It's time to introduce week four of the discipline challenge. Let's start with a little recap. So far we have covered...
Week 1: The body
Week 2: Time
Week 3: The Spirit
I have been doing better with time and spirit challenges but am falling a bit with the body challenge. I have probably done a workout once or twice a week instead of the five I had hoped to do.
For week four our focus is on disciplining the mind.
As Courtney mentions in her post (view it here), we tend to have a lot going on and as a result can build up brain clutter. There are so many things calling for our attention and we can often feel pulled in a thousand different directions all at once. Therefore it is easy to get so overwhelmed and distracted that nothing gets accomplished.
The discipline of the mind could go many ways, but for this purpose we are choosing to focus on how to de-clutter and simplify in order to cultivate a more peaceful mind. One thing we can do to organize the mind better is simply to pray. Oftentimes when I have too many things swirling around in my mind all I need to do is take a moment to give some of those things to God and I feel much more at ease.
Philippians 4:6-7The second thing that we can do is de-clutter our home and lives. When you deal with less physical clutter you deal with less clutter in the mind. I notice that if my home is a mess I feel anxious and have a hard time feeling motivated. Think about this...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“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.” -Elizabeth ElliotIt is also important to de-clutter our lives. Maybe you have a jam packed schedule and don't have two minutes to get your head on straight in the midst of it all. Or maybe you just get too easily distracted by things that should not hold all of your attention. I have noticed that it is too easy to spend hours in front of the computer or television only to realize that half the day is wasted. Not to say that these things are bad, but if it it is your instinct, as it is oftentimes mine, to just sit in front of the computer because it is there then maybe you need to be aware of that tendency and check your motives for spending time in that area. I am also reminded of a commercial where a women suddenly blurts out facts when talking to a friend. I don't recall what the commercial was for but in this information age when we have access to so much knowledge at the click of a button it can become overwhelming to the extent that we have a brain full of useless facts that it can be hard to focus our mind and lives on what is actually important.
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.
So for the challenge this week:
Prayerfully 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? Prayerfully 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.