Picture this. You just purchased a rickety old house (because that’s all you could afford), and you’re standing in the living room, keys in hand. Looking at all you need to work on.
How would you feel at that moment?
Would you think, I can’t believe I bought this house! What was I thinking? then go out for a little Dairy Queen blizzard?
Would you skip off to dinner and a movie, expecting the house to magically transform itself with no effort on your part?
Would you make a plan right now this very instant to do every single house project on your list simultaneously?
Or would you just choose a project—whichever area of the house needed it the most—make a plan and start working?
I think we can all agree that the last option would be the best option.
But here’s what we do with our own “self-improvement” projects. The areas of our lives that don’t look so good.
- We beat ourselves up because we’re so bad.
- We expect to be magically changed because “we’re Christians now!”
- We claim the power of God in our lives to change us, then get discouraged and maybe even start doubting when we don’t see God’s power doing anything. (This is a variation of the last option.)
- We try to work on everything at once because obviously there are so many things we need to change.
- Or we look at all the other frail human Christians living around us and think, I’m not so bad compared to them, then go on to live an untransformed life.
The interesting thing is that whether we try really hard to change or don’t try a speck to change, the result is the same: we don’t change if it’s an area of our lives that we can’t change in our own strength. And we all have those areas!
Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind
But what if we were to take a different approach to growth? The home improvement project approach? Choose one area of our lives—an area that could use a little help—then make a commitment to renew our minds consistently in that area so we could see some change?
That’s what a renewing of the mind project is. It’s a project where you make a goal—I want to worry less, I want to stop being annoyed with this person, I want to break my too-much-Internet habit, I want to start a quiet-time habit—and then take actual steps (both practical and spiritual) to see that goal come to pass.
I’ve used this approach in my own life for 20+ years and have seen God change me in countless ways. Not only has He given me victories in some of the areas I thought I’d never change, but He’s also brought me closer to Him as I’ve partnered with Him in working on transformation.
That said, it hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to renew my mind about the same old lies that were keeping me stuck over and over and over again. Go back to the same old Bible passages and try to see things from God’s perspective. Look once again for practical things I could do to help me change. Research to see how other Christians made those changes. Keep pressing on when every bone in my body wanted to quit.
But has it been worth all the work? Yes, yes, and again yes! God really does change us when we take the time to renew consistently in one area of our lives.
Renew Your Mind Project
It may be a habit, it may be an emotion such as insecurity or anxiety, or it may be a sin that’s been plaguing you forever.
Commit to renewing your mind every day about that habit, sin or emotion and watch God transform you with His truth.
If you’d like a book to walk you through the process, check out my book, the Renewing of the Mind Project. It includes worksheets, renewing activities, and explanations to help you do your first (and ongoing) projects.
If a book isn’t in the budget right now, click on the link below that corresponds to your project. Then go to the Renewing of the Mind Tools tab for ideas on how to renew your mind.
- Lose Weight
- Break a Habit
- Let Go of Negative Emotions
- Start a Habit
- Pursue a Goal
- How to Do a Renewing of the Mind Project
You can also find helpful blog posts corresponding to your project by clicking on the tabs at the top of the blog: lose weight, break a habit, pursue a goal, and live in peace (this is the letting go of negative emotions tab). Each tab has a pull-down menu, so look at all the items on the menu below the tab for further help. Here are some other resources that may be helpful:
- Leader’s Guide for the Renewing of the Mind Project
- The Renewing of the Mind Project: This is the book I published in 2015 after three years of writing about the renewing of the mind on my blog. Click here for resources mentioned in the book.
- Renewing of the Mind Bible Study Series
- Example of me working through one of my own renewing of the mind projects – 4 posts on excerpts from my journal about insecurity in blogging and writing.
- Christian Couch Potatoes: Blog post about what a day in the life of a person who is working through an annoyance project might look like.
- Renewing of the Mind Tools: practical how-to blog posts with hands-on tools you can use to renew your mind.
- Christian Habits Podcast