I am a daydreamer.
I daydream all the time—in the car, as I am about to fall asleep, as I clean, and, admittedly, in mid-conversation.
Daydreaming can be and, most of the time, is harmless. It has been the fuel for some of the most talented artists’ fires. It is something that many need in order to think through situations and is used as a form of therapy to help people overcome their past. For example, studies have proven that simply the act of imagining yourself forgiving someone can lower your blood pressure and lead to a more mindful mental health.
However, if left to its own devices and unguarded, it can be incredibly hurtful to ourselves, those around us, and our relationship with Jesus.
Satan wants to control our thoughts—1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan wants to sway our thinking in ways that hurt our relationship with God and those around us. He might take a harmless daydream and turn it into lust, envy, pride, or worse.
There are two settings where being stuck in your mind is hurtful:
- Your time spent daydreaming is taking away from your time spent with the Lord.
- You are ruminating over hurtful thoughts which can include: a past relationship that you cannot get over, a time where you were incredibly hurt, a betrayal or act that was placed against you, a person that annoys you, someone based on their looks or actions, self-pity in your current life situation, etc. (See Galatians 5:19-21)
I find myself often caught in the midst of #1. I have a pretty extensive imagination and also have many dreams of things I want to do, things I wish could come true, and conversations and scenarios I would like to have take place. But I could go an entire day dreaming without spending time with Jesus. If someone said something that hurt me or if I was worried about someone, I could ruminate over it without asking Jesus for help.
So I asked myself—what if I started praying for the things that I am daydreaming/thinking about about instead of just thinking about them? What if I turned my thoughts into prayers?
Using scripture as my guide, I came across, 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” Every time we think a thought, we can capture it and turn it into a prayer. How much more effective is praying than thinking? We can direct our thoughts into prayers to God who can use them for His will and in doing so, will fill us with the Holy Spirit which can transform not only our minds, but our hearts as well.
So when daydreaming, I ask myself:
Are these thoughts ones that Jesus wants me to be focusing on right now?
And if not I say,
Stop daydreaming, and start praying! (and I capture those daydreaming thoughts and begin to pray)
If I have ungodly thoughts, I think of when Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan” (Matthew:16:23) and literally think or say that aloud and pray.
Here’s the good news: If we put our faith in Jesus, Satan has lost the battle against us—he wants to take us away from Jesus and he never will. That does not mean that the journey will be easy. He will try everything he can to create a rift between us and God. Our mind is a place where he can and will try to do that. But if we put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) in prayer and use scripture as our weapons, we are stronger than he is already. God will use the Holy Spirit, through our thoughts turned into prayers, to renew our minds and spirits and transform our thoughts so that they are pointed to Him.
And remember, daydreaming is a beautiful thing that He has created and wants us to use for His glory.
“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.” (Philippians 4:8)