I remember laughing as a child when I read Peanuts cartoons – especially when I first discovered Pig-Pen, the character who was always surrounded by a cloud of dust. I’m sure cartoonist Charles Schultz was implying that this little boy was always a mess or constantly getting dirty, but Pig-Pen, to me, illustrated a life lived under a personal cloud of gloom.
Today, I found myself distracted from the goodness of God as I was walking home from church. It has been an exceptionally beautiful day – sunny, partly cloudy, temperate (about 75 degrees), light breeze – just about perfect, yet my thoughts were drawn into a downward spiral, and before I knew it – I was under a cloud of irritability as I began to obsess about how I had allowed someone to disrupt my plans.
How easily I slipped into an old negative neuro-pathway that temporarily obstructed my view of the Son’s glory (as well as the beauty of this gorgeous day – aglow in the warmth of the sun).
If we spend too much time alone with negative thoughts and emotions, we can miss out on God’s best. Although everyone has a few issues or hang-ups, some people become absolutely stuck in negative thinking (e.g.- self-criticism, worry, fear, guilt, bitterness, despair). In some severe cases the human mind needs to be “reset & retrained.” When chronic mental illness doesn’t respond to other interventions, ECT (electroshock treatment) has helped break the pattern of debilitating depression, persistent delusions, or destructive obsessions, by “resetting” the neuro-network of the brain.
We are all capable of falling into old negative patterns of thinking. My cognitive-emotional-behavioral programming often requires a reset. I need God to renew my mind – daily. Reading scripture, meditating on God’s Word, praying, Christian gatherings, recreation, travel, intimate friendships, time with family, exercise, relaxing music, hobbies, and rest are all part of my “self-care.” What do you do (or need to do) to be refreshed, renewed, recharged, and reset?
God desires to re-create us in the image of his Son. When negative dark thoughts trouble you, ask the Father to fill you afresh with peace and joy. Jesus said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10b The Message) It’s never too late to invite Jesus to fill you with His light. He freely offers us his joy, peace, and love!
As you release your dark thoughts and resist the Enemy’s lies, the Son’s brilliant light will be unhindered. Ask Jesus to clean the mirror in your soul that was designed to reflect the light of his great love. You were made to be a house of light – a radiant lighthouse on a hill that emits a strong beacon of hope to all who are lost in darkness.
Don’t live under a cloud. Let the Son shine!