I like to work in silence. Four white walls with no noise is my preference. The Google and Silicon Valley models of wide-open workspaces and community offices give me the shivers and amounts to unproductive in my book. I like silence so much that I’ll work in my car for hours at a time. Chris, on the other hand, thrives with music or TV in the background, and people coming in and out of the room aren’t a huge distraction. Different strokes for different folks.
As much as I thrive and my little task-oriented self is happy in solitude, there’s one huge exception to this preference: when my mind won’t shut up. Ever been there? A negative thought just pops into your head and then what? Then the snowball begins. At first, it’s slow and easy. But then it picks up speed and the one negative thought grows into a blizzard of doom and gloom.
Your toddler gets sent to time-out for the third time and you’re certain they’ll end up a criminal. Your hours get cut at work and you’re certain next week you’ll be homeless. Your teenager fails a test and you’re convinced he’ll drop out of school. You sniff and you’re certain you have COVID. You get the point! Sometimes we go there in our minds.
This past week, I allowed a snowball to start forming. But with age, I’m learning how to keep the light dusting of the white stuff from growing into a winter storm. I know the right thing to do: Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I know I should recognize the lie of the enemy, renounce it, and replace it with the truth. I’ve blogged on that very important strategy before. But what do you do when you don’t have the energy or strength to do that?
Simply put, when I don’t have the strength to take every thought captive, I force different thoughts in. This past week, I chose to surround myself with good noise every moment I wasn’t actively working. While in the car and every other moment I could’ve chosen silence, I had a sermon playing in my ears. It’s amazing what you can’t hear when good stuff is going in! When I wasn’t fully able to concentrate, I switched to some worship music. By the end of the day, I had a different outlook.
In the midst of such a crazy year for all of us, we can’t let the what-if’s and why’s of the world turn up their volume. Let’s fight back and let truth, love, peace, and joy drown out those nagging negative whispers.
If I have earbuds in when you see me, you’ll know why. Go grab a pair and have them ready in case you need them.