or a mass movement of people at
a common impulse
The subject of a stampede conjures up memories of yesterday's cowboy pics, when Roy Rogers or the Cisco Kid was either instigating, or attempting to extricate themselves from one. And there's always Ben Cartwright & sons - Adam, Hoss & Little Joe - on the Ponderosa, where stampedes became common fare for those that head 'em up and move 'em out - and for those of us that loved Bonanza.
When I asked my sister what came to mind with the word "stampede" she said, without hesitation, "A Rogue Elephant". Now that's an image!
I understand stampedes now occur at Target Stores, no longer confined to the open plains.
Ah yes, the drama of the stampede.
Just the other day I heard a term that brought the subject of stampedes into clearer focus. The term? Runaway Thoughts.
Have you ever had them? I have. They're commonly associated with fear, worry or angst, and they threaten all that is peaceful within us. Try as we might, they populate our dreams or prevent sleep altogether. They distract our attention and affections, interrupting good meals, good movies, good conversations. The mind is wound tight. It springs to flight with thoughts heading off at a furious pace in this direction or that.
Come to think of it, there's not much about stampeding thoughts that's good, much less healthy. At best they're an annoyance. At worst they're a plague. They scare the bearer and onlooker alike!
So what's up with that anyway? How do our thoughts break free of their peaceful pastures to run rampant?
No doubt there are myriad reasons, but my guess is that there are common instigators in our midst. They may include habit, or a need to control, or a lack of self-value, or an over-active imagination, or a reaction to threats real or imagined, or a wobbly faith, or ....
I suppose it doesn't really matter how or why they occur so much as it matters how to deal with them before or after they show up. Perhaps a trip back to the Ponderosa will help. Let's consider what the cowboys (and cowgirls) do with their herds (in this case, herds being thoughts).
- Prevention. Ensure the herd is crazing in safe pasture - protected from wildfires, predatory foes, and the blight of winter or the scorch of summer.
- Round-ups. Periodic scrutiny of what's happening.
- Stock-taking. A thorough inventory and a realistic assessment of the herd's condition.
- Culling. Removing the sick ones (in this case, thoughts) so they don't infect the others.
- Veterinary care. Applying medicine & nurture to the hurting ones.
- Range Riding. Making certain the herd doesn't go beyond the fence-line.
- Grange activity. Aligning with others that share herding initiatives. Including the
occasional grange dance and pie bake!
the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Do not be anxious about anything ...
but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends
all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus.
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—
this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to
the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve
what God's will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces
all reflect the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into his likeness
with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
May our thoughts be as our hearts
- steadfast and at peace -
in the coming year, and all those that follow it.
A blessed 2010 to all!