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Try as I might, I can never quite hold on to the precious, fleeting days of summer. They slip through the fingers like sand. Rain that began to fall early in the spring hasn’t stopped since, which has made this summer unique. I don’t remember it so deliciously lush for quite some time. Verdure in a thousand shades, and the scent! When the sun beats down, it’s tropically humid in Alberta; a miracle.

That’s what makes the paradox between the weather outside and social conditions within so ludicrous. Without warning, the shift from regular school-year scheduling into July holidays inexplicably hit me with a fresh wave of grieving over Covid. The summer pleasures of exuberant freedom and celebration have been cruelly curtailed. No normal holidays, travel, attending family reunions, weddings, or even funerals. Besides that, being physically sequestered tends to keep mental processes on some kind of tedious and nasty hamster wheel. I’m noticing an unnerving tendency to revisit spare and melancholic emotional locales, cul-de-sacs of anxiety or boogie-man dread of the future. We’re all hypervigilant; waiting for the next cultural disaster to drop.

Where do you go when you’re mentally exhausted? That’s the current conundrum. Do you sit for hours mindlessly watching TV? Possibly, your escape go-to is visiting online, having the same conversations with revolving people. Keeping busy by executing the last dregs of your to-do list can master vagabond concentration and somehow force your mind onto new byways, but it isn’t easy. The powerful gravitational well surrounding world events drags relentlessly at our hearts, making depression, hopelessness and fatalism enemies we combat daily. Media is a desert wasteland teeming with wild beasts. It’s all unspeakably wearying.

In a moment of blinding revelation, I saw the beauty of the famous 23rd Psalm in glorious, contemporary colors. Welcome to lush, a place the Lord would love for us to dwell with Him. Can we find Eden again within ourselves? Most of it has to do with our attitude and mindset. Tranquility, provision and safety are what we need mentally to survive. Impossible? Maybe. Incredible? Depends on who is in charge.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Here’s a contemplation to rock your world. If we chose it, we can come into the flow of divine thought, creativity and healing and stay there. Did you know you can ride on the pounding breakers of God’s Word like the big surf? With His authority, you can swim against the stream of public opinion and carnal reasoning. When we read, meditate and quote Scripture aloud, the wind of God’s Spirit bears us up supernaturally. Something deep within receives the prevailing truths that over-ride so-called reality. We cerebrally rest in tender green, taste the fresh waters, and enjoy sumptuous tranquility.

It matters what we think. Our minds require sustaining fare the same way our bodies do. Ask yourself the hard question “What am I feeding off of?” A constant buffet of CNN is going to leave you starving and anemic. The junk food of every-one-else’s opinion provides no satisfaction. To survive this mess, you’re going to need copious amounts of nutrient-dense, high-quality spiritual victuals.

Lately, I’m finding that my stressed brain can only hold one or two meaningful concepts at a time. I wake in the morning with the simple confession “This is the day that the Lord has made: I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24), and then I purpose that I will. When fear makes me falter, I say out loud “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), and suddenly, it is. When the giants threaten, I remind them “The Lord is with me as a Dread Champion” (Jeremiah 20:11), and they flee. Simple, powerful truths re-orient the entire flow of my spirit and bring instant relief. That’s what it is to be lush.

What Scripture are you feeding on this moment? Hold on with all your heart. You are not imagining the intense battle for your mind. You cannot navigate this alone. The Great Shepherd will keep you in perfect peace.

…But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

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