If you want to revisit the first 3 weeks of this series here are the links:
How are you doing with the challenges? Update us in the comment section – this is your accountability! On weight loss I’m around 3 pounds…on time management…I’m feverishly writing lists and on Spirit - I consistently (but not perfectly) gave the first minute of everyday to being in God’s word last week.
Now we are to week 4 – Disciplining Our Mind!
Do you feel like you have a lot of brain clutter? On days when I’m overwhelmed, I feel like I’m losing it! There’s a lot of noise in our world – voices come at us from facebook, twitter, television, cell phones, our family, political figures, spiritual leaders, and inner noise of our own muddled thinking.
Relational issues, spiritual issues, time management issues, financial issues and weight issues all take up space in our brain and can cause brain clutter. This noise in our heads can cause us to lose the peace of mind that God wants for us. Sometimes it’s because we are too busy, over committed, or own way too much stuff. Other times it’s because we have a past that haunts us, a spouse who is difficult or a child who consumes our mind with concern. And many times it’s because we are lacking in prayer.
Philippians 4:6,7, says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This post will only scratch the surface of a very broad topic of discipline of the mind. I could take this in many many directions but for the purposes of this week’s challenge - we will keep it simple since simplicity is something very lacking in our culture!
Elizabeth Elliot writes: “A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind. Muddled thinking inevitably results in muddled living. A house that is cluttered is usually lived in by people whose minds are also cluttered, who need to simplify their lives. This begins with simplifying and clarifying their thinking. Mind and life need to be freed from the “disorder of the unnecessary.”
There is a lot of wisdom packed into this little quote, so let’s break down this quote and apply it to our own lives.
“A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind.”
Would you say you are leading a SIMPLE and orderly life? The reality is – life in 2012 is extremely complex. We own more things and have more food, church and career choices than any generation before us. We have more voices speaking into our lives through computer technology than ever before. Life is complex…and it’s affecting our ability to think clearly.
“Muddled thinking inevitably results in muddled living.”
Because our thinking has become muddled by so much information – our living has become muddled. If we are not filtering all of the information we read through God’s word – we will lack the peace of God that will guard our hearts and minds that Philippians 4:7 speaks of.
“A house that is cluttered is usually lived in by people whose minds are also cluttered, who need to simplify their lives.”
Look around your house – would you say it’s simple or cluttered? Elizabeth suggests that a house that is cluttered usually (there are exceptions to this) is lived in by people whose minds are cluttered. So if you are not the exception and you live in a cluttered house – the solution to get some clear thinking back is to declutter. But how and where do we begin?
“This begins with simplifying and clarifying their thinking.”
Recently I cleaned through our stacks of bins on tall shelves that I keep in our garage. As I pulled down the bins and took a peak inside I was mortified at the junk I was keeping! I had old Elmo party decorations that I used for my son’s second birthday and I thought I might use them again – so I was storing them…my son is 9! I had decorations I bought the first year of our marriage stored in case I might want to use them again someday…you know – in case I change our color scheme! We’ve been married 14 years! I had old college newspapers…why? I don’t know why? I guess at the time I couldn’t part with them! Clearly I’m going to end up on the show “Hoarders” if I don’t start getting rid of these things! lol!
“Mind and life need to be freed from the “disorder of the unnecessary.”
And there’s our challenge!
Week 4′s Challenge:
Prayfully identify one unnecessary thing you can eliminate from your life. Is there a room, cupboard or closet you need to clean out? Clean it out this week! If clutter is not an issue for you - maybe it’s your calender. Is it so jam packed full with to-do’s that there’s no room for you to think and pray clearly? Prayfully eliminate something from your calender. Are you spending too much time on your computer, ipad or watching too much television? Choose to limit your time this week – in exchange for some quiet moments of reflection, being in God’s word, praying or reading a mind enriching book.
Be brave and throw out anything in your house you have not used or worn in over a year. Be brave and limit your children’s activities that require the family to be on the run 24/7. Be brave and quit saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way! (I just sent an email this morning to the 3rd media company this year that would like to do a television interview. I didn’t even bother to hear their pitch – I simply said – “my plate is full” because it is and there is no way it could be God’s will for me to give any more time to my on-line ministry during this season of my children’s lives – no matter how inviting the offer.)
You know the saying “If the devil can’t make you bad – he’ll make you busy.” Let’s not be the ones caught in that trap!!!
What one unnecessary thing are you going to eliminate from your life this week? Leave a comment letting me know your commitment and if you are a blogger, write about this challenge or the past 3 week’s challenges and link-up below!
Walk with the King,