Amy Rees Anderson

Don’t Let Your Mind Be A Dumping Ground

“If you suffer from worry, from grief or shame, from jealousy, disappointment, or envy, I have something to tell you.

Somewhere near your home there is a vacant corner lot. Although adjoining yards may be well tended, a vacant corner lot somehow is always full of weeds. There is a footpath across it, a bicycle trail, and ordinarily it is a collecting place for junk. First someone threw a few lawn clippings there. They would not hurt anything. Someone added a few sticks and limbs from a nearby yard. Then came a few papers and a plastic bag, and finally some tin cans and old bottles were included.

And there it was—a junkyard.

The neighbors did not intend it to be that. But little contributions from here and there made it so.

This corner lot is like, so very much like, the minds of many of us. We leave our minds vacant and empty and open to trespass by anyone. Whatever is dumped there we keep.

We would not consciously permit anyone to dump junk into our minds, not old cans and bottles. But after lawn clippings and papers, the other things just don’t seem all that much worse.

Our minds can become veritable junk heaps with dirty, cast-off ideas that accumulate there little by little.

Years ago I put up some signs in my mind. They are very clearly printed and simply read: “No trespassing.” “No dumping allowed.” On occasions it has been necessary to show them very plainly to others.

I do not want anything coming into my mind that does not have some useful purpose or some value that makes it worth keeping. I have enough trouble keeping the weeds down that sprout there on their own without permitting someone else to clutter my mind with things that do not edify.

I’ve hauled a few of these away in my lifetime. Occasionally I’ve tossed these thoughts back over the fence where they came from, when it could be done in a friendly manner.

I’ve had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out. I have never been successful until I have put something edifying in their place.

I do not want my mind to be a dumping place for shabby ideas or thoughts, for disappointments, bitterness, envy, shame, hatred, worry, grief, or jealousy.

If you are fretting over such things, it’s time to clean the yard. Get rid of all that junk! Get rid of it!

Put up a “no trespassing” sign, a “no dumping” sign, and take control of yourself. Don’t keep anything that will not edify you.” – (excepts from talk given by Boyd K. Packer titled Balm of Gilead).

I LOVE THAT TALK! I love the directness of the message and visual example he used of the vacant lot because it paints such a clear picture. And the sad truth is that far too often we are the ones dumping trash on our own vacant lot by allowing negative thoughts to enter our minds. The next time you find yourself having a thought of envy, or jealousy, or worry, yell to yourself “NOT IN MY YARD!”

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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