Spring cleaning the mind is an excellent starting point for any sprucing up we wish to do! Whether it be in our homes or in our lives, our thoughts provide a foundation. Thoughts can facilitate healing and motivate us and they can also limit our growth by tying us to false ideas.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ~ Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV)
This verse goes on to tell about a man who says the right things in order to sound generous, but in his mind, is only calculating the cost of what he’s offering. Here, the author King Solomon indicates what is going on behind the scenes within our thoughts, is a truer depiction of who we are than what happens outwardly in our behavior or spoken word.
Faking it and keeping up appearances is such a struggle! And going through the motions certainly doesn’t reflect a heart transformed. So what can we do to think the right way so that both our thoughts and behavior are aligned with Christ?
It seems the first step may be to recognize we have a choice!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
What Does it Mean to Renew Your Mind?
The verb ‘renew’ means to reestablish after an interruption, give fresh life or strength to, to revive, and to replace or restore something that has been worn out or broken. Depending on your vantage point in life this very day, different parts of that loose definition will resonate deeper than others. I certainly know what it means to be worn out and have a tired mind in need of restoration and fresh strength.
Surely if it were this easy, to snap fingers or set our mind on renewal and have it come to pass, why would any of us get stuck in thoughts that limit our faith and trust in God, as well as our relationships with others? Mainly because our mind is working to protect us but gets it wrong a lot of the time. Limiting beliefs come in an array of wild and crazy sounding things that no one would choose to believe. Our mind has interpreted circumstances as dangerous and wants to protect us from future harm.
Unfortunately, our mind often overreacts and overgeneralizes with sweeping statements like “I am only valued when I’m busy.” or “If I heal from this physical condition it means I could have prevented it in the first place. It is safer to stay ill and not risk others knowing I failed.” Like I said. Wild and crazy and nothing you’d sign up to have guiding your life. We’ll learn more about acknowledging limiting beliefs toward the end of the post when we review the last tool on our list. If limiting beliefs are a new subject matter to you, I suggest you read this post to get the info you initially came for, then circle back to the post linked just below.
Learn more on Limiting Beliefs and How Holistic Spirituality helps to confront them here!
So if our thoughts are often working against us in this misguided attempt to protect us, what power can we exert? Will it be necessary to stay in this cycle of recognizing limiting beliefs and spring cleaning the mind, only to repeat indefinitely?
Possibly. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Knowledge is power and just seeing this need exists brings you the freedom to do something about it! The 4 tools listed below will help you become more sensitive to when your mind is in need of renewal and provide you with fail-proof methods of exchanging your thoughts.
In Paul’s encouragement in the verses above (Romans 12:1-2), there are three things we must do.
- In acknowledging the mercies of God, we are prompted to respond by presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, yielding to God in all things. We aren’t sacrificing in order to receive mercy. We receive mercy, this grace upon grace, and then in response, trustingly and willingly yield ourselves to God!
- We receive so many messages on who we should be, how we should present ourselves, and what our value is to others. We can actively refuse to conform by letting these ideas guide us.
- Instead, we renew or bring new life and strength in by seeking God above all else.
Tucked between the advice to refuse and that to renew, is the part God does in us. When we turn down the volume on the world’s speaker box, and turn up the Word of God, we are transformed in our thoughts.Spring cleaning your thoughts is a choice. It means recognizing there is clutter & clearing it out to make room for God's renewal & transformation. Click To Tweet
Benefits of Renewing Your Mind
There are many benefits of renewing your mind and they all center on this idea of transformation.
According to David Guzik’s Study Guide for Romans 12, we find the Greek word in Romans 12:2 that is translated to ‘transformed’ is ‘metamorphoo’ which indicates a metamorphosis. It is the same word used to describe the glorious transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9:2-3. The only additional place that Paul uses this word for transformation is in 2 Corinthians.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
So as we exercise wise decision making in choosing to reject the world and renew our minds, the Lord who is the Spirit brings holistic transformation, eliminating the need to fake it or go through the motions. It is done.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
4 Tools for Spring Cleaning Your Mind
When setting an intention for spring cleaning your mind, it will be helpful to have tools in place for bringing renewal. These tools will set you in the right place to recognize when an adjustment is needed and guide you in the right direction.
