—A Maria Letter! Maria No.18 DO 1915 1/85—Capture Your Thoughts!—Don't Look Back or Be Double-Minded!
1. (ONE OF OUR LEADERS EXPLAINED TO MARIA THAT HE'S HAD A PROBLEM WITH DAYDREAMING ALL HIS LIFE. He said that even in school he let his mind wander & therefore he'd often completely miss what the teacher was saying. It's been a real problem for him here because he'd let his mind wander back to his wives & children & loved ones‚ which would then cause him to miss them. It was a real battle for him, so Maria shared the following lesson.)
2. I THINK EVERYBODY HAS PROBLEMS WITH DAYDREAMING TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. I can be sitting in class & something Dad will say will trigger a thought in my mind, or I'll be thinking, "Let's see, what time is it, in thirty minutes so-&-so is supposed to make a phone call." Everybody does that to a certain extent, but if it's a real problem for you then maybe you should have desperate prayer about it to help you "Bring every thought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ." (2Cor.10:5) It's like you have to keep your thoughts under control by force, you have to capture them, you have to make a forceful effort to hold them in captivity! It takes work to stop your mind from wandering & to keep your thoughts where they should be, you really have to fight! I think you need to fight it & to make it a habit to not think of those things‚ or if you start thinking of them, to stop immediately just as you have let it become a habit to think of these things. It's a fight because you have to overcome a lifelong habit!
3. I JUST READ A REPORT ABOUT ONE OF OUR ARTISTS WHO DOES THE SAME THING, HE WAS DAYDREAMING A LOT WHILE HE WAS WORKING. He was daydreaming a lot about one of the girls in his Home that he was infatuated with, & because of his daydreaming he wasn't getting his work done. He was not only having a few battles about her liking someone else, he was also constantly daydreaming about her & how wonderful she is & how much he enjoys being with her. My counsel was that the leadership should talk to him & tell him he was going to have to stop daydreaming because it was slowing down his work & he wasn't getting as much done as he was before, which shows that it was bearing bad fruit! I said, you've got to just tell him to stop thinking about her, & whenever he starts thinking about her, he's just got to stop it & put her out of his mind, because he's got to do his work!
4. I SUPPOSE THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE A TENDENCY TO DAYDREAM SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'RE IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE. When I was in college dating Wayne Bellis, the boy I told you about before, I fell in love with him. When we weren't seeing each other anymore, I was working in this lawyer's office, & I didn't have a lot to do then because sometimes work was pretty slack & I would find myself thinking about him constantly. My mind would drift & I'd be daydreaming about the nice things we'd done together, & I found myself doing it a lot! It was nice to do it & I enjoyed thinking those nice thoughts & about those nice situations! It's enjoyable to go into the past & to think about the nice things you did together & the nice things you could have done if the situation had been different, & you sort of make up little imaginary stories. It's fun, you enjoy it, & it's not something you want to stop. In fact, as you admitted, you didn't even realise before that it was a problem.
5. BUT I WAS DOING IT AN AWFUL LOT & FINALLY THE LORD STARTED TO SHOW ME THAT I COULD EASILY BEGIN TO LIVE IN A DAYDREAM, IN A WORLD OF DREAMS‚ IF I DIDN'T STOP IT! I could just go on & on & on & never stop & I could forget about my work & my responsibilities. Well, I didn't have an awful lot to do at the time, I wasn't under pressure & I didn't have deadlines, so the atmosphere was conducive to daydreaming. But after awhile the Lord started reminding me that it wasn't a very safe thing to do because you could just start living in that dream world, & that the more you are in it & like it, the more you can continue in it. He showed me that every time I thought about Wayne I just had to put him out of my mind.—And that wasn't easy, because I liked to think those thoughts & dream those dreams because it made me happy.
6. I'M SURE IT'S THE ENEMY THAT KEEPS BRINGING THOSE THINGS TO YOUR MIND TO DISTRACT YOU & TO GET YOU AWAY FROM WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. It's not only distracting to your work‚ but it's also not even good for you to be thinking those things. It's remembering the past & we're supposed to forget the things that are behind! That's a Scripture for you! You're not only to bring every thought into captivity, but you're also supposed to forget those things which are behind! (Phil.3:13)
7. EVERY TIME WAYNE CAME TO MIND I HAD TO DELIBERATELY TRY TO PUT HIM OUT OF MY MIND & I HAD TO DO IT HUNDREDS OF TIMES A DAY until it started to get easier & I thought of him less, & finally I stopped thinking about him completely.—But it took a long time! I did that with another boy when I was in high school. I really liked this boy for about six years and I really had a crush on him. It was a little unusual for me to be so infatuated for such a long time because I never had much personal contact with him even though we went to the same church. For quite a few years I was always thinking about him.
