Free Your Mind
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of jag here talking about dreams. Not dreams that we wake up from in the morning- some forgettable, others odd, others from an undigested bit of beef, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato*, but the dreams that we hold dear to our hearts and place hope in for our future. Those dreams. I’ve talked about how we need to be steadfast in our pursuit of them, how we need to get in an aggressive stance in order to fight for them, and I’ve talked about the great enemy of them (see posts here, here, and here).
Do you remember what or who that enemy is?
Fear. Doubt. Insecurity.
Those are three, yes, but they are so thoroughly entwined that, for many of us, they act as one, like a three stranded cord that is not easily broken. And, boy, oh boy, do they tie us up!
They are very real, and they wage against us continually, especially when we are stepping out into the great unknown. However, they only have clout in one area. And, here’s the cool thing, we control that area. Do you know what it is?
I particularly love how Kenneth Copeland says it:
How are those battles won and lost?
The only way fear can have any sort of victory in your life is when you align your thoughts with it. When a worrisome, frightening, or insecure thought crosses your mind, the only way it can have any sway is if you accept it. Once you accept it, in rather short order, you’ll begin to doubt every single step you have taken or could take that will bring you closer to the fruition of your dream.
One of my favorite quotes of all time happens to address this truth pertinently.
Let’s think about that, shall we? (You know, since we’re talking about thinking and whatnot.) If we think we can’t do something, then we’re right. We can’t. We won’t succeed. The spirit may be willing, but the mind will hold it back.
However, there’s a fantastic flip side to this. It’s full of promise. If we think we can do something, then we’re right. We can. We’ll succeed. Where the mind aligns with the spirit, the course ahead may be bumpy and tough at times, but it’s charted and certain.
The fight begins and ends with us.
Remember how the Jedi Master Yoda said it?
Your mind is a magnificently powerful weapon. Period. And like any weapon, if you wish to wield it, you must take care of it. A sword must be sharpened in order to maintain its edge. A gun must be cleaned and lubricated to function properly.
So, how do we take care of our mind to make sure that we don’t let fear, doubt, and unbelief in? We do what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to do:
We take every thought captive.
And how do you take a thought captive? Well, first, you identify it. You see if for what it is. If it comes from a place of fear, doubt, or insecurity, then it’s a thought you isolate and deal with. I’ve had thoughts such as I’m not accomplished enough to merit favor in the eyes of a publisher, or my book isn’t really that great, or, even more gutting, I don’t really have anything worthwhile to say with my writing; I’m sure you’ve had thoughts like that, too. But, when you strip all the different words away, the foundation under each of those statements is : I CAN’T. Remember what Henry said, Whether you think you can or you think you can’t- you’re right.
So, here’s the clue: If the undergirding of a thought is I CAN’T then it’s root is in fear, doubt, and unbelief. And, if that’s where the thought is rooted, it’s your job to get your hands dirty and uproot that noxious weed.
You know what a weed is right? It’s an herbaceous plant not valued for use or beauty, growing wild and rank, and regarded as cumbering the ground or hindering the growth of superior vegetation.
Let’s take that apart. A useless, ugly, stinky, feral, cumbering plant that prevents the growth of superior vegetation. To put it simply, weeds are toxic. They take over and obstruct the growth of plants with more noble purposes. Let’s shift the language a little here:
A useless, stinky, feral, cumbering thought that prevents the growth of superior convictions. Weedy thoughts will turn the fertile ground of your mind into fallow ground simply by choking out your conviction in your ability to achieve your dreams. And as Julia Child would say,
That’s another great word. CONVICTIONS. It’s a compound word that comes from the Latin. CON + VINCERE. To wholly or fully conquer. Conviction is the mental state of being full persuaded. It’s an aggressive word. When you conquer something, you take it captive. You take authority over it. You dominate it.
Fully persuaded is bedrock for the I CAN thoughts. Even if you need to adopt the mantra of the little engine that could: I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, I THINK I CAN, start telling yourself that you can. That’s the beginning of the battle for your mind. That’s the battle cry that let’s your fears and doubts and insecurities know you mean business. Shout it. Say it. Whisper it. Whichever you choose, but make sure you hear it over and over. You’ll need the reminder. Like Dolly Parton said in Straight Talk:
Encourage yourself. And know that you’re not alone in the mental struggle. Men and women of greatness have always dealt with these things. The difference between those who succeeded and those who failed is that those who succeeded actually DEALT with their doubts.
So heed Marcus Aurelius’ words today:
The circumstances will always be changing. They aren’t the constants. Your mind is. It’s the only thing you can take authority over. It’s your constant in the experiment known as life. And, it’s your choice whether you’ll suffer the slings and arrows or take up arms against them.
But, as Gandhi said,
Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Another word for will is volition. Volition comes from the Latin word volo, which means I will. It’s marked by an attitude of determination and resolution. It’s an aggressive attitude, a determined attitude, an attitude of resolve.
And Captain Jack Sparrow highlights how important your attitude is when it comes to tackling the slings and arrows.
So, today, take a look at the thoughts that you allow to dominate your mind. Are they good thoughts, positive thoughts that galvanize you to reach and achieve? Or are they weedy and rank, fearsome thoughts that hold you captive? If they are the latter, then do as Morpheus implored Neo in The Matrix: