Tonight I’m up late. I can’t sleep. Tonight there is a war raging in my thoughts.
Which is too bad because the last couple weeks have been rough with a bout of acute gastritis (or something like that). All I know is that I’ve had the worst stomach pains and extreme digestive issues that have literally brought me to my knees. Many nights I’ve been sitting in hot baths or running to the bathroom throughout the night or moaning in pain. Tonight, by the time I went to bed, I felt great. I was even exhausted. However, as I laid in bed – I just stared at the ceiling.
Seriously? I’m exhausted and I can’t go to sleep?!
That started a lightning fast downward spiral of thoughts that eventually ended up in a place of hating absolutely everything about my life. With each toss and turn, my thoughts became increasingly sour. Finally, I reached a point where I was cursing everyone and everything in my life (in my head) and I was ready to close my business, pack a bag and move out of town – starting my life over.
Realizing that this was getting worse, I forced myself to get up and out of bed. Grabbing my robe, bible, notebook, and flashlight, I trudged into the other room and plopped in the recliner.
At least getting up and moving stopped the crazy thinking!
I wondered why my thoughts were so awful tonight.
This used to be a regular struggle for me. Some nights it was so dark in my head, I wasn’t sure I would see daylight. But God had been bringing me to a new place of revelation and for nearly a year, it has been a welcome relief from such mental struggles. So, why tonight? I also have been struggling with bad dreams again. I used to have horrible nightmares almost nightly and they finally left but started creeping up again in the last couple of weeks.
As I wondered about this, seemingly random thoughts came to mind and I started to brush them off. Then, as I was reading Kathrine Ruonala’s book, From Wilderness to Wonders, a clear thought hit me suddenly: Default is the devil’s playground.
Instantly, all those random thoughts came together and made sense. I hope I can explain clearly…
Default opens the door to ungodly influences
I’m usually very careful about what I put in my mind. I rarely watch TV and I’m very guarded about music. I even noticed a correlation between playing games on my phone at night in bed and the types of dreams I was having. In response, several months ago, I decided to stop playing games on my phone in bed and instead read scripture or other books.
That’s when the nightmares stopped.
I blew it off as coincidence until last week. I wasn’t feeling well and felt like doing something mindless to forget about the pain in my stomach. So I played a simple solitaire card game. I had a nightmare that night.
Over the last week, I have used my physical pain and exhaustion as an excuse to set myself on default. I’ve allowed myself to stop listening to the hours of godly teachings I’m used to every day and reading at night, in exchange for something mindless – because I haven’t been feeling well.
Tonight, as I pulled out my phone to play some more games, a little voice inside told me not to. I ignored it and played anyway because, again, I felt weary and wanted something “mindless” before bed.
I’m not saying these things, in and of themselves are bad – but it is very clear to me that they keep me from the REAL nurturing that I need for my soul and spirit. I have spent so much time over the last months and years pressing into the things of the Kingdom in order to enjoy a deepening intimacy with the Father, that when I pulled away from that, I have realized it has a profound impact in my spirit.
In a way, I’ve developed a spiritual sensitivity and at the same time, unknowingly found the antidote to the mental anguish I struggled with so much in the past. I haven’t allowed my mind to go into “default” for so long because I’ve been so desperate for God to transform my life that I’ve been pressing in every second of my waking hours.
A NEW Default
Now that I’ve allowed myself to enter into a default mode once again, it is blatantly obvious how much protection, provision, and peace is found in the constant pressing into the presence of the Father. I had inadvertently developed a new default in my life that was far, far better and opened the doors to a spiritual intimacy and sensitivity that wards off the attacks of the enemy.
The instant I made a conscious choice to get up and out of that bed and grab my Bible the mental assault instantly stopped.
Default is an open door for satan’s toxic whispers into our mind.
Before, I could never articulate why I disliked certain things like TV or online games, but now I can. Are these things bad? Not necessarily. I won’t judge you for your choices. But for me, it seems they keep me from what I desire MORE than those things. I don’t like it when some preach their convictions as if it’s the way everyone should live. So it is not my intention to make anyone feel like they should throw away their TV and delete their apps from their phones. Not at all. Rather, this is to get you to think about what your thinking about and the possible influences impacting those thoughts. If you struggle, like I do at times, with battles in your mind, consider what you are allowing in during your “default” moments.
It’s up to you to ask the Father what He desires from you and for you.
Now that I’ve tasted the better option, I no longer have the stomach (or mind) for “mindless” activities. For me, the cost is too great. Personally, I’ve learned that my spirit is really sensitive to TV and other things. The more time I spend away from tv or games, etc, the more sensitive to them I get. But I don’t mind. I’d much rather enjoy the peace and presence of the Holy One!