Are you living inside your head too much? Headspace is a place where we listen to an inner dialogue that circles around like a motorcycle in a round metal cage. Sadness, depression, isolation, and circumstances that grind us down can result in retreating inside to these cyclical thoughts. We stay in an unhealthy place of repetitious conversations with our inner voice. Worry and anxiety are often the trigger, and unfortunately the headspace that we dwell in is counterproductive to letting ourselves out and getting better.
One thing that being inside your head lacks is perspective. Because the inner dialogue is monotone and one-track, there is no counter point to your point. It becomes something akin to looking into a mirror of a mirror of a mirror. The reflection is duplicated over and over, but the image never changes.
I read something the other day that caught my attention. Twin boys were raised by an alcoholic father. One grew up to be an alcoholic. When asked why, he responded, “I watched my father…” The other never took a drink in his life. When asked why, he responded, “I watched my father…” Perspective determines your destination.
I live inside my head a lot. I spend a fair amount of time alone, and while conversations with the dog are entertaining, they are rarely enlightening. Writing helps me get outside of my skull to see what other voices are saying and gain an outside perspective. I do a fair amount of research when I write, so different definitions, commentaries, reading several scripture translations, etc. enlarge the conversation in my mind so that my views expand beyond my own.
This is why I recommend journaling to people I am counseling. Even if you keep it completely to yourself, writing down your thoughts gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you are experiencing in a different way. New thoughts will come as you read what you wrote, and the Holy Spirit gets a chance to enter into the dialogue.
Turning over our inner thoughts to the God who created the universe has the effect of bringing a far different perspective into our current situation than we can possibly manage for ourselves. The psalmists found this out. Everyone who sat down to write out their frustrations and tribulations arose with a newfound notion of how things were going to work out.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 23, but in order to gain a fresh perspective, we will use a translation you’ve probably never read:
Psalm 23 The Message (MSG) A David Psalm
23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.”
Oh, my. Let that rest in your cacophonous mind for just a moment. God’s beauty and love chase after you! I guess the real question is, why are you running?
If you are caught up in a swirl of self-talk, try this: write that thing down, and then write out vs. 1-3 next to it. Then write your next thought, followed by vs. 4 and 5. Finally, write a summary of everything your inner voice is saying, and answer that with,
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
Try it today, and just see if your perspective doesn’t change.
God brings the rainbow and the lightening bolt. Which will you focus on?
Photo by Wende Pritchard