I heard a story about a young mother who one day ran out of gas in her car.
Looking around to find a container to put gas in, all she could find was a potty chair she had in her trunk. Her oldest was in potty training mode. Armed with the potty chair, she walked the short distance to the gas station and filled up the potty with gas. I’m sure it was quite a sight. After filling the potty with enough gasoline to get her to the station, she walked back to her car and proceeded to put the gas in the tank. Now don’t do what I did at this point in hearing the story. I got lost wondering how in the heck she pulled that off.
You see, I have also on occasion run out of gas and have had to be a bit creative in getting some gas in the tank. Unless you are prepared for such an eventuality and have an approved gas can in your trunk, it is quite a trick indeed. And chances are, if you are the type to run out of gas to begin with, you probably are not the type to carry along such a container.
I was pulled back to the story in time to hear the ending.
A man had pulled over and commented, “I have to admire your faith, ma’am. But putting the contents of that potty chair into your tank probably won’t get you very far.” I got it. He thought she was putting the normal contents of a potty chair into her tank. Cute. Stupid, but cute.
I was recently riding in the car with my teenaged son. We were listening to the latest CD from one of his favorite bands. I happen to like this band, too. Neat, huh? I’m either really cool, or he’s really not. One song came on, and my son commented how that song made him depressed when he heard it. Listening more closely to the lyrics I had to agree. It was depressing. I know that music can really get into your soul. Listening to songs with unhealthy lyrics can certainly influence your thought life and your mood in an untoward way. The reverse is true also.
Case in point: it is impossible to listen to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and continue to be sad or depressed. It’s my antidepressant of choice.
We are faced with choices every day regarding what we allow to enter into our minds. Let’s face it; we’ve all got some unhealthy stuff bouncing around in there. Sometimes we find there are things in there we never intended to have, and they choose to rear their ugly heads at really bad times. That’s why Scripture warns us against allowing our minds to be focused on what is not the best for us.
I once led a group of second grade boys at church. I sometimes had as many as sixteen boys in one room. Uh huh. It would have been pure chaos except these kids were just the greatest. I love seven year olds. It’s a great age. I had one little boy tell me he had been allowed to watch a rated ‘R’ movie. Ouch. It was a statement that my oldest son would have labeled “random”. Meaning it came from out of nowhere. As I paused in search of a response I could say out loud, he stared up at me with those big brown eyes just waiting for me to find my voice. I think he was probably enjoying the moment.
Suddenly Philippians 4:8-9 came to mind.
Whew! So I told my little charge what the Bible had to say about being careful regarding what we allow into our minds, and that we must guard them and save them for right, pure and holy things. After I finished what I thought was a very clever response, he simply said, “Okay.” And it was done. See? Seven is easy.
But it got me to thinking about my life, and the things I allow into my mind and heart. What am I reading? What am I watching on television, and listening to on my iPod? The man who thought the young mother was putting poop into her gas tank, and expecting the car to start had it right. We can’t expect our hearts and minds to serve us well if we are feeding them a steady stream of garbage.
The challenge is not an easy one. If it were, the lure of nasty wouldn’t be such a big problem for us. There’s certainly enough nasty out there to go around. Finding right, pure, and holy—now there’s a challenge. For me it’s putting down the murder mystery novel in favor of a heartwarming story, or even resisting the temptation to check out the news online for the latest current events. (Since when is there ever anything uplifting in the news anyway?) Simple things, really. But with competition out there for our very thoughts, we can’t afford to be on autopilot.
So what are you feeding your noggin?
Not sure? Well, how do you feel? Are you tired, sad, depressed even? Maybe just a little? How’s your attitude about life in general? I know mine’s been a little off lately. So I’m paying a bit more attention to what I’m feeding my brain, and what’s seeping into my heart. I’m also going to listen to “Mr. Blue Sky” several times today. Just to be sure. Then stand back, and watch God work you into his most excellent harmonies!