8. SO I GUESS YOU WOULD SAY I WAS QUITE A DAYDREAMER TOO because I was always thinking about him & imagining sweet wonderful things. I was living in a dream world. I see now though that it's terribly distracting to let your mind wander like that. When you're working, your mind is supposed to be on your work, but daydreaming gets your mind off what it's supposed to be on‚ & it causes you to look into the past, which is against the Lord's admonition to forget the past! It seems that those whose major job is paperwork or desk work have more opportunity to daydream because they are sitting there all day, whereas those whose job is more active & requires them to work with their hands don't have the time or opportunity to daydream since it's a necessity to focus their concentration on whatever they're doing, like taking care of children or cooking meals.
9. WE CAN'T PROPERLY RUN THE RACE & FIGHT THE WAR & PRESS ON TO THINGS AHEAD WHILE WE ARE LOOKING TO THE PAST, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T DIVIDE YOUR CONCENTRATION LIKE THAT, YOU REALLY CAN'T DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE! Oh, people say they can, they say they can listen to music while they work‚ but that's not true, because, if you notice, while you're reading or concentrating on your work you block the music out! Of course, you can stop your reading & then you can concentrate on what the music is saying, but you can't really concentrate on two things at the same time. You can read & hear the music but you can't concentrate on what it's saying or think about the music while you are thinking about your work. So as far as concentrating on two things at once, you can't. Even the dictionary definition of "concentrate" says it means to direct your thoughts or efforts toward one object. You can be conscious of more than one thing at a time, but that's not actually concentrating on them‚ you can only concentrate on one thing at a time!
10. IF YOU'RE GOING TO CONCENTRATE ON THE LESSONS YOU'RE LEARNING & WHAT THE LORD WANTS FOR YOU TODAY, THEN YOU CAN'T BE CONSTANTLY CONCENTRATING ON THE PAST. It's a real battle to overcome this daydreaming because it's a lifelong habit you've let yourself do all your life & now it's a pretty strong habit. I had to fight to make myself stop thinking about Wayne! It was just a small incident in my life, but it's a good example.
11. IT'S LIKE PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR HUSBAND OR THEIR WIFE, A LOT OF THEM JUST LIVE FOREVER IN THE PAST AFTER THAT & THEY JUST REFUSE TO BE COMFORTED. In a way it's a comfort to them to live in the past & to relive all the wonderful things they went through. Sorrowing for them in a way is a comfort because it feels good, it brings back their mate, it brings back those good times, so they refuse to accept reality & they just live in their world of the past. I guess it's easier for them, but it doesn't help anybody else because they're not able to go on to new horizons, they just continue to live on in the past. Well, if they don't have to do anything else & they don't have to preach the Gospel & they don't have kids to raise, then maybe the Lord is merciful to them by letting them relive their memories. If they don't have anything else worthwhile to do, then living in the past is probably happiness for them, it makes them much happier than living alone and not having anybody or anything to live for. If they're old and that's all they have to live for, then maybe living in the past is God's mercy on them‚ it's a comfort because at least they have their memories. Even though their lost one isn't there in the physical, at least they are there in their memories in the spirit and maybe that's the only way they can survive.
12. BUT FOR US WHO HAVE A BATTLE TO FIGHT & A WAR TO WIN, WE CAN'T BE CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT THE PAST & THE DAYS OF OLD & HOW GREAT EVERYTHING USED TO BE‚ BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE TIME! It was very hard for me to break my daydreaming because it had become a habit of constantly thinking of him. I had to fight it with a lot of will power. I was saved & I prayed for the Lord to help me, but it took a lot of will power to constantly say no to those thoughts because I liked to think about him and I wanted to think about him, but I had to stop! I'm not a very "spiritual" type of person & I'm real stable emotionally, I'm very down-to-Earth and I don't really have ups and downs and highs and lows too much, but it was even difficult for me to break that. I had to work at it with sheer will power! Every time I thought about him I had to say no, I had to refuse that thought and refuse to think about him, even though I would have rather sat there and thought about him than to think about my work and those boring things that I wasn't too interested in any–way.
