I came across this passage in “Here and Now” by Henri Nouwen (yes, I am temporarily addicted to Nouwen).
“Whether we ask for it or not… we simply cannot go far without being engulfed by words and images forcibly intruding themselves into our minds. But do we really want our mind to become the garbage can of the world? Do we want our mind to be filled with things that confuse us, excite us, depress us, arouse us, repulse us or attract us whether we think it is good for us or not?
That leaves me considering what power I have over those things. Certainly I cannot avoid the world. But I do have a certain amount of control over my world. All my electronic devices have off as well as on buttons. (Some of you are saying to yourself “I never knew that.”)
I have noticed that the unrestrained input of news on a daily basis tends to make me depressed and cynical. It is also quite addictive. I often find myself punching buttons on the car radio out of habit, even when it is turned off! When I reach this stage I know that it is time for a fast from news media and talk radio, etc.
How about the other media in our lives: movies, television, books, music, etc? Do we choose wisely or do we feed ourselves things that are of questionable worth – or that compromises our values? Do we hide some of those things from a spouse or friends? Do we have the willpower to discontinue reading or viewing something when we find it objectionable? Have you ever walked out on a movie for that reason?
Do you intentionally feed your mind good things? I try to always have at least a couple of really good books nearby. I don’t want to make it hard on myself to make positive choices. I am always tempted to snack on junk food for the mind.
Do you have a belief that everything is worth knowing? Or are you afraid off missing out on something important? Does this lead you to collect massive amounts of mind clutter? Once something is stored, it may become difficult or even impossible to discard. Think of violent or pornographic images both visual and written.
Perhaps we need to hit a reset button on some of our acquired habits and rethink what we want to allow into our head and heart.
Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.