Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Carry on with tempered mind, calmed emotions, and focused spirit.
This morning, after some time in prayer and meditation, I remembered this Scripture:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, NIV)
Then I found the following verse when I opened up a meditation prompt written by a friend of mine, Clarice Aeby, who blogs at daretobestill.com and sends weekly encouragements to her subscribers:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (Romans 12:2)
A pattern had emerged for this next entrance in the “immunities” series, this one a continuation of the importance of keeping the mind healthy.
A Tempered Mind
Although the term “temper” has practical applications in behavior, music, and metallurgy, I chose the word used as an adjective, as in “adjusted or attuned by the addition of a counterbalancing element; moderated or measured” (Wordnik).
In such a time as this when so many confusing, contradictory, and sometimes chaotic forces would pull our thoughts off center–around the block and downtown–if we let them, we really need such a “counterbalancing element” to free up critical thinking and maintain as much clear-headedness as we can.
This can be a worldview, a personal philosophy, or, my preference, a faith-based perspective without which we are easily led hither and yon, pushed and shoved by propagandists, fear-mongers, and other brands of roaring lions who know how to keep us tethered to their agenda.
Usually by fear and intimidation.
Without an anchoring perspective, be it faith or something else, it could easily be a case of “if we don’t stand for something we’ll fall for anything,” as the old saying goes…
From the font of wisdom I draw from in the Bible, to a tempered mind I would add a “sober” mind.
A Sober Mind
As meant in 1 Peter 5:8, “sober” is rendered “to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.”
That’s a lot of mental ammunition when the enemy comes at you “six ways from Sunday,” as another old saying goes.
“Calm and collected in spirit” reminds me that when we aren’t corralled, so to speak, in the survival part of the brain (amygdala) trying to determine which is best at the moment–to fight or to flee–the blood flows more easily “up front,” you might say, to the cerebral cortex where we are able to think critically, to reflect, and to analyze beyond the survival of the moment in order to develop a longer-term plan or perspective.
(Side note: Have you ever noticed how evil is ever shouting “Schnell! Schnell!” [“quick, fast”-WordHippo] allowing no time to pause, reflect, and plan?)
“Temperate, dispassionate, circumspect” might be described as the trinity of a tested mind–and spirit.
Whereas dis-ease of mind follows dis-ease of prompt (fear, intimidation–or these days, what seems to be a trend toward violent revolution), ease of mind follows critical thinking, curtailing raw emotions, and exercising caution.
And to the final plan for a healthy mind, i.e. “renewal,” the following.
A Renewed Mind
“Renewed” as in “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better” (Strong’s Concordance).
As expanded in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
Not so easy, however, when all we seem to hear is “Schnell!” while politicians politic, power-mongers push and shove, and inner cities burn.
But WE ALWAYS HAVE THIS OPTION.
Indeed, somebody has to keep a clear head.
Might as well be you and me.
Particularly when we need a mental break, a refresher, a moment away from the fray–whether the mayhem is prompted externally, internally, or both.
Especially when the forces arrayed against mental health are, to the reverse of the verse, telling lies, blocking justice, polluting the pure, trashing whatsoever is lovely, belittling whatsoever is of a good report, perverting virtue, and/or censoring praise.
And with this helpful reminder, encouragement–and prescription–from our eternal Friend Who promised, no matter what, He would never leave nor forsake us, this final thought:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Take as needed.
Graphic of the mind from Wikimedia Commons.