Monday, February 29, 2016

The "Kudzu" of our Minds

Isn't it wonderful when things just link together nicely?! In the post before this one, Melinda Jensen raised the issue of sex in Christian fiction and very bravely and beautifully looked at the interaction between the words we read and our minds. 

And wouldn't you know it, the very thing that I was led to talk on in this post was our minds.

Some of you may have heard of a plant called "Kudzu?" For those who haven't, here's the Wikipedia description of it,


They are climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines ... Where these plants are naturalized, they can be invasive and are considered noxious weeds. The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading.[3] The plant is edible, but often sprayed with herbicides.[3]

If you have a moment, I recommend you go and google Kudzu, to see for yourself the insidious nature of the plant.

The imagery is quite frightening; vast expanses of land, huge trees, even entire houses, completely smothered by the ivy-like vines. 

This plant was introduced in the late 1800s as a good thing; an ornamental plant that could be used for land management, food for stock and even basket making, among other things. But, left unchecked, it rages out of control, and takes over everything in its path. 

As I read about the Kudzu and gazed on the images, something within my spirit was quickened; immediately I thought of our minds, and how quickly thoughts can be planted, and in no time at all completely smother our minds, our thinking, our ability to think rationally or with clarity.

Now I must point out, I'm not actually talking about sex...although yes,that is one very obvious one that can take hold, (and why I do agree that it should be very carefully handled in Christian fiction, if indeed included at all...again, I refer you to the discussion in the previous blog). But there are so many different thoughts or patterns that can be rooted in our minds, and some of them are actually good to begin with. It is when we start to let those thoughts or patterns take control of our mind that they lose their beauty or usefulness, and become noxious, robbing us of so many other good things. 

So what are some examples of these noxious mind-weeds? Here are three examples that I came up with:
  • Particularity - it's great to aim for a high standard in life; the Bible says we should do everything as if it was asked by God directly. But when particularity is allowed to grow into excessive proportions, our sense of peace can be completely overshadowed as it grows into the noxious weed of Perfectionism. Instead of pleasing God, the source of our inspiration, we start seeking other people's approval, perhaps out of fear of not being good enough, or perhaps out of a driving need to be the very best compared to others.

  • Pride - being proud of one's achievements is a good thing! We should be cheering ourselves on, sometimes louder than anyone else! But, if we allow our thoughts of self to get too big for their britches, pride can become a smothering Arrogance. We begin to do what we do for the accolades of others, perhaps because that is where we receive our self-worth. These thoughts will soon smother any sense of humility, and can be our undoing.
  • Prudence - being cautious and careful is an honorable quality, and shows wisdom. What happens though, when we begin to feel overly cautious? Or we become so well-planned that we are unable to allow room for spontaneity or, dare I say it, a Holy Spirit prompting to do something contrary to our plans?! If the seed of prudence is planted and allowed to grow without constraint in our minds, it becomes Rigidity. This is possibly the most dangerous of the three things listed here, as it can completely obscure our purpose, our passion and our fervor for life, and for God.
I could list many noxious weeds that have, by the love and grace of Jesus Christ, been uprooted from my own mind; I have many to still be removed. It's not easy; sometimes it's painful, even a little shameful. But oh, the freedom that I have experienced as I allow the Holy Spirit to convict and then get to work!

And my sincere prayer, as I write this blog, is that someone reading this will be gently, compassionately, lovingly convicted, so they, too, would allow our loving and glorious Father to start digging up the Kudzu of their mind, that they might be all they were created to be!

~~~~~~

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT


14 comments:

  1. Great post Helen. I realise over and over again that everything begins in the mind. If we allow our minds to dwell on wholesome thoughts - the fruit produced is good. But ... so often, our minds do become like that 'kudzu' and the effects are pretty bad. Thank you for introducing us to 'Kudzu'. Never heard of it before. A very apt image of how noxious our minds and hearts can become if we are not careful. As Christian writers, how important it is. So thanks Helen. As I woke up this morning, I asked God to help me think thoughts this week that are pleasing to Him. What apt confirmation from your post then that that is indeed what's required. As a man thinketh, so is he! May we all think thoughts that lead to wholeness and blessed creativity.

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    1. Thanks Anusha, I'm so glad that it was helpful. It can be so hard to dwell on the good, can't it?! But yes, it is so important to do so, for our benefit, but also that of those in our worlds. As a mum I know I am far better for my boys when I am focused on them and their needs, rather than my own inner thoughts, which are often of the "kudzu" kind! Blessings, Helen

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  2. Thanks, Helen--I really appreciated your thoughtful post. And I think those three 'noxious mind-weeds' you chose to highlight are very important ones to take note of in our writing journey, for sure.

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    1. Thanks Jo-Anne, yes these three areas very much apply to our writing, especially when they can just creep up on us so quietly! Blessings, Helen

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  3. Thanks Helen for this post. Great to be reminded that we must be vigilant about uprooting noxious weeds from our minds, indeed our lives. It is too easy for them to creep in and take hold and before we know it toxic thoughts can take over. You raise some thought provoking points - need to do a bit of gardening I think!

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    1. Thanks Lesley, yes vigilance is so important isn't it?! It can be quite an interesting (scary, horrifying!) process, to take a really good look at one's mind, and our thought patterns. How truly amazing is God's grace when it comes to removing these, allowing us to be free once again! Be kind to yourself if you do do some gardening :-) Blessings, Helen

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  4. Thank you, Helen, for this reflection. I hadn't heard of the Kudzu plant, but it is a great image for our "noxious mind-weeds" and you do a great job at pointing out some weeds that can insidiously creep into our lives and take way too much control. I can relate to these all too well so it's a message that resonates with me. Thanks again.

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    1. Hi Ellen, thanks so much for your comment. I've only just heard of this; in some ways, it actually looks quite pretty, until we look deeper into the devastation it creates. I'm glad it resonated with you, and as I said to Lesley, (and wish I'd put it in the main post!) when we do find ourselves pulling out these weeds, we should be very gentle and kind to ourselves! Blessings, Helen

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  5. Hi Helen,
    Those 3Ps you mentioned certainly are like kudzu, especially since they are rife in lots of thinking patterns. And I'm sure we can have all three growing at the same time. Thanks for the reminder to stay on top of our weeding.

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    1. Hi Paula, thanks for reading and for your comment! There are so many things I could have listed...possibly a little too much self-disclosure for my liking! Blessings, Helen

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  6. Great post, Helen. Food for thought...
    thank you

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    1. Thanks so much, Pam. Blessings, Helen.

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  7. Great reminder, Helen. And so clear. Thanks.

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