Thursday, July 6, 2017


Our thought patterns become as habitual as brushing our teeth.  After a while we don’t even think about them.  We get so used to bitter thoughts or anxious thoughts or selfish thoughts that we don’t even notice what we are thinking about.

One of the great barriers to a flourishing mind is sometimes called mindlessness.  My body is at the breakfast table with my family, but my mind isn’t.  It is ruminating over my problems -- a repetitive, anxious, dull, low-grade obsession with tasks and problems.  I am absentminded; my mind has gone AWOL.  Other people can tell I am not fully present because my face is less alive and responsive.  I talk less, and when I do say something, it is superficial and terse.  I don’t do this on purpose.  It simply becomes a habit of my mind.

The spiritual life begins with paying attention to our thoughts, which is why the psalmist prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)  God knows our thoughts better than we do, and He will help us learn what is going on in our mind from one moment to the next.

-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want To Be”


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