Problems with My Mind … Any Ideas?
To love God is everything to me – to serve him – more than everything. He is worthy of all that I have, all that I am. However, I have a problem. I have a very active mind. From the moment I rise to the moment I sleep my mind is racing. When I sleep, or I should say on the rare occasion that I do sleep, my mind is still racing.
So, who cares? Well, I thought it may be of interest to those who, like me, have a similar struggle and are looking for answers. We desire to reserve some capacity every moment of every waking hour for Christ. We want him present with us. We want to be present with him. We rise with that desire, we pray, we meditate, we discipline ourselves to hours of prayer. However, in the mean times – when we are not on our knees dedicated to the specific task of prayer (and unfortunately sometimes when we are), our minds are racing.
Then, the day suddenly comes to a close. Yes, we have given a good deal of time to prayer. However, as we close the day we realize that the majority of the time passed without even a hint of prayer. We created our tasks lists, even with our sacred callings in mind. However, once off of our knees, he really was nowhere to be found (in our hearts and minds). Not that he was not with us, but we were not with him. We are constantly in a flurry of self-sufficiency. Such that it even threatens and encroaches on our other spiritual commitments. Tasks and thoughts about tasks constantly push in to crowd him out as if they desire that he not be present – as if they, though good tasks, were presented by the devil himself – anything to keep us from him – even that which is “good.”
So, what is the answer? Really, I don’t know for sure. Thus far my attempts have been focused on nurturing my prayer life (morning and evening prayer etc.). By God’s mercy this effort has yielded great fruit. However, I don’t seem to be making much progress with the idea of staying present with Christ in between specific times of prayer.
This morning I read something helpful by Brother Lawrence. He said that evil begins in our thoughts. That we must be careful to reject each of these thoughts “as soon as we become aware that they are not essential to our present duties, or our salvation.” This idea struck me as very wise. I realized that I constantly entertain thoughts that though not evil or sinful in and of themselves, they fail to rise to the standard of helping with present duties and my salvation.
Is this the next great battle ground of my growth in faith? I think so. So why bring this to your attention? My hope is that if there is anyone out there that has overcome this challenge, that you might offer up suggestions to aid me and others in the fight.
With such an active mind and naturally aggressive work ethic, how can I reserve a portion of myself as always attentive to Christ – every waking moment of my life?
Art for this post on problems with my mind: Le Désespéré (The Desperate Man), Gustave Courbet, circa 1843, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.