Dallas Willard once said (somewhere) that the key to our development as followers of Jesus is to change our "thinking about our thinking." Paul said that transformation is spurred on by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2) because our minds inform our hearts, and our hearts drive our motivations and actions. We get consumed sometimes by trying to change what we DO, when the problem really starts in what we're THINKING. So, today let me offer three critical questions we can take into a prayerful conversation with God that may lead us to some conclusions about our thinking. I would suggest doing this reflection at the end of our heavy efforts for today, or even tomorrow morning, as you'll need some experiences to use as raw material for this exercise.
1. Father, what has my mind been preoccupied with today?
2. Father, what destructive thoughts have gone through my mind today? What life-giving thoughts have gone through my mind today?
3. Father, where have I acted out of those destructive thoughts? Where have I acted out of the life-giving thoughts?
Allow yourself to dwell on each question for a moment, listening quietly for God to bring clarity to your mind. It may help to write down the events of your day or any to-do items that are in the front of your mind BEFORE doing this exercise so that you can clear out the clutter and give God space to bring things to mind. Be ready to write down whatever insights you gain from these questions, and allow God to instruct you on how to change your thinking. An exploration of Jesus' actions in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) will help you understand how Jesus thought about God and will help you see areas where God wants to change your mind.
Remember that this exercise is about letting God help you examine your thoughts so don't be discouraged if events and ideas from the day start coming to mind. Let them be the subject of your prayer: as each thought comes up, offer it to God and say Here is what I'm thinking, show me what is true and good or what is evil and destructive here.
My hope is that you begin to discover the goodness and hope that comes when our lives are transformed by allowing God to "Search (us)...and know (our hearts) today" (Ps. 139)