The Devil's Playground: An Idle Mind
How often do you daydream? For me, drifting to an imaginary place and pretending to live out all my wildest dreams happens quite a bit. Whether it’s a quick escape during my workday or an extended daydream during a leisurely walk through a park… it’s too easy. Now, to be clear, there is no problem with dreaming, hoping, or wishing. The Bible repeatedly tells us to be hopeful and not lose faith. Through continual prayer and asking, we shall receive… (though sometimes not in the ways we expect to). We have a good, giving Father who wants the best for us… and in this goodness, He wants to help us achieve our dreams.
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. -Romans 5:2
But what happens when these daydreams transform into fantasies and start to become a hindrance on our usefulness as an instrument of the Lord? As easy as it is to fall into a daydream, it’s even easier from there to fall into uselessness as Christians. So where exactly is the boundary? At what point does our idleness become invitation for sin? The seemingly harmless becomes increasingly dangerous to our connection with God and puts us in the vulnerable position of letting sin slip into our minds. Soon, we become bound by these inviting daydreams. We become servants of them instead of Him.
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense and their senseless minds were darkened. –Romans 1:21
Our personal demons know us. For me, I often dream of someday having my own family. My mind fills with my dream of being a wife and mother someday. Soon I’m whisked away from what I’m being called to in this moment: serving the Lord as a single, young woman and growing in my relationship with Him. Even though my thoughts may have good intentions, my mind starts to slip. My idleness quickly transforms into idol-ness. Only through grace am I redeemed for the carelessness of my imagination.
Discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. For my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 7:21-25
Is it even possible NOT to daydream? Let’s be honest… no. More than likely, we’ll drift. However, in our drifting, we must constantly check ourselves. When we start to deviate from serving God as we are now, the first thing to do is repent. Ask for forgiveness. Furthermore, ask for strength with the tempting thoughts to come! The sooner we recognize that we will fall short, the sooner we can ask for His fatherly support in staying grounded in Christ. Let us remember: though we are incredibly limited beings, we serve an unlimited God who desperately wants a relationship with us. In having a constant connection with the Lord, we unlock the opportunity to actively hope in Him instead of passively escaping into the confines of our own minds.
Sometimes, it helps to have a focal point to draw your attention to. This is where Scripture memorization or even singing a worship song can come in as a handy weapon to combat wandering thoughts. Write down your favorite passages from the Bible and stick them somewhere you'll see the words often - on your bathroom mirror, on your car dashboard or in your workspace. Come back to those words when you find your mind wandering into places it shouldn't.
Let’s be intentional. Let our minds not idly wander from one senseless thing to the next. Instead, let us constantly look for ways to improve our walks and grow closer to Him. Existing in a withdrawn reality leads to a half-hearted relationship with the Lord. This is not our calling. God’s grace has saved us and given us such expansive opportunity, not for fleeting moments of imaginary escape, but for living out our lives to glorify His greatness.
Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any part of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law, but under grace.” -Romans 6:12-14