The Mind

I was in college before I ever experienced the muscle shock the morning after an all-in workout! My trainer was a guy named Jack who was an expert in “jacking” you up when it came to exercise. 😄 He had more energy and “no quit” mentality than anyone else I had ever met. He pushed me to places and lifts that I had never gone during a work out.

The usual morning-after result was that I could barely move. I would attempt to wash my hair in the shower but could not raise my arms above my shoulders…hair wash fail! I would hobble to class as if I had been beat up. After several months my body became accustomed and adjusted to the all-in workouts. Needless to say, I loved the results but the first months were brutal.

This is a great description of the work out I have been enduring as I have been learning to “take every thought captive!” It amazes me how such a simple verse in Scripture could have so much implication in my life and be so difficult. The Scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:5 tell us that we are to “Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

It has taken incredible intentional focus to pay attention to my thoughts and the trails I have allowed them to go down.

I have started to smirk at my unknown, but now recognized tendency to write the ending of many stories in my life when they have barely begun. I call it running ahead of God. I also catch myself thinking, “I know what the other person is going to say.” In my thoughts I finish their sentence and stop listening to what they are actually saying.

I have also uncovered that I have often operated in a “fixed mindset!”  Working out my brain has become very strenuous but very worth it. If I could have a do over in life…I would love to be a neurologist or a neuroscientist. I am fascinated by the greatest computer of all time, our brains/minds. Learning to use them the way God intended can change the whole dynamic of our lives.

Dr. Caroline Leaf and Dr. Carol S. Dweck have been my major teachers through their books, TED talks and in-person lectures I have been able to go to. Both have over 30 years of research and study to back up their work. Along with them, an in-person Christian counselor who weekly holds me accountable to this mind work out has taught me much.

I don’t believe I can overstate the importance of the command found in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and also allowing the two experts I have mentioned help you with this mind “work out!”

Dr. Dweck’s book, “The Mindset,” was an uncomfortable read and forced me to analyze my own mindset. I didn’t like what I discovered. I wanted to be a growth mindset person but in many ways I was convicted of the opposite, a “fixed mindset!” OUCH!

But what was worse was realizing that many of the things which I have said and done, thinking I was encouraging others and building them up, especially our children, were in fact helping them to fail. O>>>U>>>C>>>H!

The good news? I have been working on changing my “Mindset” for six years now. In the Back 9 of life God has called me to encourage others to lead a life of significance. Yes, our kids are grown and gone. But God, in His goodness and mercy, has shown me several ways to keep investing in them and others. I am still their mother and I can do better, be better and live out loud. I can change how I think thus change what I say and do. I can be transparent with my regrets and help those coming behind me, especially our grown adult children and others who know me and read what I write, to examine what I am saying.

Christian counseling has helped me with my wanting to beat myself up! God only holds us accountable for what we know, and NOW I know better and can be better and do better. I mimicked much of what my parents said and did and while they did so much right, I now see that some of my learned behaviors and ways of doing things were the best they knew how to do, but not correct.

Growing is something I have committed to doing for the rest of my life. It is uncomfortable and I am tempted when I am learning and growing to “beat myself up” over self discoveries that aren’t too pretty…but I am learning to see God’s goodness and grace and a chance for some do-overs.

Lamentations 3:21-23, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Point of post:  I am encouraging you, even begging you, to examine your thoughts.

It is vital to life. Knowing your thoughts, taking them captive and redirecting them can bring about an abundant life that you may not even know exists. We hear about an abundant life in Christ but may never experience it because we make the choice NOT to do the work out of the “mind!”

“God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad, and get rid of them.” ~Caroline Leaf

“Lay yourself open to the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the words of the apostle Paul so that everything can be dismantled and then your brain, your mind, and your thoughts can be taken captive and everything brought into conformity to Christ.” ~John Piper


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