Thinking With God
Anne Lamott is a rare recipe that blends spirituality with laughter. She leans on Jesus and writes books that solicit insight with a chuckle. Consider this quote as an example. “My mind is like a bad neighbourhood. I try not to go in there alone.” In one sentence she admits a common struggle of the mind and our need for guidance.
Most of life happens in our thoughts. Our brains are engines of opinions, ideas attitudes, conclusions, fears, loves and insights. It’s an engine that never shuts off, not even in our sleep. While it is the source of our words and actions, it is an engine that runs silently, even secretly. I can read your facial expressions, observe your conduct and hear your voice, but I can’t read your thoughts. Our minds are a private domain. That can be a problem.
Our minds are not infallible, nor are they completely trustworthy. As Anne Lamott says, they can be like a bad neighbourhood; shadowy, mysterious and dangerous. Since they remain private, we may feel isolated, even trapped by errors, lies or faulty presumptions that inhabit our thinking. Anyone who has tried to convince another that they are worthy, loved or capable, will recognize the frustration of trying to alter ingrained thought patterns that are destructive. Their mental neighbourhood is sealed off and it is dangerous. So are we compelled to wander in this ghetto alone?
There is a Companion Voice that can pierce the shadows. God dwells with us, in our heart, soul, body and mind. He sees the dark corners of our mental wanderings. He is the Truth which enlightens the slums of our thinking. While our thoughts are a private domain, we can invite God to explore our introspections with us. We enact that invitation by consumption of God’s Word. His Voice is truth to our error. By Scripture, we listen to what He says above what we think. We also invite God into our thinking via prayer - especially contemplative prayer. It is by silent, reflective, habitual prayer that God walks with us on the paths of our reasoning's. He will guide us into the depths of truth. He will shelter us from the threats of false premises. Most of all, He will assure us that we are never alone. Do not be content to simply think about God. Think with God. We have the hope and help of God’s Spirit renewing our thoughts and shaping the Mind of Christ within us. So as Anne says, don’t wander your mental neighbourhood alone. Invite Him to explore, renovate and renew your mind.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14