I love when my son comes in the room at around 5:30 AM, wide awake…said no parent ever.
But when you’ve lost your second tooth, and the tooth fairy has made good on her promise, I don’t supposed you can stay quietly in your bed for another couple of hours. You just gotta tell someone!
Hence, my early morning jolt into consciousness about a week ago.
What was so intriguing to me following this unpleasant wake-up-call, was how my brain was so quick to create a scenario to make it all make sense. I was asleep. As in dead-to-the-world mouth breathing asleep. I have no clue what I was dreaming about. I do know that at the exact moment my five-year-old turned on our overhead light I dreamt that I dropped my cell phone, which landed face down and somehow turned on the flashlight. In my split second dream I was blinded by the cell phone’s flashlight and scrambling to turn it off. My husband’s voice telling our son to turn off the light was what was finally made me realize what was going on in the real world!
I was reminded of this dream a few days later, when it occurred to me that there is a reason I dreamt my phone flashlight turned on inexplicably as opposed to a regular flashlight. I don’t use a regular flashlight…ever. But I use my cell phone flashlight multiple times a day. I know that seems simplistic, but the brain just fascinates me. And so in thinking about it, I couldn’t help but notice that in that split second, my brain had to cling to something familiar to make sense of a situation. It went to the light source that would be most likely to be blinding me. What, you don’t accidentally turn on your phone’s flashlight while staring right at it? That’s just me??
Well, I also couldn’t help but think about how not unlike our waking hours this experience was. When faced with a stressor, a quick decision, an opportunity to respond to a person or situation…our brain has to cling to the familiar to create some sense of grounding.
As I think back over various seasons of my life, it should be no surprise to me that the times when I’ve been best prepared to squelch the enemy’s lies have been the times when I was most saturated in God’s Truth. Because our brains cling to the familiar.
For me, this has involved two primary things…devouring God’s Word and regularly reminding myself of His personal faithfulness in my own life.
When I’m routinely and richly dwelling in His Word, it is fresh on my mind. It is the familiar that pops up when my brain needs to make sense of a situation. And when I’m regularly thanking Him for His past faithfulness in my own life, it is not hard to bring those times to mind when a difficult situation arises.
But you know, the opposite has been true for me as well. Seasons of my life when my time was spent complaining, consumed with Facebook or mindless television, and frankly, avoiding God’s truths have been the seasons when my first reaction has been negative. Typically my impulse reaction was paralyzing fear, anger, bitterness, doubt, discouragement, or even despair.
It’s one thing to say that we want to take thoughts captive and replace lies with truth. But when it counts, in those split second moments, our brains will default to the familiar.
May we become so familiar with God’s words and truths that our brains default to them. When bad news comes, and it will, may our instinct be to recall His past faithfulness and rest in His sovereignty. When hurtful words are spewed at or about us, may our minds immediately remember that we are not in a battle against flesh and blood, and may we be quick to do battle against our real enemy.