Come in out of the wild

Published 3:38 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

“Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.” (Psalm 4:4)

I used to hate mornings. For some people, breaking up is hard to do — but for me, waking up is hard to do.

It still is difficult to get up, but lately I’ve come across a little technique that has helped me tremendously in my spiritual life.

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It’s called animal training, but it’s not what you think. True, I do feed my dog in the morning, but I’m talking about something completely different. I actually got the idea from C.S. Lewis:

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

Get it? The idea here is to contemplate your first thoughts when you are in that semi-conscious place. All those wild ‘animals’ are probably things that God wants you to deal with in the strength of His might. If you don’t stop them through the power of prayer, they will stampede through your day like a crash of rhinos.

Here is a list of animal training questions/answers to help you tame your tumultuous thoughts:
1. Am I troubled and/or worried about something?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

2. Is there some responsibility you have been blowing off that is bothering you?
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

3. Is there a goal you’ve been planning on starting but keep putting off?
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

4. Is there an unhealthy relationship you are in and you know you need to get out?
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14)

5. Is there a destructive habit or sin that you feel convicted about?
“Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)

6. Is there someone you need to forgive?
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Remember that if God takes your first thoughts in the morning, He’ll most likely take first place the rest of your day. So animal train your slumberous speculations and subdue them with the Spirit of God — your life will never be the same.