Growth Goal for 2021 - Renew My Mind
New Year's Resolutions... Some people love them, some people hate them. I say, do what works for you!!
To me, there's nothing like a clean start. I tend to only try to start new habits on Mondays. I love a fresh, clean, empty notebook. I love mornings. Mental resets and new beginnings are super exciting to me. I rarely follow through fully on all my resolutions, so this year I wanted to try something different.
While physical health is very important (and usually the types of resolutions I set), this year I wanted to focus my growth goals on mental health and my thought life. Recently I realized just how negative my thought life tends to be. I'm usually beating myself up in one way or another. Sometimes I let my thoughts continue and spiral in an unhealthy and unhelpful direction. While I was thinking about this pattern, these verses came to mind:
"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." - Philippians 4:8
Recently, Zach has been randomly asking me what I'm thinking about. I've been embarrassed to realize it's usually something negative about how I should lose weight, what I'm stressed about, a regret about the past, why I think I'm failing as a wife, mom, person, etc.
Every time he asked, I wasn't thinking about anything honorable, just, pure or lovely. How sad is that? AND sinful. Sometimes it's easy to beat ourselves up, but then also feel sorry for ourselves. But I have to call my negative thoughts out for what they are - sin. Obviously, not all negative thoughts are sinful. We need to be honest with ourselves and sometimes the truth (and life) is hard and negative or discouraging.
But, what I'm talking about is patterns of thinking that are negative in an unbiblical way and dwelling on lies instead of truth. For instance, it may be true that I need to lose weight. And it's not wrong to think about that once in awhile and set some healthy goals for myself. But, in my mind, I can start to call myself names, think that my worth depends on my weight, start to strategize drastic and unhealthy weight loss measures, become paranoid that everyone is laughing at me behind my back, etc. That's sinful. Even typing and admitting these thoughts that I do actually have sometimes is a wake up call!
This year, I want to work on renewing my mind. That phrase comes from this verse:
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
In her book, Switch on Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf says, “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”
I want to renew my mind with the truth of God's Word. I want to stop my negative thoughts in their tracks, before they spiral out of control. I don't want to waste my time and energy thinking negatively. I want to put this verse into practice:
"Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
So, this year, I want to practice telling myself these 5 things:
1. My worth is not dependent on how I look or what I accomplish.
"But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." - Titus 3:4-7
"I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well." - Psalm 139:14
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:6-8
2. God's love for me does not waver.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." - Luke 12:6-7
"I am convinced that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." - Psalm 96:15
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God." - 1 John 3:1
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9
3. My past is forgiven and holds no power over me.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 8:1
4. My life has meaning and worth. I was created on purpose for a purpose.
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." - Genesis 1:27
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." - Jeremiah 1:5
"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." - Psalm 138:8
"In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will." - Ephesians 1:11
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:10
5. I do not need to worry. God will provide all of my needs.
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19
"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all." - Matthew 6:31-32
"Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!" - Luke 12:24
I've realized, the main reason my negative thinking is sin, is because it's showing my lack of trust in God and His Word. God has already told me my value. He's told me His love for me. He's told me of His forgiveness. He's told me He has given me purpose and will supply all of my needs. My problem is a lack of trust --- sometimes I don't believe it. Sometimes I forget. This year, I want to retrain my brain. I want to take my thoughts captive, I want to renew my mind, I want to trust God fully. I can't say I trust Him, but then doubt all the things He says in His Word about me and His relationship to me.
I'm going to practice telling myself these truths. These 5 statements and this verse will be on notecards by my mirror and on my nightstand. If you feel you've been struggling with your thought life lately, please join me! Reach out or message me if you need encouragement/accountability.
I'm holding onto this promise:
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." - Isaiah 26:3