As a parent, I have come to love the actual New Year more than the one night a year I used to ring it in with fun festivities. Since having children, my New Years Eve looks more like an excuse for us to binge watch a show until midnight, then fall fast asleep in hopes my kids don’t want to be up bright and early the next day.
As my New Year's Eve festivities have changed, so has my understanding of the fresh start a new year brings. While we can’t wipe the slate clean and become a new person overnight, we can make small shifts to make our identity become more like Christ in the coming year.
The journey to become more Christlike starts in our minds, which are complex and beautiful, shining a light on the handiwork of God. It amazes me that something weighing only 3 pounds contains the control center for our entire being. That squiggly, grey orb in your head is a complex network of chemicals and electrical impulses that somehow converge to produce your unique thoughts, perceptions, and identity. Wow.
Our identities are primarily formed by our beliefs about ourselves and God, along with the way we project those beliefs to the world. We both think and feel that a belief is true. Our thoughts play an important role in shaping our beliefs and are the gateway into changing our beliefs. It’s hard to will yourself to change your feelings about something, but thoughts can be more easily captured and examined.
CAPTURING OUR THOUGHTS
As we examine our thoughts in order to love God with all of our mind, we should ask ourselves:
Are my thoughts kind and loving towards myself, others, and God? Do my thoughts line up with the truth of what God says about Himself, His world, and me?
Do I loop back through that one time I was betrayed, hurt, or sad, and feel like I did when it first happened?
Do I notice all of the flaws about something first?
Do I dwell on what is lovely and beautiful about my life?
Do I complain to myself throughout the day?
The list of questions could go on, but the point is this:
Our inner monologue is shaping our beliefs, which are shaping our identity.
If we complain about everything all day long, can we truly say with all of your mind that we believe God is good? Does complaining about our coworker, spouse, or children reflect what God says about their worth? If we are picking apart our body or personality, are we praising God because we are fearfully and wonderfully made? (Ps. 139:14) When our thoughts are filled with things that aren’t true, God’s work on shaping our identities into the image of Christ is disrupted.
So, as we purpose to love God with all of our mind (Luke 10:27), we must “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). And we must follow the admonition in Colossians 3:2, “set your mind on things above and not on things of this earth,” for, “just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [God’s] ways higher than your ways and [God’s] thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Daily Bible reading and Scripture memory are just a few steps to fill our minds with truth so we can rightly love God with all of our mind. I have been on the journey to live by 2 Corinthians 10:5 for several years now. It has been difficult, but has restored so much joy and peace in my life. May loving the Lord with your mind do the same for you.
Meet the Author!
Phoebe is a therapist in private practice at Bethany Counseling Center, mom to the very lively Vivi and very chill Charlie, and wife to Jeff. You may spot her out and about at almost any Target in the area with a coconut milk latte in hand. She enjoys nonfiction books, Disney movies, and helping others find peace and healing in the hope of the Gospel.
This blog is meant to further the conversation about mental health and is not intended as medical or professional advice.