June 11, 2010

Sweet Surrender: Realization #3

Staying in tune with God requires taking every though captive. Otherwise you end up empty, broken, disillusioned and in a state of internal anarchy- becoming the very thing you hate. You begin to believe paralyzing lies. Taking every thought captive requires spending daily time in God's word and daily prayer. Period. No concessions.

Thoughts become our truths and the soundtrack of our lives- our default truths. Therefore- take every thought captive. No exceptions. If you don't, those thoughts, those little absurd lies, end up taking you captive.

My story.

I loved my teaching job in Prague. Absolutely, unequivocally loved it. My students were dreams who did their homework and asked great questions and cared about my existence as much as I cared about theirs.

I loved my job.

When I run I think repetitive thoughts, even sing songs to a beat to keep myself moving.  I was having a particularly stressful year, having to teach Advanced Literature for the British system while also doing Advanced Placement for my America bound student. It was a stretch for me. I was tired. I was stressed.

On one run, on a beautiful day in Stromovka park- I began to play over in my mind all I needed to do: essays to grade, lessons to plan, e-mails to write, and as I jogged in the valley I began to chant: I hate school. I hate school. I hate school.  

And at that moment at least, it seemed to give me power. I finished my run and felt great.

And that little seed was stuck in my brain. That chant stayed with me: I. hate. school.

To reiterate- I most definitely did NOT hate school. I LOVED school. I knew it was a lie but I was stressed, and I did dread the work I had to do. So I let myself chant it as I waited for the bus to come, as I blow dried my hair, as I waited for the washer to finish my load of clothes.

It was quickly becoming the soundtrack of my life.

I used to be a very positive person. I could no longer pretend that I was such a happy-go-lucky camper when this was my mantra.

Fast forward to Kaabong. It was a blazing day of monotony. We had no guests coming and had the day more or less to ourselves. It was a Saturday which was my laundry day- before I broke down and hired out. I was at the clotheslines, one of my favorite places in the world. I was hidden between flapping wet sheets, their snaps releasing little bursts of coolness. I was silent and enjoying the moment, when, before I realized what I was doing, I began to repeat my mantra: I hate school. I hate school.

That's when I knew I had a problem. A very serious problem. This little thing I began to tell myself had rooted in my mind and grown deep. The kind of root that remains even after you snap off it's dainty little body.  How could I ever get it out?

I didn't even have school at that point.

I had nothing I was dreading.

And I had never hated school in the first place.

But that little thought was powerful and had settled itself firmly.

I've known this was a problem and that it helped me spiral into a deep state of cynicism and dread. I began to chant "I hate school" when I had to do anything. Go to the dentist? I hate school.  Pay bills? I hate school. Give bad news? I hate school.  

As Bessie and I talked this thought kept swirling back up in my mind. I needed to apply something that would eat that old root away. It wouldn't be easy and it might crack the ground around it, but the root had to come up.

Through our talks it became evident how. I had to take each thought captive. I can be a defensive driver yet I had failed to live defensively.

Take each thought captive. For thoughts become actions and become who we are. No matter how ill founded, they can take root, and become the soundtrack of our lives.

Taking every thought captive requires spending daily time in God's word and daily prayer. Period. No concessions. 

Til the evil roots dry up and a spring of fresh truth takes its place.

Happy weeding,

(For the sake of keeping you utterly confused, Realization #2 is a work in progress but I still want to skip ahead).


Jen said...

Such great words. It's so true that we need to take every thought captive. I love your story. It really shows the importance of doing that and how quickly lies can dig roots. Kind of scary actually.

Glenda said...

my captive is from as long as i remember I count by 2's over and over. while i drive I find my self counting. when i'm in a boreing meeting i find my self counting i've always wondered why ??? I just count

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