13. BUT I KNEW THAT IT WAS DANGEROUS! I didn't know exactly why, but the Lord just showed me that it was dangerous to daydream, to constantly think about nothing else but him. I think you could really get into it to the point that it would be very difficult to stop. You've got to pray of course & ask the Lord to help, but you have to do a lot of it by just refusing to accept those thoughts, or when it comes & you realise it, you must immediately put it out of your mind & fight it! It's a bad habit, & it can get a big hold on you after awhile, so you've just got to break it!
14. EVERYBODY DAYDREAMS TO SOME EXTENT, BUT IF YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM WITH IT, THEN YOU NEED TO FIGHT AGAINST IT! You can stop it, with the Lord's help, & you can refuse to think those thoughts! We need to continue our work & that is the most important reason we can't daydream all the time, we have work & we have deadlines & we have to get these things done! We all occasionally daydream, but it's easier for some of us not to do it because we haven't let it become a constant habit. But when you have a weakness & you entertain it for so long, it can become a habit. Whether it's daydreaming or thinking negative thoughts or nagging your husband or your wife or whatever it is, it gets to be a habit!
15. ARGUING CAN BECOME A HABIT TOO! Anything you just keep doing, whether it's good or it's bad becomes a habit‚ you get into that pattern & you do it so long that you become used to doing it & it's very easy to do. It's like praising the Lord, if you do it constantly it becomes a habit, so of course some habits are very good‚ but I think this constant daydreaming is definitely a bad one.
16. LIKE I SAID‚ EVERYBODY DAYDREAMS SOMETIMES IN THEIR LIFE & EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY NOT HAVE MADE IT A LIFELONG HABIT, there may be certain times when they are drawn much more to the past. Perhaps you just left your loved ones & you miss them & are concerned about them, which of course is common & natural. But like Dad said, when he was on the road for Fred he never kept pictures of Mother Eve & the children, because he felt he had a job to do & he wanted to be single-minded & he didn't want to be constantly reminded of what he was forsaking. He didn't want to let his mind wander back to his family & his children‚ so he tried to keep his mind on the Lord's Work without distraction & he trusted the Lord for the care of his family. Of course, you want to pray for your loved ones sometimes, but if praying for them draws you into thinking about them & missing them, then maybe you should ask other people to pray for them. Of course, it's normal to have that temptation to think about them all the time, but you have to put them out of your mind if you're going to keep your mind on the job the Lord has for you.
17. BECAUSE YOU'VE DAYDREAMED SO MUCH ALL OF YOUR LIFE IT REINFORCES THIS NORMAL SITUATION & YOU DO IT EVEN MORE THAN OTHERS NORMALLY WOULD. It's easier for you to daydream & it's more difficult for you not to‚ because you're used to just letting your mind go whenever a thought comes in. You haven't disciplined your mind! Like you said, all your life you just let your mind go when you wanted to daydream instead of keeping it on the track that it was supposed to be on at the moment. You could have kept it on the right track, it's not like you couldn't have, but instead you let yourself go a long ways off instead of bringing it back right away.
18. I DO THAT IN CLASS SOMETIMES, EVEN AS INTERESTING AS DAD'S CLASSES ARE, he'll mention something about the clock & then I'll think,"Oh my, we've got to call after class"or we've got to do this or that & I have to forcefully bring myself back. No matter how many wonderful Words of the Lord Dad is saying, you still get tempted with all kinds of other sidetracks, you start to think that you're uncomfortable or you're hungry or tired or whatever. That's a very normal temptation or a trial‚ but you have to bring yourself back! Of course it's harder for anyone to focus their concentration on the matter at hand if you're tired or if you're concerned about some other situation.
19. MY MIND WANDERS TOO & I SUPPOSE I'M QUITE STRONG COMPARED TO SOME PEOPLE. I'm pretty stable emotionally & mentally & I'm not a real "spiritual" or creative or imaginative person, I'm pretty down-to–Earth & pretty practical, so I should be able to control or discipline my thoughts pretty easily‚ but even I have problems with that, & I think everybody does! I understand that it must be a pretty big problem because if we even do it a little bit & have a difficult time overcoming it, how much more of a problem it can be if you've made a habit of it all your life & you've let it go on, not realising that it wasn't good & thinking it was all right! It's probably something that has a pretty big hold on you!
