“Fine, if you’re going to be that way, I’ll go play with someone else!”
At that moment, all serenity is broken, as the offended wildly catapults a toy, pivots, and stormily stomps off, leaving the other wide-eyed, staring silently.
Fight/give in. Take/give. Stand my ground/walk away. Who’d every thought that playtime would require skills in creative negotiations!
All too often lately, in the playground of my mind I have entertained such toxic playmates as anxiety, worry, unforgiveness, doubt, and fear, to the point of becoming nearly paralyzed by their ceaseless torments. I have become the wide-eyed one looking on as my tormentors gang up and muscle their unified power!
I read a verse this week that broke into my vexing associations, and reminded me that these don’t need to be my ever present playmates. In Christ, I can walk away from their taunting, haunting words.
Romans 6:13 states, “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”
The playground of my mind has become a battlefield. So what am I to do?
DEMOLITION, NOT NEGOTIATION!
II Corinthians 10:3-5 gives strict instructions for dealing with unwanted playmates.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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.”
REVERIE IN REALITY!
Philippians 4:8 outlines “playmates” I can trust.
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 thing.
Jesus calls me to focus on the abundant blessings and provisions he has given, which are as much a reality as the hard, difficult situations I am facing. Ann Voscamp, in “1000 Gifts” calls it “looking for God through the holes”. This isn’t easy to do – but I must, with God’s strength, if I am going to have God’s peace and joy in the middle of my circumstances.
PEACE THE PROTECTOR!
I’m never expected to tackle such bullies on my own. Actually I am called upon to run to the one who can protect and guard me by his peace!
Philippians 4:6,7 states: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
My stance against the bullies must become: “I’m not playing this way anymore. I’ve found someone else to play with!”
*All Bible verses are from the NIV, with italics added.
**The idea of “the playground of the mind” came from a book by Suzanne Eller, entitled, “Mended Heart“.