Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It’s All In Your Head…Really

“Repent and turn to God…that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”
Acts 3:19
Despite the negative image evoked, repent simply means to change your way of thinking. It really is all in our heads, and that’s biblical. “As a man thinks in his heart, so it he” (Proverbs 23:7).  According to Acts 3:19 refreshing from God requires a new mindset. Our thinking blocks God’s goodness; our beliefs override reality. We access a fraction of all our lives can be because of wrong thinking.
A New York Times article, Surprise Bounty For Clean-up Artist demonstrates this clearly. This is the story of Harry and Darryl, two men from opposite ends of the spectrum whose lives intersect under the worst of circumstances.
Harry Shunk, along with his partner Janos Kender were photographers. Their work hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou, in Paris. They were involved with the avant-garde New Realist art movement in the 1950’s.
In the 1970’s Shunk and Kender’s relationship soured and the pair parted ways. Harry took this hard and became a hoarding recluse. He refused work and prohibited his images from being published. He cut off former friends believing they could’ve prevented the break up but did not. He entertained no visitors and chose to keep to himself. In 2006 a strong odor coming from Harry’s apartment prompted building maintenance to forcibly enter his unit. They found Harry’s decomposing body buried under a mound of his possessions.
Harry left no will so his estate passed to the state of New York. Digging though the piles of Harry’s belongings, stacked at times as high as twelve inches from the ceiling, the state hit pay dirt. A man who didn’t leave sufficient funds for a decent burial had among other things a photo archive valued at $2 million dollars.
            Enter Darryl Kelly, an artist in his own right - a cleanup specialist. Contracted to clear out Harry’s apartment, Darryl and his crew filled seven dumpsters before the job was completed. Spurred by the passers by who trove for treasures amid the discarded items, Darryl filled his truck bed with random pieces and stored them in a closet at his home. Two insignificant events then changed Darryl’s life forever. Darryl began to watch Antiques Road Show. He saw people learning items they inherited, found or bought at sales were actually valuable. Next, Darryl’ wife issued an ultimatium, “get that stuff out of my house.”
            During the clean up process of Harry’s apartment, Darryl became acquainted with Matthew Russas, the curator of an art gallery located in the building. Darryl approached Mr. Russas with some of his pieces and asked his opinion. The more Mr. Russas saw the bigger his eyes got. His assessment – “Are you ready to retire?” The messy job of cleaning out Harry’s home provided Darryl Kelly with a windfall.
            Harry and Darryl’s story is a tale of two mindsets. Harry’s life and talent remained captive to thoughts of loss and abandonment. With the means and the abilities available for a full, rich life, the possessions Harry clung to for protection and isolation literally killed him. Darryl changed his mind about the items in the closet. He stepped out, took a chance and reaped a small fortune. Harry thought he’d lost it all and he did. Darryl decided he had nothing to lose and struck gold. Each man’s thoughts effected their outcome.
            What occurs in the natural realm mimics the spiritual side of life. Acts 3:19 tells us a change of mind is necessary in order to receive God’s refreshing. We all need a headset adjustment; situation in life skew our view of who God really is. Those raised by abusive, cruel or absent parents have difficulty viewing God as a good father. Some religious traditions portray God as angry, waiting to use any small mistake for a reason to lash out. Approaching God is like an audience with Oz in the movie The Wizard of Oz - terrifying. We may consciously agree that God is good, loving and kind, but unconsciously the old thought patterns and strongholds block God’s ability to move in our lives.
            It really is all in our heads and being willing to admit this is a big first step. The bible calls Holy Spirit our counselor. He will reveal truth to us, not just about God and His Word but about who we really are and where we’re at. God is not looking for us to perform great feats in order to earn or deserve His love, favor and help. He does need us to change the way we think, separate the trash from the treasures, freeing Him to refresh and renew us. Uh oh, what was that? Beep, beep, beep! I think there is a dumpster in my future.

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