This morning as I was driving to work I was listening to Revive Our Hearts Podcast episode Update from Ukraine with Olesia Dmytriieva. As she was speaking I couldn’t help but think of three words - fill your mind. In a world where we are constantly filling our minds with information we take in I ask you, what are you filling your mind with?
Olesia’s words were raw and vulnerable but also powerful and packed with truth and hope. A wife, mom, daughter, friend, broadcaster, and now refugee in Ukraine Olesia has hope because her future is known. She began by sharing “The last nine days we’ve had hell on earth. I speak five languages, and I was thinking, What is the best word to describe what is going on in Ukraine? I didn’t find any.” When asked how her girls are she responded “How are my girls? One is fourteen, and she says, ‘I don’t remember the first time we were refugees, and now I understand too much.’ I ask her not to read the news. She is a teenager, and she doesn’t need to see the dead bodies, the ruined villages and towns. She doesn’t need to hear all the curses. The information is too overwhelming, even for adults, not [to mention] teenagers.”
This is when those three words hit me. Fill your mind. What am I filling my mind with? I tell my patients all the time what you put in your mind is what you get out. Just today, multiple patients told me they had to turn the news off. Listen, we need to be informed but we also need to use wisdom and discernment in what we’re actively filling our minds with. What books and articles are you choosing to read, what podcasts and radio stations are you choosing to listen to, what movies and television shows are you choosing to watch, what conversations with friends and family are you choosing to engage in? Parents how are you protecting/guiding your children (2 Tim. 3:15)? Does that with which you fill your mind profit you or cripple you with fear, anxiety, worry, stress, anger, bitterness (Rom. 12:2, 1 Peter 4:7-11, Prov. 4:23, Rom. 8:1-39, Matt. 5:10, Phil. 4:13)?
Though I can’t control every little thing that enters my mind, I can choose to turn those anxious thoughts into trust in Christ. As Olesia said “Jesus is the same in the safe area of Ukraine and in the very dangerous area of Ukraine. God is with us.” “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil 4:5-8)." I pray you fill your mind with the truth and hope of Christ (John 3:16).
What is Olesia doing now? She continues to spread the hope of Christ. When asked “how can we pray for you? What can we do practically to encourage you as brothers and sisters in Christ?” Her response, beautiful, “The miracle of God is that we have a studio in this town where we are staying, and our team is trying to come to this town and go on the air every day. That’s what we do. We already have five members of our team, and every day we have a ‘marathon of hope,’ hashtag Marathon of Hope. We just go and we pray for people. We try to ask questions like, ‘What will you do when the war is over?’ This is not the question to know their plans, this is the question of hope. The war will be over. We have a future. We have hope in God.”
May we learn from Olesia. In the midst of war she stands firm in her faith in Christ and boldly proclaims the power of God. She has filled her mind with the words of Psalm 118:6 “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” “Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things (Corrie Ten Boom).” Immanuel, You are with us. Immanuel, You are here.
Wherever you find yourself in the world seek Christ. He is your only refuge (Ps. 46, 91). Choose to fill your mind with truth and above all pray. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something and enter God’s realm where everything is possible. He specializes in the impossible. Nothing is too great for His almighty power. Nothing is too small for His love.”