Lies that I believe concerning my reality and disturbing images in my mind clutter my soul on a regular basis. However, I live in so much more freedom because I learned how to take thoughts captive through imaginative prayer. I have learned to declutter my soul with Jesus. I first read about this particular prayer exercise in Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free. I had recently fasted for three days because my relationship with my boyfriend was going nowhere. I was a single mom with four girls, and I met a man that I thought was perfect. We prayed together, and we never fought. He was somewhat unemotional, which after fourteen years with a volatile husband looked a lot like safety to me. The day I ended my fast, he broke up with me. Leaving my abusive husband was such a relief that I never really experienced a broken heart over it. But when my boyfriend checked out of my life, I checked into the Heartbreak Hotel for what seemed like an indefinite stay.
Beth Moore’s suggestion seemed to me to be very simple, but in the end it was a quite powerful experience. Following her instructions, I imagined my mind as a room. The walls were white, but black letters stood out like graffiti.
The big, black, crudely painted letters read, “I have missed God’s will for my life”.
I grieved this relationship so deeply because I believed that God had called us into relationship and now it was over. I blew it. My chance for love was over. So I asked Jesus to come into that room, having no idea what He would do. He looked at the words, and then He erased them. The words just disappeared. No more visual clutter crowded my imagination. My body relaxed deeply for the first time in months. I was still sad, but I was no longer afraid that all my chances were gone. And indeed God knew far better than I the wonderful husband I was to marry a year later.
I use this exercise for images as well. My memory holds on to images, and so I am very careful about what I let myself watch. But no one has complete control over what the day holds, and so one day, I found myself in the library of the Baptist university at which I taught English. I had a Hotmail account but I accidentally key in hot male instead. Immediately an extremely pornographic image of a young man appears on the screen. When I try to x out of the browser, the image repeated itself. I was terrified of someone seeing me at the computer with this image so I unplugged the whole thing and left. But the image really haunted me, though not in a sexual way. I felt assaulted and dirty. Talk about unwanted clutter; I tried everything to get the man out of my head. I prayed for him. I asked the Lord to cleanse my mind. I diverted my thoughts as best I could, but sometimes, though not particularly often, the image would crop up and there I was again, feeling slimed.
It finally occurred to me to use this method. So I dutifully went into the room that was my mind. All across the walls was this image. I invited Jesus to come in. And He did, in his gentle, sometime humorous way. He was dressed like a painter. He took out this big roller brush and after a few minutes, the walls of my mind are clean and white, ready for beautiful, noble, uplifting thoughts. Jesus still brings out his paintbrush for me whenever something threatens to haunt me, like an animal run over by the side of the road, or a violent video on the news.
I remember the event; I remember what it looks like. I simply no longer am haunted by it.
What images paint the walls of your mind? What lies do you believe about yourself? Take these thoughts captive by taking some time to sit in the room of your mind. Invite Jesus in and surrender control of these thoughts and images to Him. He is so faithful to tear down these strongholds that attempt to assert themselves in your soul. Begin the decluttering process today with the Lover of your soul.