Before you go any further, I tricked you with that title. Oops. This post is not an answer or a HOW-TO, but the beginning of a conversation I want to have with you. You, who are struggling with the free-for-all that is your mind plaguing your confidence, stealing your joy. In all fairness, it wasn't a total trick. I do believe that the beginning of this conversation is the start to the answer. The start is the hardest part.
I've always been hard on myself. From volleyball, to my desired music career, to grades, to friendships, and now career paths, and big dreams, I rarely cut myself any slack. I don't think I even know what REST looks like.
In the interest of practicing FREE, I've decided to look anxiety and discontent square in the jaw and pop that sucker a new one.
I want it gone, and my sweet Heavenly Father wants it gone, too.
I stumbled across Val Marie's, Renew: A 14-Day Challenge on Instagram and through her newsletter. I was so pumped to start that I signed up mid-painting, brush-in-hand. The next morning I sat with my coffee, feet up on some moving boxes (they make for a great ottoman with a stray pillow on top) and dug in.
Val had the audacity to throw out an earth-shattering question in the very first e-mail.
What is your thought life like right now?
You mean, what is my thought-life like during my quiet time, right?
No, right now. In the next five minutes. Later today when things don't go as planned.
What really and truly DOMINATES your thoughts?
I cringed as I followed instructions and began to journal things such as:
- The current state of my abs--or lack thereof
- Is our house ever going to be good enough to host a party?
- The fact that I'm not--and never will be, according to these mega-rude thoughts--a full-time writer
- Who am I to present at a national conference? Who am I to go to graduate school?
- My inadequacy as a wife
- Our inability to purchase a full house worth of furniture in one sitting
- Jealousy of entrepreneurs in general
- Jealousy of my friends back home and all the fun they get to have together
That's just the PG stuff. The thoughts I saw on that page (shameless plug for a steady journaling practice) were not thoughts that breed abundant life and freedom in Christ. Sure, I believe those things to exist and be true, but the thoughts I allow to enter my mind don't let me experience it for what it should be.
They don't help me to see myself as God sees me. They don't seem to even let me believe that GOD SEES ME.
Last fall, I sat on the floor in the hallway with a student in tears about the thoughts living in her mind. I told her, "You can't allow your mind to tell you things you would never say to someone else."
You're ugly. You'll never reach your dreams. You're worthless. You don't deserve your husband. You're destined for a mediocre, unenjoyable life. You will never be able to let go of the handles of the achievement treadmill.
Would you tell those things to a friend, or even a stranger on the street? Looks like once again, I need to take my own advice.
God says (from What God Thinks About You, Desiring God):
You are a friend of Jesus. You are valuable. You are new. You have the Holy Spirit. You will be transformed. You represent the Lord. Your work in Christ Jesus will be carried to completion.
So, I am extending two invitations to start this conversation:
- What is your thought-life like right now? Journal on your own, or comment below! I would love to encourage you.
- Sign up for that 14-Day Challenge (linked above), and root yourself in The One who gives you worth, value, purpose.