Mantra (part iii).

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.  (Romans 12:2, Bible version ESV)

Change your thoughts and change your world.  (Norman Vincent Peale)

Ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”?  What better place to see this in action than in the realm of our bodies.  Obesity is a rampant problem in our society, and there is a big reason why.  We eat whatever we want and do nothing to work it away.  Eat McDonald’s every day and see what happens to your waste line – and imagine your arteries!  The junk we put into our bodies will eventually be revealed.

I think this can apply to our minds as well.  The mental diet we keep will eventually reveal itself through our words and actions.  And, depending on the “fat” content, the effects could bring problems.

That is why it’s important to renew your mind.  Just like exercise and nutritional eating cleanse the body, renewal of the mind rids it of the junk we feed it.  The bible focuses a lot on the mind as the centerpiece to transformation (See Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:1-2, Romans 8:7, Hebrews 12:1-2).  That’s because our mind can tend to lead our heart.  Renewal creates healthy, fertile soil for the mind to grow in.

I have discovered a few practices that truly make a difference for renewal.

  1. Bible study and meditation.  Whether  you believe in  God or not, there is incredible wisdom and insight into life that can be found in the bible.  Take a look at the book of Proverbs.  Thoughts on life from the wisest, wealthiest man in history.  I have seen many blogs with the theme statement “thoughts on _____.”  Well this would be Solomon’s blog.  Check it out.  But don’t just read it.  Chew on it like a cow chews on its food.  Work out every bit of flavor and sustenance you possibly can…and then chew some more.
  2. Read.  I love reading.  Glad I learned how!  Books, blogs, magazines…whatever I can learn from, bring it on.  I want to be learning something constantly.  It challenges me and stretches me.  I try to read stuff that will stretch my thinking so that my mind stays flexible.  This helps me handle all aspects of life in a better, more meaningful way.
  3. Pray.  I have found that nothing renews me more than time talking with Creator God.  He knows me better than anyone else, including myself, and He understands this world like no one else.  I try to spend time listening to Him in silence as much as talking, but I’m not very good at that.  It is important to talk to Him, but don’t miss what He has to say either.  I recently read a transcript from an interview Dan Rather conducted with Mother Teresa on her prayer life that takes listening to God to a whole new level.
    “When you pray,” asked Rather, “what do you say to God?”
    “I don’t say anything,” she replied.  “I listen.”
    Rather tried another track.
    “Well, okay…when God speaks to you, then, what does He say?”
    “He doesn’t say anything.  He listens.”
    Rather looked bewildered.  For an instant, he didn’t know what to say.
    “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”

Prayer brings not only a connection with God, but also one with ourselves.  It initiates a process of self-analysis, if we allow it, as God enables us to see from His perspective.

Renewal is vital to a healthy life.  What I have listed are but three avenues to renewal, albeit important ones.

What are other ways you renew your mind?

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