You’ve heard the phrase “I’ve lost my train of thought,” right? It happens to the best of us. We are walking through the grocery store and we totally forget what we were there to get. We are talking and mid-sentence… totally forget where we were. Our brains are absolutely amazing, yet sometimes they can lead us astray. What if we had complete and utter control to steer our thoughts the right way?
Imagine every thought you have like a runaway train. “I gotta run to Target and get…” “I wonder if I did okay in that presentation…” “What’s my to-do list for this weekend…” Each thought allows you to get on board and ride until another train comes along. These are seemingly harmless thoughts, right? Basic worries, basic organization. No harm, no foul. But think about the thoughts that actually do lead you somewhere, especially when you hit that second train stop.
Worrying about your job, your performance, or what’s going on can lead you onto a path towards anxiety in no time. One desperate thought leads to another until you realize you have no idea where you are and one small thought turned into anxiety. I hear metaphors like this a lot when it comes to the typical no-nos. “One look at another person and your thoughts lead you to an affair.” “One drink too many and you end up an alcoholic.” Is it seriously that simple? One bad thought and you are lead to sin?
Absolutely not. Thoughts in your mind play like the train platforms. You see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 zoom past you. It’s the ones you choose to stay at, the trains you choose to go on, that take you to the next level. The bad habits or sin didn’t happen because you simply had the thought, but because you chose to entertain the thought and act on the thought. In order to fight off the things that hold us back, we have to stop them at the source or quickly get on the return train home.
I know the train metaphor is a lot, but it’s so true. I can easily attest to the fact that 95% of the things that have held me back or caused me to sin were simply from me thinking that getting on that first thought was fine… but it quickly spiraled. When you have the first thought, you are at your most “sober” self. It’s easy to stop gossiping when you feel the first urge, rather than fighting it back after it has become a habit. Don’t let yourself go down a rabbit hole, but rather watch those first initial thoughts we have.
Jesus was even tempted by thoughts. He spent 40 days fasting and the enemy constantly tried to bribe Him with thoughts that may have flashed into His mind at one point or another (Jesus was human, after all). But the reason Jesus never sinned is because He didn’t move forward. He let those thoughts pass by in a flash and chose not to dwell. We can do the exact same thing. Focus this week on harnessing your thoughts and not letting them drift out of control. Don’t step foot on that train’s platform until you know exactly where it will lead you.