20. IT'S WISE TO PRAY FOR A REAL DELIVERANCE FROM THESE PROBLEMS. They can be very spiritual. Hope had to get delivered of the spiritual power that was prompting her negative thinking‚ but even then it was still a habit & she really had to fight it, but now she has some personal control over it. When she wasn't delivered, that negative spirit had pretty much control, but after she was delivered it was within her power to resist it! It took awhile‚ she wasn't delivered of the whole thing immediately‚ she was delivered of the spirit, but she still had the problem, the habit, & so it kept coming back & she had to do what she could do herself to get rid of it! She had to fight it!
21. JUST LIKE WITH MY JEALOUSY, I SAID HOW THE LORD FINALLY DELIVERED ME, nobody did a big exorcism, but the Lord finally somehow delivered me of that big spiritual power that was binding me. I still have problems with jealousy occasionally, but now it's within my power to refuse to have the problem and say, "I rebuke you, Satan, get out of here and I'm not going to have this problem", if I want to. It's a matter of whether you want to or not!
22. LIKE I SAID BEFORE‚ PEOPLE LOVE TO DAYDREAM, IT'S REALLY NICE & ENJOYABLE. When somebody's husband or wife dies, if they've had a good life together, they want to think about them‚ they want to relive the wonderful times, but the Lord says "forget the past". We can't do both, we can't effectively live in the past & live in the present at the same time! If you try, then you're double-minded! "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways", you're thinking about two different things, one is the past & the other is the present or the future.—Or even something or somebody else in the present that distracts you from your job. You can't really concentrate on the work at hand if you're going to be constantly going back & forth between them both.
23. I THINK YOU NEED TO HAVE A REAL DELIVERANCE FROM IT & THEN YOU'LL HAVE TO WORK TO BREAK THE HABIT! It's like the prayer delivers you from the spiritual hold it has on you, so that then you can break the habit if you want to! You have to work at it & it's hard & you don't always win, but you can if you want to & the Lord will help you! You're really going to have to fight it because you like to daydream & that's an extra pull on you. Not only are you used to it & it's a habit, which is why it comes so easily‚ but it's a habit that's comforting & you like it. So you've got two things to fight against—not only the habit, but the fact that you like it.
24. IT'S LIKE PEOPLE WHO SMOKE, IT'S A HABIT, they almost do it automatically, but on top of it just being an automatic thing, they like to smoke, it sort of stills their nervousness & gives them something to do with their hands, it imparts a sense of peacefulness to them‚ so they like it. So you've really got to fight against both things, the fact that you like to daydream & that it has now become an automatic thing. If it was a habit that was obviously dangerous & could actually hurt you while you were doing it, you would probably be much more willing to break it, but most habits do something nice for you, or you think they do, & they make you feel good, so it's something that you've got to fight against & we've got to ask the Lord to help!
25. THE LORD IS THE ONE WHO'LL DELIVER YOU‚ BUT THEN HE LEAVES A LOT UP TO YOU TO BREAK THE HABIT. You have to keep working at it and it takes time, but you're sort of reaping what you've sowed! You took a long time to form the habit and let it grow over a long period of time and now the Lord sort of expects you to work at it to get rid of it, and it's important that you do!
26. WE'VE NEVER TALKED MUCH ABOUT DAYDREAMING BUT I SUPPOSE IT'S A COMMON THING FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE TO DAYDREAM A LOT & TO LET THEIR MIND WANDER. (Peter: Do you think that's what it means in the Bible about "I hate vain thoughts but Thy Law do I love"?) Yes, vain thoughts are those without real value or worth, & if they have no good value then they must be bad & bear bad fruit. That's a good verse because that shows a solution for it‚ Thy Law, the Word! Memorisation is a real help because it's letting the Light in so that the darkness will flee!
27. IT'S A FIGHT TO OVERCOME YOUR WANDERING THOUGHTS! Like the Bible says, "Bringing every thought into the captivity of Christ." You have to capture those thoughts & hold them in submission, & when you've let them wander for all your life it can be a real fight!—But it's worth it!—And if you ask the Lord for deliverance & for help, He'll help you! He never fails!—Amen? God bless you & help you to kick the habit‚ in Jesus' name‚ amen!