I’m the kind of girl that enjoys all kinds of music…Christian, country, 80s rock, bluegrass, southern gospel…I could go on and on with that list. I also enjoy a good love story or mystery novel and some reality TV series. I don’t play video games, but I do relax with some Candy Crush now and then. As for social media, Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms I scroll through the most. None of the things I’ve listed, in and of themselves, is complete garbage. I can find fun, clean songs in any of the genres of music or books. Even FB has its good side since it allows me to keep up with family and friends and be a part of like-minded groups. However, I’ve found that any of those things can quickly become a gateway to allow way too much garbage into my life.
As our kids were growing up, they often heard from me…
GARBAGE IN…GARBAGE OUT!
They probably got tired of hearing it during some of the challenging middle and high school years. It was something I wanted to echo in their hearts and minds as they grew up and moved toward independence. I longed for them to understand that what we feed our minds ultimately impacts our words and actions. Even now that they are all grown with their own families, it’s not unusual for me to remind them of this fact.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 4 the kinds of things we should dwell on.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
But what if we dwell on things that aren’t pure? Aren’t of good repute? Aren’t worthy of praise? Well, as humans, our minds tend to dwell on something. So, if we aren’t intentionally working to dwell on the things that feed our souls good soul-food, then our brains are likely to dwell on the stuff that pours in negativity, crudeness, worry, and all other sorts of junky soul-food.
This is a lesson that is so vital for our kids to learn! When they are constantly fed violence, sex, drugs, alcohol messages in the forms of music, TV, movies, video games, and social media, eventually it will be those types of things that pour from their hearts, their mouths, their lives. I’ve witnessed first-hand the effects of “mature” video games on growing fifth-graders minds. Kids are learning things that they don’t need to know at 10 years old from YouTube and video games. I’ve had 10 year old students obsessed with pornography, nine year olds thinking suicide is glamorous, and students that fantasize about hurting others.
My own family faced battles of too much garbage filling up our minds. And I was the mom that DID check devices and accounts. The garbage still got through, but thankfully we were able to deal with it openly! Let me tell you, it’s not fun! It’s life-altering. It’s bring you to your knees heart-shattering.
Garbage is garbage no matter your age, though. So while our kids need to hear and learn this life lesson, as adults, we need to remind ourselves of it, too. God tells us “… For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34b) Whatever is filling your heart and mind will come out in your thoughts, words, and eventually actions.
When I taught, I spent my commute (whether 30 minutes or 10 minutes) listening to either Christian music or teaching. You would often hear up-beat praise and worship music in my classroom while I prepared for the day. I valued the positive input to help me be a positive teacher, colleague, friend. Since retiring last year, I rarely drive anywhere. I’ll run to town for groceries or to get coffee with a friend, but I’m not in my car every day like I was for 27 years. I noticed recently that around the house or while floating in the pool, I had built a tendency to turn to country music or 80s rock every time I turned on music. I also noticed a lacking in my moods…not sure how else to put that. But I was missing something! I was moody and had a short fuse. It was about the same time that I came across the verse above during my Bible study. That verse stuck out and reminded me of those lessons taught over and over to my children…
GARBAGE IN…GARBAGE OUT!
I still listen to country and other music now and then. I still read the occasional novel that is not a Christian-authored novel. I still watch some reality TV. BUT, I make sure that what I’m listening to, reading, and watching are not constantly feeding my mind with the types of things that pull me away from my relationship with my Lord. Spending time reading, studying, listening to God’s Word fills my heart and mind with things that I want to overflow in my speech and actions. What I fill my heart and mind with matters!
Luke 6:45 (NLT) A good person produces good things from the
treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things
from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what
is in your heart.