Double Mindedness is a Deadly Defense Mechanism We Develop to Avoid Pain
It is easy to become double-minded without realizing it. How many times have you engaged in a familiar activity where you didn’t need to think? For some things, it doesn’t matter too much. Other things are very important. Like being present in the moment when your child or your husband or a dear friend is talking with you.
In the world we live in today, there are so many calls for our attention that we like to multitask. That is the key way to become double-minded because we are allowing our mind to become fragmented. As a result, we only give a part of our mind to the work we are doing or the person we are listening to.
Sadly, we often don’t even realize our mind has drifted off course; we have learned to appear like we are present, when in reality, we are drifting miles away in our mind.
For myself, not being present was a way to deal with deep pain. As a child, I learned to survive by switching off and going into my imagination where I could build an imaginary world where I felt safe and loved.
As an adult, when something confronted me that frightened me or was painful, I just switched off. Seeking comfort, I went traipsing down the avenues of my mind, using my imagination to numb my heart. But numbing my heart to my own pain, meant I was also numbing my heart to others. How can you engage with a tender heart when you don’t demonstrate compassion to yourself?
If we have developed the habit of allowing our mind to run away with us, it is because we trained our brain to form pathways of escape where we feel in control.
If I am in control, then the Lord is not LORD of my thoughts. Though the Lord will pursue us, He gives us freedom to choose. But our choices determine the consequences. Hiding from pain, I had become passive without realizing it.
Step 1. Discipline
To develop a single mind takes diligent retraining and involves DISCIPLINE.
While discipline may be hard work, it can also be incredibly wonderful and freeing.
I like to talk out loud. It’s a habit I developed when I was young and lived alone. So rather than just speak negative things to myself, I learned to talk to the Lord.
The first thing I did was ask Jesus for help. He encouraged me to talk to Him about everything.
Step 2. Be Intentional
Jesus had me begin to study the brain. The number one thing I learned regarding brain health was to have a healthy mind, I had to become intentional. That resonated with me. Much of my life just happened to me. I had become a spectator rather than a participant. Being a spectator leads to the victim mentality where one feels powerless and in their powerlessness will grumble and complain. That always leads to bitterness.
As the Lord began to teach me about my brain, I learned to stop and think. It was really exciting because I had been locked into my limbic or reptilian brain. But if I could place a name or label on what I was experiencing, that would activate my left frontal cortex, giving me the ability to discuss what was happening with the Lord.
The Holy Spirit uses truths of Scripture to speak to our heart. As He touched my heart, I was able to reason, which cut down on being ruled by my feelings.
The more I practiced being intentional and present in the moment, the more I used my frontal cortex and the less power feelings had to drive me into guilt or shame.
Step 3. Recognize Life is a Process
As I talked with the Lord, He showed me life is a process. And wherever there are processes to learn, we make mistakes. That is okay. We are not our mistakes! But we are able to learn important lessons from the mistakes we make.
As with any process, it takes time to develop new habits. The moment I realized I had gone down a rabbit trail, the Lord whispered “Stop. Talk to Me about it.”
Paul would encourage us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
As I learned to stop and be intentional, it brought me back into the present moment and the time I drifted in mindlessness began to diminish. Being in the present, helped me realize my mind drifted because I was afraid of making a mistake. Learning to be present in the moment was the critical first step to developing the mind of Christ.
Step 4. Become Grounded in Christ
I learned talking out loud with Jesus about anything and everything helped me stay grounded in Christ the Rock. Moving in relationship with Him helped prevent me going off on rabbit trails and being lost in my mind.
Grounded in Him, I was present in the moment, which helped reduce confusion. As the Lord taught me to keep my mind on one thing at a time, I gained clarity. Instead of having half a dozen things going at the same time with nothing ever completed, I began to complete tasks I had started.
Step 5. Reject The Accuser
The Heavenly Father cares about you. He wants you to develop an undivided mind and a single heart.
The enemy of your soul wants you to be double-minded so you miss out on the wonder of dwelling in the presence of the Lord and experiencing His peace and joy.
Part of my drifting was to escape my feelings of inferiority, of failure, of guilt and shame. But such feelings come from the Accuser, who wanted to trap me with lies so I couldn’t walk in my identity in Christ.
Paul taught followers of Jesus are to have the mind of Christ (1 Co 2:16). That sounds wonderful but it seemed so esoteric, so unreachable.
But it isn’t! You and I have the ability to choose whose voice we listen to. We can shut the door to the lies of the enemy.
At the same time, we can open the door to Jesus, letting His Truth shine in the darkness. Truth will always overcome the lie – if we speak it out and claim it by faith. Remember, it is by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony that we overcome the enemy.
There is NO condemnation to you if you are in Christ (Rom 8:1). Speak that precious truth over your life. Sing the song “There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” The Accuser was defeated at Calvary.
Today. Choose Life. Choose to begin being present in the moment. You have the mind of Christ. Let Jesus teach you.
Talk to Jesus about everything. Instead of running away from your pain and difficult memories or stuffing them deep inside – move forward with Jesus. Let Him take your pain and give you Himself.
On Calvary, Jesus conquered everything that will ever confront you. Let Him touch your mind with His resurrection power; allow Him to turn the darkness into light and the double-mindedness into a single mind where He reigns as LORD.
As a former Nurse, Missionary, Rape Victim Advocate, and Mentor, Barbara has experienced and seen the effects of trauma and violence that limits one’s freedom to move forward in victory.
Her passion is to encourage others to hope by learning to retrain the brain to see life in a fresh way. If you’re ready to find spiritual transformation, she can help.