How do we describe our thoughts? I often imagine myself in a room with a thousand birds flying in all directions around me, the deafening cacophony of their chirping and screeching reverberating off the walls and ceiling. I’m dwarfed by the knowledge that I have to catch every one of them and put them in their respective cages on the ground.
Catching the crazy winged things seems a hopeless job. As soon as I think I have a hold of one, another flies at my face and, in my confusion, the one I held slips free and is in the air again. One or two find their way into their cages but even then I’m so overwhelmed at the hundreds remaining that I give up, sit in the middle of my chaotic little room, and cry in total frustration and hopelessness. I can’t leave the room, much as I’d like to and I try to kill them sometimes but often it simply can’t be done. The worst of them are screeching black birds with sharp beaks and beady eyes I would be grateful to see shut and lifeless forever. It’s like an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie; they are completely wild and the task of taming all of them is way beyond my skill.
This scenario is more or less how I feel most days. It’s amazing how thoughts seem to have a life of their own and beat against the inside of your head like birds trapped in a chimney. How many times have I heard the verse that says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”? I want to shout at the author of these books sometimes. A person feels judged and defeated even before the attempt is made to accomplish what’s called for! How in heaven’s name is anyone supposed to take EVERY thought captive?
I think the answer is in Philippians 4… but I’m not absolutely certain. I’d like to imagine our thoughts fall into one of only two categories: good and bad. When it comes to my own behavior and personal standards, I’m an absolutist; it helps me take decisive action in leadership. Either something is helping you grow or it’s holding you back. There really isn’t any such thing as simply “maintaining” in life… the idea denotes complacency. I don’t want to live there and I pity the person who does.
Our thoughts dictate where we’re going and how we process, like the thoughts-attitude-action paradigm I studied for senior research. Our thoughts are crucial; they’re the gateway to our actions. Therefore, the question remains… how do you take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ? If it was simply a matter of will, my birds would be caged. There’s got to be more to it than that.
Perhaps more thought on the matter will produce a positive answer… perhaps too much thought in general creates more chaos and frustration than it’s worth.