“Useless thoughts spoil all. Mischief begins here.” Brother Lawrence.
Brother Lawrence was a 17th century monk who followed a path that allowed him to continually walk with God. He shared his wisdom in four conversations and fifteen letters under the title The Practice of the Presence of God. Robin Khoury recently took the writings of Brother Lawrence and wrote a Christian children’s book called The Grumpy Monk.
There are many treasures in his discourse but the first that caught my eye was his statement that “useless thoughts spoil all. Mischief begins here.” On my personal journey with God I have had to practice ‘not mulling’ over things. When a situation would disturb me I could spend great amounts of time with useless thoughts mulling over unlikely scenarios.
God brought this unfortunate practice to my attention so I could discontinue it. Brother Lawrence is right; ‘mulling time’ is wasted time and where it is allowed mischief can begin. Rarely did the conversations I spent so much time practicing come to pass, more often, the situation changed and all I had thought to say no longer applied. Rarely were my thoughts kind and loving but instead negative and angry.
Brother Lawrence’s method of change worked for him worked for me and will work for you. “Reject useless thoughts quickly and return to our communion with God.” Keeping God present with us is a discipline that takes a diligence of mind and spirit. When useless thoughts invade call God in. I have spent afternoons throwing useless thoughts aside and calling on God, over and over, until the practice of calling on God is my habit.
I would like to tell you that once you are quick to identify ‘useless thoughts’ the practice of mulling them over is conquered but like all habits this will take continuous practice. Your achievement is that mulling time becomes less and less and you find yourself in the presence of God more and more.
Romans 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. NIV