There comes moments in all of our lives when we feel a need to get away and rest. We may call it a time to chill out or to recharge ourselves. It comes when we feel tired from our work, perhaps stressed from the demands of the everyday workplace. It may be that even family needs and responsibilities are heavy to bear. We tell ourselves we need to find a place to relax in mind and body.
In our place of rest we imagine the worries of this world fading away even if it will be for just a few days. We desire to slip away to a place where we may nurse an emotional wound and revive an exhausted body. Hope for such relief is strong but often shattered too soon.
You see, it’s in places of solitude that something either wonderful or dreadful takes place. True rest and rejuvenation depends on who wins the battle of the mind. In our mind, battles between darkness and light take place. The wars in this zone of thought either revitalizes or demoralizes. It is a war not wanted but it is there nonetheless seeking to destroy all hope for any rest.
We all experience the effects of such battles. There we are longing for rest, so we get away to a quiet place. Then it begins. Our yearning for a sea of tranquility turns into storms of exhausting thoughts. Voices of darkness begin its invasion, drowning hope with a wash of reminders of arguments had, desire for revenge; lust and greed surface, the pain of loss and rejection suffocate. We are sinking. We are losing the battle.
Our spontaneous reaction to this unwelcome onslaught? Fight or flight. Too often we run for our lives, getting as far away from damaging thoughts as we can. We get busy. We do something fun. We watch a favorite film. We do whatever it takes for the dark and loathsome thoughts to go away; and they do, but only for a time. When we once again seek solitude, the darkness swiftly returns to haunt us yet again. Exhaustion grows. Inside we cry out for rest but it refuses to come. We are caught in a cycle, believing that if we get away once more, this time rest will come, but once again, hopes are shattered and exhaustion continues to weigh us down. You see, we will never know the full benefit of physical rest until we learn the key to mind rest.
In the battle for our minds, flight is never the best answer. We must fight but not with weapons of this world; with supernatural weapons of what is unseen. We are reminded of this in II Corinthians 10:3-4, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” The weapons that God makes available to us are the only source of victory over the accusations and destructive thoughts of the prince of darkness. Philippians 4:8-9 gives us the key to rest: “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… Then the God of peace will be with you.”
When we choose to stand, amidst all the pain of dark thoughts, something extraordinary takes place: the accusing and dark voices begins to recede, losing strength, not able to shout so loudly. Instead, as we make the choice to stand against the attack by focusing on truth, we begin to be able to hear the Light speak louder than the voices of darkness. When the Light of God’s truth speaks, a sense of sweet peace replaces the fear, gentleness comes to soothe grief and loss, and joy and hope lifts our faces from the sea of despair where we can breathe in goodness, kindness, and the greatest which is love.
Darkness will never cease attempts to take over our minds but if we choose to stand, to allow God’s truth to penetrate the wall of doom, then truth itself will shatter all that is not of God. Remember — Light always diminishes the darkness.