Yesterday was another day of on the road time for me. I do love that my job takes me on the road from time to time; however, the past month and the next month seem to be filled with more times on the road than in my own bed. My office at work sits empty, but my backpack and my travel bag are always full. And travel time – especially over the past week when I have been without a book on CD – lends itself to thinking time.
Thinking is an excellent activity. I firmly believe that we should do it and that we should do it often. Those who do not think tend to become those who do not do. Thinking – whether analytical or reflective – is motivating, inspiring, and problem-solving. We can only accomplish those great dreams if we first think them up.
However, thinking too much or too deeply or…too much without a sounding board or looking to some Truth…can lead to thoughts of despair about ourselves, our relationships, or our situations. Without balancing our own understanding of the world around us with Truth, we lose site of that Truth and start to believe lies about ourselves.
Yesterday marked the 23rd anniversary of a dark day in my life. On that day, the ninth grader who was me had become lost in her mind, had lost sight of Biblical truth, and had decided to answer despair by attempting to take her own life. It is the only time that I have acted on thoughts like that although there have been other times when the temptation has been there. Since being diagnosed with bipolar stuffs two years ago, my psychiatrist and I have talked about the polarizing pull that happens toward life-taking from time to time and how the conditions of being lost in my mind that afternoon twenty-three years ago led me to that place of action (albeit a failing one – Praise be to God!).
Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of reading about the developmental assets from the Search Institute. As I look at the list of assets, I realize that I had plenty of them in my toolkit. In fact, I would have scored so highly on them that I doubt I would currently be screened in to get any kind of help except that I clearly showed signs of needing help (in fact, I was in counseling for a few weeks before I manipulated my way out of that – another story for another day). My family, school, and community connections were very strong. And yet – I had biological tendencies that pulled me toward rumination, reflection, and self-incriminating thoughts. Although I had a strong faith in God, I would often lose sight of that and look inward.
I love a song called “Lost in My Mind” that has been out for a while by a group called The Head and the Heart (what a smart name for a band!). Whenever I hear this upbeat song, I am reminded that being lost in one’s own mind is only good for so long.
We need to balance our own thoughts with Truth so that we do not make poor decisions from the bottom of some lost pit or path that we have taken into our own minds. We were never meant to rely on our own understanding of ourselves but rather to look to our Creator and Savior for our worth through Him. When we have tendencies to look inward, we need to fight those and look outward – around us and to the One who provides Truth about who we are, why we are here, and how we will move beyond today’s struggles.
Happy May 1!
Celebrate this day with a sense of renewal; breathe deeply and know that there is a God who loves you deeply and wants you to see yourself as He sees you – cherished.