First,  an apology.  I stopped blogging for a while as other priorities became more important.  The good news is that the time away from the internet has definitely helped my happiness quotient.  The bad news is my poor blog was left to languish in solitude yet again.  But, enough of that.  Onward and upward.

My Bible reading this morning included a favorite verse from Philippians 4:8:

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.

This got me to musing over the whole concept of garbage in, garbage out.  I sent it to someone by text and he sent back to me a reference to the Petra song “Think on These Things” from the album No Doubt.  Between the verse and the song, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I think on.

That whole saying “garbage in, garbage out” is true for just about anything.  What you eat affects your health.  What you read/watch/dwell on affects your spiritual health.  Let me see if I can extend the analogy better.

The basic paradigm of a diet is that you restrict calories in order to lose weight/get healthier.  (Yes, it gets more complicated than that.  Work with me.)  If you have a 2000-calorie-a-day limit, you have to limit what you’re eating.  You could choose to eat 2000 calories in just ice cream and cookies.  You would probably lose weight (in theory), but you’d be hungry, diabetic, and extremely malnourished very soon.

If, on the other hand, you choose to nourish your body with a variety of lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, and other foods that provide all your daily nutrients, and if you drink plenty of water, then you will lose weight, not be hungry all the time, and be healthier.

The same works for your mind/heart/soul.

We get 24 hours each day to spend.  That’s the equivalent of your 2000 calorie diet.  We can, in theory, spend that time however we want.  We work or go to school, which takes a big chunk of the hours.  Hopefully we sleep, which takes another chunk.  How we spend the rest– that’s our mental diet.

I can go the ice cream and cookies route:  get home from work, pop in a TV dinner, sit in front of the computer or television being entertained by mindless sitcoms, stay up too late checking Facebook and go to bed late.  Then wake up after hitting snooze nine times, barrel through a coffee place for an extra-large dose of sugar/caffeine, and auto-pilot through the day, too tired to do anything else.

Or I can plan my day mindfully.  Get up a little early to do a workout and feel so energized that I don’t need caffeine to get the day started.  Come home from work and go play with the kids outside, go for a walk, or go to the gym to workout.  Either spend the evening playing games with friends and family, reading a book, or doing a Bible study, before I go to bed, tired but not exhausted from a profitable day.

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but basing my life around ice cream and cookies (or sitcoms and snooze buttons) isn’t going to produce anything but garbage.  This may require me to give up a show I enjoy because I’m already watching TV three nights a week.  It might mean I have to plan my time better.  It might mean actually sleeping semi-normal hours.  If it produces something other than garbage in my life, though, I think it’s worth it.

Time to be mindful.