In today’s post, a fellow renewer-of-the-mind answers some questions I posed to her about her experience with the renewing of the mind:
In some ways, I began as soon as I accepted Christ. Right away, I started memorizing Scripture and applying it to my life. But at some point, in a strange way, it became a tool of the enemy.
I would learn what the Bible said, and then see myself and my failures so clearly in its light. Unfortunately, I sometimes got stuck there with self-loathing. I could now see so clearly what Jesus was like, and how unlike Him I was.
About 5 years ago a dear friend challenged me with a more methodical application of truth to the lies I allowed to play over and over in my head. That’s when I began to actively replace lies with truth.
How has God changed your life through the renewing of the mind?
God is helping me to appreciate the process of growing in Him.
One of the things I struggle with is perfectionism. I have this underlying fear that I am inordinately selfish and manipulative – far more than any normal person. And to be acceptable in spite of this grave flaw, I must override this evil – or at least subdue it.
If I am smart, good-looking, busy, and perfect, people might believe that I am actually a good person, not the selfish, manipulative, mean-hearted person I am, and then they will love me. Sad, isn’t it?
Now I am quicker to recognize lies. This keeps me from spiraling down emotionally.
I’ve become much more discerning about my own motives, but also more diligent to apply the truth of grace, and that is resulting in becoming more gracious to others and to myself.
I know you’ve had a deep Bible study habit for a long time. What was different when you first started making a conscious effort to throw off the lies and put on the truth?
Scripture can be a mirror, but for me that was sometimes used to beat myself up. By choosing to renew my mind with verses that speak to a particular struggle, I’m able to stay in the truth on that issue. How I do that has varied, depending on the trial.
Sometimes I write Bible verses on index cards and keep them in my pocket to pull out and read each time I’m tempted to mentally listen to a lie.
Other times I write out all of my thoughts and emotions because they are so mixed up in my head. I truth journal for things that get really entwined with my own sense of failure and shame.
Truth-Action-Submission* has also become a back-pocket mantra that I sometimes draw on and it is a quick easy way to corral my thoughts back to Jesus.
Was it hard to establish the habit? If so, what helped?
Yes, it was hard. What helped was being desperate for help, and recognizing that the direction I was going did not have a “happy ending”!
I began with truth journaling once a day, and having scriptures on cards that I could refer to each time my thoughts went the bad way.
Accountability really was huge too. Knowing that my friend cared enough to ask if what I was doing was good for me and if I was applying truth to my situation.
* From the Bible study, Freedom from Emotional Eating.