You are loving. You are joyful. You have peace. You are patient. You are kind. You are good. You are gentle. You are faithful. You are self-controlled. That is Christ in you! The real question is, do you believe it?
Living the transformed life starts with a change of mindset. But how does that happen? How do we change our mindset? Read on for some helpful instructions and check out the Sunday sermon on this if you missed it.
In Romans 8, Paul repeatedly calls us to “live in accordance with,” “walk in accordance with,” and to “govern” our minds. These are active, present tense instructions. Paul is instructing us to make a choice, to set our mind, to pay attention to our worldview and perspective, and to make a decision. We can actually change our beliefs by choosing different ones. Imagine that!! We get to choose what we think about, what we meditate on. We get to choose to align our thoughts with the reality of the Spirit or not. Easier said than done, right?
Here are some helpful exercises to help you change your mindset. Give some of them a try. I have found all of them to be extremely helpful in different seasons and circumstances. I hope you do, too!
1. Focus, feel and sink into the feelings, emotions, thoughts, sensations and commentaries in your mind, soul and body.
2. Welcome the presence of the Risen Lord into the feelings, emotions, thoughts and commentaries or sensations you are feeling in your mind, soul and body by saying, “Welcome Lord.”
3. Let go by repeating the following sentences: “I let go of the desire for security, affection, control. I let go of the desire to change this feeling/sensation.”
Similar to the welcome prayer, the Pause is exactly what it sounds like – a pause. It’s an intentional pause before you speak or before you act. It’s the opposite of acting impulsively. When you feel your emotions begin to ramp up, stop for a moment and pause. Check in with yourself and with Jesus. What are you about to do? Why? Has something triggered you? What will the consequences be? Is this the real you or a shadow of your old self (spirit or flesh)? You may need to pray the Welcoming Prayer, remove yourself from the situation and/or take a deep breath, pray and proceed on!
A great way to pray is to look for God’s presence in your life. More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us. Try this version of St. Ignatius’s prayer.
Step 1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.
Step 2. Review the day with gratitude. Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.
Step 3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?
God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short. Make note of these sins and faults. But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work? Are you concerned about a friend? Perhaps you should reach out to her in some way.
Step 4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.
Step 5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.
St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Ask for his protection and help. Ask for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. Your life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. End the Daily Examen with the Our Father.
Speak the Truth Out Loud
Read this comprehensive list of Biblical truths that reveal who God made you to be. Pick a few that really stand out to you and hang them in your bathroom or in your car. Say them out loud every day.
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies! But it’s also good for our minds – especially in the drudgery of Michigan winters and let’s be honest, springs! Check out this list of 13 mental health benefits of exercise.
Let me know if you have any other mind-resetting exercises to add to this list. If you try some of these out and they are helpful to you, please write and let me know. I’d love to share your story!