It's foggy this morning. Both inside and outside my head.
Outside my head the panoramic views of Chessington Community College usually available from the top of Winey Hill were obscured by a dampness that clings to your clothes.
The odd thing about fog is that whereas visibility goes down, it appears that the volume goes up. Sound seems amplified. I'm sure if I'd paid more attention in physics at school I'd be able to say something intelligent about sound waves and moisture in the air! The fog this morning meant that on top of the hill it sounded like I was standing in the fast lane of the A3. Hardly a serene rural idyll.
Inside my head things were foggy too. There was no note worthy new storm clouding the view or clamouring for my attention. It was just a normal morning filled with questions like, "Toast or cereal? Choco Rice or Multi-grain hoops?" (Yes, we shop at Lidl.) But it was one of those mornings when the clear vision of the joy of the gospel was obscured.
And when I fail to see Jesus clearly. Then all the sounds of the world around me seem to be amplified. The voices telling me that it's perfectly reasonable for me to get my own way in everything. The voices telling me that all my problems are caused by anything and anyone other than me! The voices that say that eating a bit more or spending a bit more on me or doing a bit more work or doing a bit less work - will make me happier.
And it's not just the voices. It's the general background noise. The happy bickering of the kids drives me nuts in seconds. The dog's over friendly greetings just get in the way. And my wife's perfectly reasonable questions sound like accusations.
Which is why you need to be mad to be a Christian.
Because they say one the first signs of insanity is talking to yourself. And I need to talk to myself. Otherwise, as a wise friend once said to me, "I spend too much time camped out inside my own head!"
And what I need to talk to myself about are the truths of the gospel. The great love of God for me a sinner. The precious sacrifice of Jesus my saviour. The power of the Holy Spirit of God within me, which means I don't have to indulge the advice of the voices of the world.
It's interesting that after telling the Philippians to answer their anxiety through prayer (as we saw yesterday), the apostle Paul says this:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, 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)
In other words fill your mind with the truths of the gospel of Jesus. Truths we find in the Bible.
Sometimes, when the fog is thickest, I struggle to settle to read the Bible to get some sense in my head. So I'll stick on some good Christian music. Stuff packed with Bible truths about Jesus, rather than simply the words "Love" and "You" and a cracking tune!
Singing to yourself doesn't make you any less mad. But it works! It clears the fog and sometimes even brightens the day.
Just to reassure you - I don't hear actual voices. No really - I don't!