Walking the trails adjacent to our property has been a big blessing to me. On my morning walks, I’ve seen deer, birds, a rabbit and lots of banana slugs! Ours aren’t yellow, but brown, and they are often six to eight inches in length. When I first saw them, I wondered if aliens had invaded our planet. So far, I’ve managed not to step on any of them. I have, however, tangled with the blackberry brambles on several occasions. The native variety creeps along the ground and also seems to be an alien species. It vines across the trails, almost tripping me when my foot has been caught in the spiky tendrils.
One thing I’ve learned about the trails is that they have to be maintained. If the brambles and fallen branches aren’t cleared regularly, the trails become unusable. In the same way, our minds can also become overgrown with brambles or weeds, and clogged with debris. I notice this when I’m praying or trying to concentrate on just one thing. My thoughts flit from one thing to another and it’s hard to rein them in and get back on track. It’s difficult to establish and maintain good habits in our thought life.
I wish it were as easy to keep our minds focused, clear and on track as it is to maintain a walking trail. Employing a chainsaw, a weed-whacker and some good pruning shears are effective against encroaching forest growth, but for a disciplined thought life, we need other tools. A good starting place is to eliminate distractions (not easy, I know) and then practice silence and solitude. But perhaps the most important thing is to be aware of when it happens and to consciously choose to bring our minds back – even if it has to happen over and over – and over.
Keeping the mind, which is our most valuable asset, free of clutter, unnecessary and even harmful thoughts is an important but mostly ignored endeavor. It is only possible as we work together with the Holy Spirit, who has given us the spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).
Study by Tammy Tkach
First published on 23 August 2022, at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
About the writer:
Tammy Tkach is the Assistant Pastor of the Eugene, Oregon, USA congregation. She is a speaker and writer, and publishes a blog at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
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