory and his thoughtfulness. Pulling it off though, will require all of us. But, we’re used to that — the dance of making things seem normal.
A week ago Sheri asked me for the contact info for Ian’s lawyer. (Doug and I are legal guardians). Surprised, I became defensive and hurt. Of course I knew why Ian wanted this. His dream has become a singleminded obsession. After graduation he’ll move to Brooklyn. Mom and Dad stand in his way and the lawyer could remove the obstacle. So I ruminate. And fume. And stay awake at night. Instead of counting sheep, I rehearse dialogue and practice responses. It’s a no-win conversation that has spirit-breaking ramifications. And that’s the worst part of it. I’m the dream crusher, the kill-joy, the reason for his misery.
The heaviness hung on Mother’s day because it was time. The conversation had to be had. Brent, the lawyer, fully understood our predicament so I wasn’t worried about the outcome, just dreaded it. Reality bites. Doug suggested I just forget it because Ian probably would. But… forgetting wasn’t an option. “IT” was already big in my mind and growing bigger by the minute.
The cooking happened, the pretty table was set, hugs and kindnesses were exchanged and by all outward appearances, Mothers Day would please even Hallmark. The next ten minutes are a blur as my mind was elsewhere preparing to lay down the gauntlet.
“Ian, Sheri tells me you’d like the lawyers contact info.”
“Yeah,” Ian says with no reaction, I think I have it, I just forget his name.
“Brent” I say.
“Oh yeah,” says Ian. “I wanted to call him in April but my camera was stolen.”
Completely puzzled and not following I ask, “WHAT?”
It turns out Ian wanted to call his lawyer to remind him of his promise to be in Ian’s movie, the pipe dream movie that Ian plans to make someday. There was no mention of New York!
Completely dumbfounded, I smiled at Doug. I sensed the Lord’s wink as if to say, Debbie, I’m sad you took the bait. Your struggle and worry and growing nightmare is apart from me.
My friend Amy has a word for it. She calls it ‘awful-izing.’ It’s the stupid journey we take when we allow our mind to conjure, to project, to think the worst about something. Awful-izing is twisted perspective. It takes a shred of truth and runs off in a direction without God.
I’m ashamed to have to learn this lesson for the umpteenth time.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
The Power of the Mind
The mind is powerful and during a pandemic it requires extra protection. Bombarded with fearful messages and conflicting and confusing facts the mind gets overwhelmed. On top of that, because personal stresses become amplified, conditions are ideal to take the bait.
The Mind gone Fishing
The mind is constantly fishing. Using past hurts or popular societal opinion or a blatant lie from the enemy, the mind nurtures a thought and then trolls for lure to confirm it. Our mind casts these fabricated thoughts out onto the streams of life. We’re fooled to believe that our system works until it doesn’t.
Want to see the popular lures of our day? Scroll through facebook. So easily we bite and get hooked on a blue-winged-provoker or a hopeless-midge or a my-life-is-perfect-bugger or an angry-over-my-dead-body dragonfly.
Once you’re hooked, you struggle which lodges the hook deep. You’re now in a fight for your life being pulled in directions you never intended. In spite of your effort to move on, your mind won’t allow it.
Here’s the thing… when it comes to your mind it’s important to notice where the fishing analogy breaks down. Your mind can only use barbless hooks. Your mind will suggest you’re stuck. BUT… if you pause from the struggle and observe the hook carefully you’ll see the truth. Staying stuck becomes your choice.
Judgement or Mercy
Clearly, I blew it. Doug and I laughed about it later, but I was ashamed. I wasted precious, counterproductive time and energy awful-izing. When you discover yourself in the doghouse, do you like to face the music? Me neither. But I did.
I went before the Lord deserving judgement and discovered His mercy. God didn’t withhold His compassion waiting for me to get my Christianity right. Instead he showed me His kindness and pointed me to His word.
2 Corinthians 10:5 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
God’s word completely upended my flimsy defense. Instead of wrestling with the bait, I wrestled with this verse. The way I understand it, to take every thought captive simply means that you exert control over your thought life.
Easier said than done, I agree! But as I prayed, He reminded me that His presence was already with me. It’s by the power of the Holy Spirit that makes it possible. In fact, self control is a fruit that’s promised. (Galatians 5:22) With the Lord’s re-direction, I’m back.
Father God, Thank you for loving me no matter how many times I take the bait. Thank you for your provision through the power of the Holy Spirit to exhibit self control. Please help me to take every thought captive to be obedient to Christ. I’m yours Lord. I pray that my mind and behavior reflects that. Amen.