I Can’t Get My Brain To Stop!

Luk 5:16 “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.”

Most Christians would probably agree that setting aside time to be with God and to do nothing else is an important event. Time alone with God allows us to connect with Jesus, our source of life and love. It’s a time to re-focus and allow all of the busyness and distractions of life to fade away.

This is a critical activity, as it breaks the cycle of flesh patterns that we tend to walk in during our daily life. As I’ve discussed the activity of having time alone with God with other Christians, I frequently hear a common complaint. “When I try to focus on the Lord, I just can’t get my brain to stop.”

The thoughts you have in your mind and the feelings you experience in your emotions all come from the much deeper place of the heart. A busy mind comes from a busy heart. Trying to stop your mind from being busy without dealing with your heart is a losing battle. It would be like trying to repair a leaking faucet by putting tape around the leak. No matter how much tape you use and no matter how hard you try to stop the water, it’s going to keep coming out. There is a deeper problem.

How do we remedy a busy mind, which is actually a busy heart? Let me explain it like this: When my children were younger, my wife and I used to take them to a pizza restaurant that had an arcade game room. One of the games my kids loved to play was what they called the “pop-up game”. The pop-up game had a large, soft mallet the player would hold in his hands. On the game board in front of them, a little wooden character would “pop up” out of a hidden compartment. The player was supposed to quickly hit the character with the mallet as soon as it popped up. The problem was, as soon as you hit the character, another one would pop up from a different place on the board. The faster you would hit them, the faster they would come out. You simply could not win.

The busy heart and mind are much the same way. Often, the more you try to quiet a busy heart, the more distracted it becomes. The more you try to focus on God, the more you think about anything but God, You can’t win. So what is the solution?

The solution is: Don’t play the game.

While my kids were feverishly trying to beat the impossible pop-up game, I peacefully sat on the bench behind them while I just observed all the chaos.  If you wrestle with the flesh according to the rules of the flesh you will lose every time. The secret is to go to a different place. You must go to a different place, while you simply observe the insanity of the flesh.

Instead of “trying” to get your mind to stop its busyness, simply realize that you are loved. And then enjoy it. Realize that you have been cleansed by the blood of the cross, and then enjoy the fact that you are clean and loved before God. Realize that you already have God’s heart of kindness pouring out toward you, and then enjoy it. Realize that everything has already been finished, there is nothing more that you have to do. It is your faith that makes you right with God and nothing else (Heb. 11:6, Gal. 2:16, 2 Ti. 1:9, Eph. 2:9, Rom. 4:2). When you begin to enjoy the truths of God, you enter into the letting go action in the heart that is synonymous with faith.

If you give yourself to realizing what is already true and what has already been accomplished for you by Christ, and then you learn to relax and enjoy these things – you will suddenly find yourself swimming in the river of life. Stop trying to still your mind. Stop making time with God a project. Stop focusing on how you should be better, how you need to change, and how you need to improve.  Instead, realize the truth of what has already been done for you and bask in it, as though you were sun bathing. Only then will you observe change in your life. You must get off the hamster wheel of “trying” in order to accomplish the desired goals of your hamster wheel. Relaxing and enjoying what has been accomplished is the secret. It is faith.

While you are enjoying what God has done for you and the flesh distracts you with its parade of shallow thoughts, simply realize that is what the flesh is supposed to do. Do not be surprised. Do not be frustrated. Simply return to the truth of what has been accomplished for you and enjoy it. Your fellowship with Jesus will soon become sweet.

-Terry Stanley

Topic taken from the book “From the Head to the Heart”Order a copy here or get a free pdf version at home church help.com

1 Comment

  1. Don
    May 1, 2015

    My problem is worse. I can’t get my brain to start. 😉

    Seriously, thank you for this, and really for the entire book. It’s been a real blessing to me.

    More than once I’ve found myself caught in the trap of trying to free my mind from distractions, or from evil thoughts, or whatever. They just get worse.

    As you suggest, the trick is not so much TRYING NOT TO THINK about some weighty problem or responsibility, but thinking about something even weightier – the fact that the God of all creation loves me even more than I love myself.

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