Mess With Your Mind

Sometimes my mind just gets in the way of my spirit. It’s sort of like those 3D optical illusion posters that were all the rage in the 90s. Remember those? They just looked like a big messy preschool art project; but if you stared at the thing long enough, you’d see a ship sailing into the sunset with dolphins jumping and splashing in the foreground…or wolves howling at the moon. Did you see the little wolf cub in the corner there? Awww.

Yeah. That’s if you weren’t me. I could never see those things. It made me so mad. So one day, probably for my birthday, a friend of mine bought one for me. A big one. Just to be funny. Ha ha…Hm. I didn’t find it all that funny.

I put the thing up in my room and stared at it for about 20 minutes. Nothing. I left it there and periodically tried again, for about 2 years. Two…YEARS. NOTHING! I was getting really mad, but I wouldn’t take it down. I knew that if other people could do it, so could I…it was just a matter of time.

Then one night I was at another friend’s house and saw one on the wall. I was determined that this time I would do it. It was late. I was tired. But I stared at it while everyone else watched movies, ate snacks and played cards. Just when I was about to give up, I just relaxed and decided I didn’t really care if I ever saw the hidden picture. Then it happened – it just clicked. All of a sudden I could see the whole thing! It was a pretty cool one, actually…an underwater scene with circling sharks, a menacing octopus, a huge school of fish and an open treasure chest.

I didn’t want to look away from it, for fear that I would never be able to see it again. I could blink, I could cross my eyes and uncross them; and when I got brave, I could look away and back again and I could STILL see it. After that it was easy to see other ones. I couldn’t explain how to do it, you can just do it once you’ve seen one, it seems.

I use that illustration to demonstrate learning how to hear from God and walk in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At first it seems a daunting thing and only for people with specialized skills. Depending on your personality and background, I guess. But for me it was like this: I would try and try (emphasis on “try”), but never seemed to just “get it”. But when I would allow the Holy Spirit to just gently speak to me…and learned to incline my ear, not my effort, toward Him, I began to hear His voice. Then I could respond.

I still sometimes allow my mind to get in the way of my spirit & of the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging and entreating. But I can recognize when I’m doing that again and have learned to walk back to the point of attempted contact to repent and listen. Reason is a good thing, and God intends for us to use it. But we have to be led by His Spirit and not by our own understanding. The spirit must rule over the mind and the flesh…not some other, lesser arrangement. Don’t let your mind get in the way of what God’s Spirit is trying to communicate with your spirit.

Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”


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