by Molly Audiss

II Timothy 1:7  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Look at the last three words of this verse-a sound mind.  The Bible says that God has given us the spirit of a sound mind.  What a gift!  We own that from God.  But is that how others would describe us?  Sound in the dictionary has several meanings, including:  Correct, firm, strong, valid, cannot be disputed.

Titus 2:4 runs along the same line when it tells women that we are to be sober, which is serious-minded.  A person with a sound mind, a sober mind, is a trusted person.  People listen to what she has to say, and they believe her.  Her opinion carries weight.  She has influence.  I want to be this kind of a woman.  I see this in the Proverbs 31 woman.  That is one ambitious gal!  She is as sharp as a tack, well-organized, a hard worker, her husband trusts her completely, and her children love and respect her.  She definitely has a sound mind.

Unfortunately, women often have the reputation for having the opposite of a sound mind.  I would describe it as “the house is on fire!” mentality.  Everything is an emergency; there is always some cause for panic.  Remember the fable of the hen that ran around screaming, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”  That is the type of woman I do not want to be.  That is a lack of a sound mind.

There is the old story of the shepherd boy who was watching the sheep.  The other shepherds told him to yell for them if he saw a wolf coming to attack the sheep.  One day he wanted to see if they would actually come if he called, so he yelled, “Wolf, Wolf!”  The other shepherds came running to his aid.  He simply laughed and told them that he was kidding.  He did this several times, until the shepherds quit coming when they heard his call.  Of course, one day there really was a wolf.  The boy cried out at the top of his lungs, but no one came to help, because no one believed him anymore.

That is an example of a person who treats every little problem in life as a huge emergency.  Every mishap is a major disaster.  Every trial is the end of the world.  This is the Drama Queen.  The biggest problem with this is, when everything is an emergency, than nothing is really an emergency.  This person is not taken seriously.  No one puts much stock into her opinions.  She loses her influence.

Ladies, let’s work on going through life, not with the spirit of fear, but with a sound mind.  The Lord said that He gave it to us; let’s use it!  Don’t go through each day reacting to every circumstance that arises.  Live life on purpose.  Stay focused on the important issues- especially people and relationships.

Illustration:  You are sitting at the dinner table with your family.  Your husband is telling you about something that happened at work.  All the sudden, the phone rings.  You would think that the world stopped turning!  You cut off your husband, mid-sentence, to jump up and answer the phone immediately.  (It ends up being a telemarketer!)  What is this strange power that the phone and the doorbell have over us?  Those are not emergencies.  What’s important is the conversation you are having with your spouse or your child.  Focus on people.  Let voicemail take a message, and check it later. It is not a bad idea to turn the ringer off on your phone.

Maybe you are reading a book to your child, and your baby wakes up from a nap in the other room and starts to cry.  This is, once again, not an emergency.  Show your child that they are important to you by not leaving them to run and get the baby right away.  Finish reading at least a few more pages of the book.  Your infant will not be scarred for life if he has to cry a few minutes before you pick him up.  At the same time, your older child needs to see that he is just as important to you as your baby.  Do you see the benefit of staying calm, and not making everything into an emergency?  A sound mind creates peace.

Are you in “emergency mode” at work?  Is your boss constantly putting out fires for you?  Help!  The copier isn’t working!  A valuable employee learns to fix problems on his own.  If you are always “crying wolf,” your boss and your co-workers will soon cease to take you seriously.  You may begin to feel unimportant as others seemingly ignore your problems and questions.  I was 22, fresh out of college, when I began teaching high school.  I remember that first year on the job; my principal was so patient with me!  Looking back, I cringe at all the dumb reasons I would knock on his door and interrupt his work.  Thankfully, I learned to be a little more self-sufficient.  Teddy Roosevelt said, “If someone gives you a job to do, say ‘Certainly I can;’ then figure out how to get it done.”

Be a valuable employee by learning to put out your own fires.

The greatest power we have is the power of influence.  We can co-partner with God to help change lives through our actions and our demeanor.  (I Peter 3:1)  Unfortunately, if we live our life reacting to every situation, making each little thing into an emergency, then we lose the respect of others.  People will stop believing us, trusting us.  Namely, we lose our influence.  Let’s take what God has already given us, a sound mind, and bring calm and peace to those around us.