If you’re wondering how I ever became such a great baseball player when I was younger I’ll tell you. (Maybe, “great” in not exactly the word. I played baseball and in me the proverb is fulfilled, “The older I get, the better I was).
Anyway, when you live in the country there’s not a lot of kids around to play with. To get up to Mickey Mantle’s level I had to practice often.
I spent hours throwing a ball into the air and catching it over and over as well as batting rocks.
To fine tune your hitting eye, though, there was nothing as good as bumblebees. I mean, you pitch a rock up and it’s not hard to judge its trajectory. I crushed lots of home runs like that. But bumblebees, they were a devious target.
Bumblebees came in two colors—blackheads and whiteheads. Rumor was that the blackheads stung and the whiteheads didn’t, so if you decided to swing and miss at a blackhead you’d better be ready to practice your base-running, too.
Batting bumblebees was fun, though. You’d see one flying near the house, like a helicopter hovering in place, and you walked quietly up, got into a hitter’s stance and zeroed in on him. These bugs were better than curveballs for practice because they moved fast and in different directions so you had to have tremendous bat speed and you frequently whiffed the air.
Often though, the insect seemed to get into the spirit of the game and came back for strike two, or even three. All the same, I sent a lot of them to the happy hunting grounds, and after that I had to find another target. You couldn’t re-use a conked bumblebee.
Buzzing In My Head
You know what? Sometimes I feel like I’m still swatting bumblebees in my head—not blackheads or whiteheads, but thoughts. And these intruders aren’t nearly as fun as the whiteheads and are much more dangerous than the blackheads.
But, I’ve got to smash them. Continual thoughts of anger lead to frustration and kills my joy. I’ve got to evict it. Jealousy curdles my heart and leaves me no peace. I’ve got eject it. A desire for revenge shoves every good intention out of me, so I’ve got to swing from the heels and nail it good. Doubt and fear ricochet off the walls of my brain and sap my strength.
Thoughts of sexuality outside of marriage, plans to cheat others, juicy bits of gossip—all these “blackheads” try to fill up the tiny space in my brain. And they will if I let them. They’ll have kids, grandkids and great-grandkids in there, too—if I let them.
Evidently we don’t want a zoo inside our head. So how do we swat these intruders?
First of all, we’re not always responsible for what buzzes through the great open spaces between our ears. We’re responsible for what we allow to stay in there. All of us often have thoughts that we don’t want, but what we do after the thought is critical. Do we feed it? “Yeah, she really acts like that. I remember … and you know that’s probably why she did that and … and …”
The old bumblebee grows to the size of a bird and pretty soon he’s a buzzard sized, circling around in our head, looking for dead stuff (thoughts) to feed on.
We’ve got to have God’s help to get our thoughts in order. It’s critical if we want an abundant life. His Spirit helps us to think in a new way but we’ve got to cooperate.
“I can’t control my thoughts,” we whine. God’s seems to think we can with the weapons He’s given to His people. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ …” (2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NKJV)
But, you’ve got to do more than capture and evict unwanted thoughts. A vacuum attracts something to fill it (though, I’ve seen people who seemed to have a talent for remaining empty-headed). You’ve got to fill your mind with good things so that there won’t be any place for trash.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise not things to curse.” (Phil. 4: 7,8, The Message)
“But, that’s not easy,” the whiner in us blubbers again.
It’s not easy to be miserable or captive to thoughts, fears and passions that we don’t want either, is it? The good news is that we get to choose and it is possible to feed on what’s good and whap what’s bad.
Get out your weapons. Kills those nasty insects. Fill your thoughts with health. Practice this daily, hourly even. Even minute-ly (if that exists). You’ll hit home runs that you never dreamed of if you do.
Things look pretty normal in our world, then suddenly we get a whiff of heaven when someone who really loves God passes through our life. We see a lightning flash of God’s glory in them, then suddenly things are “ordinary” again.
We want to say, “Did you see THAT!” Just don’t forget what you see or call ordinary, God calls extraordinary.
“For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].” (Romans 5:19, Amplified version)
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears; bears will kill you.