Thursday, February 23, 2012

Norton Anti-Virus for the Soul

Yesterday morning as the first day of Lent began, I remembered the plan I had made the night before: Since I hadn't yet decided what to give up for Lent, I would then focus on ridding my life of the first sin I did the next day. I figured the first sin of the day is probably something habitual, so it would be a fine choice.

Naturally I wasn't even out of bed yet before my first thought went astray. It was harshness, a kind of self-directed bitterness. Sure, I've been in the middle of yet one more ridiculous busy season at work. But it was getting to me. The thoughts inside my own head were turning nasty. I told myself, "It's no use job-hunting: even if I succeeded in finding something else in this economy, the only thing that would change would be the name of the person whose unreasonable demands I'd have to satisfy." (Content warning, obviously. Not healthy thoughts.) There were a dozen more trains of thought, regularly occurring, that were just as nasty if not worse. "It's just a way of venting" I told myself. But it was a way that made the frustration worse by adding hopelessness and resentment to everything else going on.
"Get rid of all bitterness, anger, rage ... malice ..." (Eph 4:31)

"The things that come out of the mouth come forth from the heart and defile a person." (Matt 15:18)

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:15)

And so Lent is starting out like running an anti-virus on my mind. I've identified several repeated trains of thought that are now stopped in their tracks before they really get going. I suppose those problems are "isolated" but not yet "removed". And so Lent becomes my idle-time scan, to get rid of some of the harmful things in my mind.

I'm not proud of the problems, but I'll say this: I've noticed an improvement already in the atmosphere inside my mind.


Martin LaBar said...

Anti-virus for the soul? Splendid thought!

Weekend Fisher said...

The part that bothers me is: If I look at it that way, how many viruses sneak in from time to time, or activate under the right circumstances? Yck.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF