Last week I took a jet ski tour around the island of Key West. I got to see the second biggest house on the island which used to be Pablo Escabar’s home/headquarters. And who has the largest? None other than Taylor Swift who has just completed construction. Apparently it has a lazy river running around the perimeter. Very similar to my own…
Anyway, as soon as the water laws that be allowed, I “floored” it and was cruising along nicely at 47 miles per hour. To be honest, I was slightly bitter when they informed me that another guy on our tour was riding on a newer jet ski that went all the way up to 51! I jokingly suggested that we should switch but in reality I was dead serious. He didn’t cooperate.
Next time I write I have some insights that have occurred to me since that day about riding life’s waves safely. But for now, I want to take you down a rabbit hole and enlighten you about bananas. Well, perhaps I should start from the beginning. Here is how I got to my point. If you already bored, go ahead and skip to the end and have a nice day. 🤗
So, as I was cruising around, basking in the sun, my mind was open and free, thinking many random thoughts. I started singing a song that I had listened to several times over on my trip (It took me 48 hours to travel from IL to FL on planes trains and automobiles…don’t even get me started). I forgot my old MP3 player that I usually listen to on vacations because it uses so little battery life and has some old/sentimental music on it. My only option was to listen to an album I had purchased while in the hospital with Leukemia; Amy Grant’s first album. She has a song about the beauty of God’s creation and that naturally rolled around in my head while exploring crystal clear waters on a Jet Ski.
This song reminded me that I was first introduced to this album in about 5th grade at a church camp in Oregon. Remembering this caused me to reflect on how I have listened to Christian music and read Christian books about growing closer to God since I was pretty young. That also made me a little weird; I am aware. I have hundreds of sermons, lessons, songs and verses that have been wired in my brain from sheer repetition. I used to go to sleep at night listening to Christian music. Whatever your opinions are about Christian music, the lyrics are positive reminders of God’s grace and love and goodness. Those messages imprinted on my soul. Wore grooves in my heart.
This triggered a memory of a book I read years ago. I can’t remember the title, but I do remember the main character went through some bad stuff and as a result, left a funeral on his bicycle (like one a kid would tool around his neighborhood on, not a fancy road bike for cross country travel) and took off across the country. He had limited resources and soon figured out that bananas were super cheap and fairly substantial and filling. Every day he would buy a bundle of bananas and eat them throughout the day. After following his story for a week or so, I could not stop craving bananas. I went on a “banana-bender” one might say, simply because he talked about it over and over and over.
And that memory caused me to reflect on a recent interview I did to promote my book but began as an interview about women who were developing “Tik Tok Tics”. These women had watched so many Tik Tok videos about Tics and Tourettes that they were literally developing Tics of their own. True story. Look it up.
My point to the listeners was that it matters what we repeatedly put in our minds. It will eventually come out somewhere. Chances are, those women, and probably men and women we all know, are unsuspectingly inviting outside sources to mold and sculpt their beliefs about God, themselves and others.
I think I am finally seeing the light at the end of this rabbit hole.
The conclusion I came to was that there have been times in my life where I have allowed outside sources to shape me in positive ways. Most of those have been fairly intentional: going to conferences, studying God’s word, reading positive messages from leaders and teachers, listening to mentors, seeking insight from wise people, saturating myself in scripture or music that feeds my soul and points me to God and encourages love, compassions and tenderness.
But so often I unintentionally allow certain types of media or toxic people/environments to infect my mind, heart and outlook on life. When I immerse myself in any outside sources that cause me to doubt the goodness of God or people or myself, I am training my mind to receive those as my default settings. Eventually they will come out of me. Eventually I will develop that “Tic” that needs to be eradicated.
These days, we hear a lot about how we can re-wire our brains, our neuropathways. I believe it. It’s possible and takes a lot of practice and focus and work. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we would prevent that hard-wiring in the first place?
We can start today.
Don’t wait until you start your steady diet of bananas to figure out that you need to redirect and be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. ( Romans 12:2 NIV)