1. Spring Cleaning Your Mind with the Word of God
The Bible lays out a clear expectation for managing or taking captive every thought. It provides invaluable truth that you can put to use when spring cleaning your mind.
It is important to carve time out of your schedule to read the Bible. An important support beam to reading the Bible is to give yourself enough time to read slowly, research deeper meaning when needed, and pray over it. Two tools I use to support my reading and understanding are the commentaries found in the Blue Letter Bible app and the Bible Recap reading plan and podcast.
In spring cleaning your mind, a follow-up step to reading the Bible is to affirm it over your life. It is difficult if not impossible to remove one habit or thought pattern without replacing it with another. This is the changing part of the habit! You don’t just quit unwanted thoughts. You exchange them!
What God Says About You Matters!
Check out this Guide to writing Bible Affirmations that match God’s truth.
2. Spring Cleaning Your Mind Through the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has a number of divine actions and spiritual gifts available to us that support our intention of renewal through spring cleaning the mind.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:4-7 (NIV) emphasis mine
When reading the Bible and affirming it in your life, actively invite the Holy Spirit to remind you of what you know to be true. guide you in wisdom, and make you sensitive to anything that sets up an argument with that truth.
3. spring cleaning your mind with Guided Christian Meditation
We can’t release what we have not held. Meditation isn’t usually about clearing the mind of all thought. Instead, when we meditate, we are alert and focused increasing the length of time between our thoughts. Here at Holistic Faith Lifestyle, guided Christian meditation always includes a period of silent focus. This allows you to move the focus off what I say in guided Christian meditation and hear from God. By returning to this practice of quiet stillness, you are creating a routine for allowing time to be reminded by the Holy Spirit of what is true about God. It strengthens your identity in Christ and produces good spiritual fruit.
Each Monday, I send out links to my new Christian meditation YouTube videos by email. Subscribers to this list also receive access to my own Weekly Meditation Playlist as a tool for staying grounded in the Word every day. Want on the list? Just fill out the form below! You’ll have a weekly reminder and daily resource for spring cleaning your mind.
4. Spring Cleaning Your Mind by Thinking on These Things
As you work through spring cleaning your mind, actively seek “these things” as a way to remind yourself of God’s existence in every situation. If you cannot see them in the present, remember where they were visible in the past and recall all that God has promised to do for those who believe.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. ~Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV)
Just as we have a choice in whether we conform to the world or set ourselves in a position to be transformed, we have a choice in our thoughts.
It is important to note that being mindful of your thoughts isn’t the same of sweeping them under the rug. Remember, we discussed the idea of spring cleaning your mind isn’t to treat the outward symptoms but to bring yourself into a surrendered posture, ready for the transformation that comes glory by glory, day by day.
Though our mind overreacts and overgeneralizes in a way to offer sweeping protection, we do have the power and responsibility to take corrective action. The next time the Holy Spirit creates an awareness of a thought that stands in opposition to God’s truth, try this simple method of Acknowledge and Exchange. It works like this. Acknowledge the truth that is at the root of your limiting belief and cover it in God’s word with an affirmation. The affirmation can be about who you are in Christ or who God is.
Recall my wild and crazy, no-one-would-sign-up-for-this (or readily admit!) examples above.
“I am only valued when I’m busy.”
This could be replaced with, “Even if others only value me when I am busy, I am always valued by God who provides for me. It is safe to rest.”
“If I heal from this physical condition it means I could have prevented it in the first place. It is safer to stay ill and not risk others knowing I failed.”
This could be replaced with, “Even though I created this situation, I am ready to heal. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Spring Cleaning Your Mind for Renewal
Remember that life is all about learning and loving. As we learn and love, we grow. Part of this gift is that we accumulate a lot of wisdom in the process. Never let your “aha” moments about what you would do differently if given another chance build regret or resentment in your heart. Purposely choose to see this as a lesson learned and wisdom gained! Then, show gratitude by praising God for guiding you through every single one of life’s lessons. Let everything serve to bring God glory and rest in knowing you are never alone!
How do you know when you need to renew your mind? What’s your first line of defense?