Blessing of Brain Battles

Written on

February 23, 2019

I have always appreciated the way Wally and I could just “be” together. There doesn’t have to be constant conversation or even distracting background noise. We are just comfortable with each other in the silence.

When we were first a couple, I would ask him what he was thinking about. When he would respond with, “nothing,” I would find it impossible to believe. After all, in the quiet my mind had raced and rambled over at least a dozen topics and potential scenarios. It wasn’t long into our relationship, when I came to accept the truth: he really can think about “nothing.”

Another one of the many things that differentiates us in our marriage, is the amazing way Wally can compartmentalize his thoughts. When he’s at work, he’s at work. When he returns home, he can shut off work and be at home. When he’s ready to relax, he does and he can think about “nothing,” turning off his thoughts and not thinking. He can not stress about anything else.

On the other hand, there is me. When I am at home, I will think about what I need to do at work. When I am at work, I will think about what I need to do at home. When there could be a small window to relax, I can’t because my mind is too busy thinking of all the other things that need to be done. OR – when I try to relax there is an all-too-familiar feeling of guilt, because of my inability to turn off my brain.

The internal dialogue in my mind is exhausting all by itself, but when emotions are mixed into the batter, the finished product is either burnt beyond recognition or left a soggy, raw, goopy mess.

This tendency is something I know I have passed on to my second born daughter.

I love how God gave her such passion. However, the ways her passions fluctuate are exhausting and overwhelming for her father and me. We often pine over how she must feel. For Piper, it is either the BEST day ever OR the WORST day ever – but – she can instantaneously go from one to the other and, without warning, back again. To call her “dramatic” would be an understatement. High maintenance? At times, most definitely, but never for very long. Her emotions make her complex, but because of their high intensity, we never have to wonder how she is feeling. We can simply watch how she enters the room, dragging and moaning or skipping and singing.

If I am honest, I am jealous of Wally’s male mental abilities.
If I am honest, I know my emotions, while not as clearly visible as Piper’s, have the same ability to rule and reign every aspect of my life.
If I am honest, I cannot deny that my jealousy and my inability to master my emotions are sinful.

Jealousy undoubtedly goes back to the 10th commandment where we are clearly told not to envy. Jealousy says that I am not satisfied with what God has given me. Jealousy proves that I feel that I deserve more.

Emotions, in and of themselves, are not bad, wrong or sinful per se, but left unchecked they can produce all kinds of havoc. My five year old had every right to be angry with my 15 year old. I couldn’t fault her for that – the problem she had was that her anger ruled over her as she began to physically hit her sister in that anger. She sinned against her big sister by whaling on her. She sinned against God by giving into her anger and allowing that to be her motivation.

Like David writes in Psalm 51 – my sin is first and foremost against God. Yes, I should apologize for holding a grudge against Wally, but things can’t be made right until I ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness too.

The internal dialogue in my mind is most definitely, most of the time, a chaotic battlefield.

Thoughts that won’t end. Emotions that fuel more thoughts. Satan knowing and attacking my most vulnerable insecurities. Desires to please God, but more emotions that scream of my incapabilities. Then there are hormones that demand attention. While I have never been in an actual, physical war – God’s Word tells me that I am most definitely in a spiritual one. The frontline is in my brain.

However, His Word also tells me that He has won the war. With Jesus’ resurrection, the final outcome has been irrevocably settled. The Good Guy won. By the faith through grace that He has given me, I have the promise of ultimate victory as well. There will be an end to the chaos in my head because He rules my heart.

The presence of His Spirit within me, is my not-so-secret weapon. I do not fight on my own strength or by my own capabilities. When I seek Him first, He illuminates Satan’s lies for what they are, He throws me lifelines of truth to cling to from His Word, and He overwhelms me with the peace I so desperately need in the midst of the fight.

I am SO thankful, God didn’t save me and just shrug his shoulders, say “Good luck, see you in heaven!” and walk away. Instead, He actively, intimately uses every aspect of the internal struggle within me to teach me and make me more like Jesus.

While I do envy Wally’s ability to turn-it-all-off, I can and should thank God that the endless strain of stressful thoughts force me to depend upon Him. The mess of emotions compel me to dump my crazy on Him. Combined, they grow my faith, showing me that He can handle it. They truly teach me that His load is easy and His burden is light. They do all this and more.

So instead of wishing I was more like my man, I should thank God that I am not. I should appreciate this internal struggle for the many ways it grows my faith and my dependance on Him. I know I could not have learned these truths any other way.

Thank You God for internal struggle that wars within me.
Thank You God for the way it compels me to turn to You.
Thank You God for the assurance that battle will indeed end.
Thank You God for the ultimate victory to be had.

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