December 15, 2011

Influences and Output

Romans 12:2
And be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately.  
Mainly input and outcome.
What you put into something, anything, is directly proportional to what you get out of it. Almost.

Like what?

Like life, love, family name it.
What drives your day?  How do you plan for the immediate future or for times down the road?  We are a product of what we take into our mind, body and soul.  What comes out in our lives has a lot to do with what is put in.  Of course food and drink reflects on our appearance and health, but also books, movies, television- the people we spend time with - many things we can control but some things we can' abuse, tragedy, illness and death.  They all have a great deal of influence on the person we become.

Here's an example of something I've been thinking about.
A basically well behaved, well liked14 year old boy was having violent dreams that robbed him of sleep and left him feeling drained and uneasy all day.  His school work began to slip.  He was listless and spacey.  He was too tired to hang out with his friends.  He began to lose weight.  He was irritable and snapped at his family and friends.  All very unlike this normally friendly, fun to be around kid who had a loving family and good grades.

The scary part is that all this happened in the course of 3 weeks!

His parents were naturally worried and met with his teachers to see if there was anything unusual happening at school.  No one noticed anything except his strange behavior.  His parents knew most of his friends and welcomed them into their home.  They talked with their son but he couldn't put his finger on any negative changes in his life.
As most parents may do, they questioned the use of drugs although he'd always been against their use and encouraged kids at school who struggled with drug and alcohol abuse to stop before the "fun" became a habit.  There was no indication that he was involved with either drugs or alcohol.
He attended church regularly and was active in youth group until the last 2 weeks.  He said he didn't feel like going when, in the past, he couldn't wait for Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.

The nightmares and violent dreams continued.

One of his mom's friends suggested that they pray over his room since that was where they'd first noticed a problem.  After checking his room for possible indications of the cause and finding nothing, they prayed for their son and whatever was influencing him.  Later, his mom was putting away some laundry and found a new video game in his dresser, still in the wrapper. She'd never seen it before.  The cover showed mystical creatures, magical, violent confrontations with gore, and scantily clad women.  It made his mom uncomfortable just looking at it.  In the past, they had allowed games that contained seemingly harmless magic or fantasy but had ruled out games like this one.  When she asked her son about it, he told her that his friend had the game and loved it.  He'd given a copy of it to the boy about 3 weeks ago so they could play together.  But his friend had been busy with sports so he'd put it in his drawer and forgotten all about it.  
Remember that it was still in the shrink wrap?  He'd never played it and said that he hadn't played it at his friend's house either.  His mom removed the game from the house.

That night, the boy slept soundly.  His appetite returned and his grades improved.  As did his disposition and relationships.  He was back to his old self.

So what's going on here?

Imagine the influence things can have over us and we don't even realize it.

What are you filling your mind with?  Are the movies/TV shows you are watching or the music you listen to desensitizing you to the ways of the world?  What about videos games and books?  How about friends?  Remember that we are to hate the sin but love the sinner.  We have to be able to draw that line in the sand and say, "NO!"

I feel like we are fairly strict about what we allow our family to watch and listen to.  We've said, "NO!" to movies rated "R" for whatever reason.  Certainly by the standards of what's in the theaters and on television, we're pretty conservative.  I don't say this to pat myself on the back, merely as a frame of reference.  Are our shelves filled with all Christian movies and music?  NO!  Are there some that probably shouldn't be there?  yes.  Oldies from our teenage years are still some of our favorites.

What kinds of things are you allowing into you life?  How are they affecting you or the folks around you?
  Are you missing out on life because you're filling your life, your mind, your heart and home with things that steal your joy and pull you down?

So, yeah...I've been thinking about this a lot.  

Pondering My Meanderings,

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