Are you an opinionated over-thinker? High five. Me too, friend. My mind is a loud place. I continually think about all the things I need to do, keeping a never-ending mental list of the people I need to text, the things I need to organize and clean, the plans I need to make. But it doesn't stop at being a busybody.
My black-and-white, right-or-wrong mind formulates opinions easily. And when I think it, it usually comes out. Momma used to preach, "Just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it." For at least eight years of my life, she probably said that to me every day. She'd recognize that feisty look in my eyes just before my mouth went freewheeling, and she'd warn, "Filter, Maggie, filter!" But I usually said it anyway.
Years ago at the church camp, the cabin counselors gave each kid a certificate with their perceived spiritual gift from the week at camp. Mine was always discernment. Which I think was a nice way of saying, "Your daughter isn't afraid to say what she thinks, ever; you should probably get her under control."
Years later, I'm learning that getting my mind under control means giving it up.
Basing discernment on my feelings leaves no room for grace. I'm a harsh critic. A protective grizzly bear, claws up, ready to strike. I think I know best - I think I know everything. And this self-reliance is what gets me in trouble. It's paradoxical to think I could focus on myself and God at the same time. We couldn't be more opposite. Because I'm me, and He's... well, He's GOD. It's like telling someone to focus their eyes on the ceiling above them and the floor below them at the same time. Impossible.
When I allow the Holy Spirit to filter my thoughts, I'm a different person. A better person. The words that flow from my mouth don't cut. And I'm actually able to keep harmful words from ever leaving my mouth. Without the Lord, I'm a really bad person, crippled by anger and confusion, stubbornness and bitterness. But with the Lord, I can walk freely with peace and understanding, grace and forgiveness. He reminds me that He's the judge, and that sin is sin. In God's eyes, my sin isn't any prettier than the next person's. There's no hierarchy to sin. It's all terrible, all the same.
Oh, the peace that comes with allowing God to control my thoughts.