Losing the Battle in the Brain

Proverbs 22:13 – The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

I was having a discussion with my young son about math recently. He was trying to do his math, and I could see he really was struggling to keep going on it. He was working on multiplication problems, and he was just going downhill mentally and emotionally. He had gotten himself worked up to where he didn’t remember 3×7, which he had used over and over. This wasn’t a knowledge problem, it was a battle of the brain problem.

When I began to look at his work, overall he had done 90 percent of it right. But he was telling himself stories, like “I don’t like Math.” “This is too hard.” “I don’t want to do this.” “I need help.” “I can’t figure it out.” Yet he had done most of the work perfectly all by himself. But now he was at the brink of tears and unable to do a simply 3×7 because of the stories he was telling himself. He was shutting down.

So, I held him close to me and hugged him and told him that he wasn’t losing the battle in the math workbook, he was losing the battle in his mind. I had him look at all the right things he had done on that page, and I had him say positive things about himself when it came to those he did right. “I am smart. I can do math. Look at all I did right. I can figure this out.” By the way, brothers and sisters in Christ, do not disregard the power of meditating on the positive and telling yourselves hopeful things (Philippians 4:8). Paul says think about what is “true,” so God does not want us to tell lies to ourselves.

You see, with this son, if he is doing art or building Legos, there is nothing too hard for him. He is designing his own amazing and complex things out of Legos (good grief he is making his own Transformers out of Legos). His artwork for a young kid is just incredible. There is nothing too hard for him there. He certainly has a gift with art and designing things.

Maybe his “gift” will never be that he excels in Calculus or Nuclear Physics, and that is fine! We would not want to push him in a direction other than his natural talents and strengths. But what we do want for all of our kids is for them to learn to win the battle of the brain.

Don’t defeat yourself before you even begin something by telling yourself I can’t do this, or it’s just too hard, or I’m just not able to figure it out. Maybe it isn’t possible for you to do that task. That might be true. For example, the only way I’m ever going to dunk a basketball is if I use a step ladder or if the rim is adjusted to 7 feet! So there are limits to what we can do, no doubt. But that’s not what I’m talking about. My point here in this article is to discuss how we can defeat ourselves from the beginning just by how we think and what we say.

I know I’ve lost that battle repeatedly, and I can see in my kids when they begin to go down that road. Look at that above passage from Proverbs, a person can tell himself there is a lion in the streets when no such lion exists. There is no real lion! The man did not step out to work because he told himself a wrong story in his brain.

What stories are you telling yourself? Are you losing the battle of the brain because of what you are saying to yourself?

The Sluggard

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
(Proverbs 26:12-16)

What do we learn about the lazy man (the sluggard) in this section of Proverbs?

A sluggard makes excuses, finds the craziest reasons not to get out and work. But those excuses must be really believable to the sluggard. He has really convinced himself that the lion is out there…he just can’t leave right now because that lion will eat him up!

The sluggard is inventive – He is always coming up with a new excuse!

A sluggard is like a door on its hinges. The only “movement” he makes is to flip from one side to the other on his bed. Sometimes you have to force yourself to get up and get going. You don’t feel like getting up, and you don’t feel like trying, but you have to push through it. Many times when doing the right thing, your feelings will not agree with you. You may not have the first feeling to agree with you, but you have to get up and do the right thing anyway.

The sluggard is active – He flips sides on the bed, but he ain’t going anywhere!

A sluggard is so lazy, he won’t even lift his hand from the bowl to his mouth. This is connected to gluttony…he is tied to his couch, binge-watching TV and stuffing junk down his throat. He’s worn out all right, but not from working hard. He’s so tired, tired from being lazy, tired from not getting out there and trying and doing.

The sluggard is creative – He creates more and more tired-ness for himself. 

A sluggard is really smart and has all the best answers…at least in his own eyes. If you want know how to do something, or if you want to know all the answers to all the questions, ask the lazy sluggard. They know all the info, but they don’t do a thing about it. The lazy sluggard will be more than happy to advise you on all the things you should do, but is he doing it himself? Nope.

The sluggard is full of answers- He just never listens to his own advice!