Ok. I get a C- when it comes to being a Christian woman taking care of herself. I just can’t seem to think about self-care differently. One of my recent Christian blog posts generated a lot of discussion from other busy moms and women. It wasn’t so much about “how to be Christ-like” as it was about changing how we think.
I think a correlation between the two exists.
The subject was how we habitually neglect ourselves as we care for everyone else. I must confess, that new behaviors and habits are very difficult to incorporate into a fast-moving lifestyle like mine. I don’t have time to learn new ways of caring for myself, but I must figure it out one way or another.
I just feel so busy.
Especially when you factor in work, motherhood, church-hood, wife-hood, student-hood, daughter-hood, girlfriend-hood….and the list goes on and on, Christian Woman.
But still, that’s no excuse. We, as Christian women, can change for the better and not only in the context of self-care but also in how to be Christ-like – which is really what I want to talk about.
Research that is interesting…at least to me.
As a consultant, I’m certified in an intriguing curriculum called “Increasing Human Effectiveness” (IHE). The cornerstone of the workshops is change management. I think several of these principles will help us, as Christian women, make positive changes in our personal lives and be more like the Lord at the same time.
I think they speak to the “transforming of our minds” that must happen for us to become better.
How IHE says can be useful as we try to be Christ-like
The research says we are a combination of complexities.
We are mental beings, spiritual beings, and physical beings as well. Of the most powerful is the mental capacity or the mind.
It’s true. Our Heavenly Father gave us the ability to control our minds and even transform them.
Here’s how it can all play out:
1. Our conscious mind and how to be Christ-like
Your conscious mind evaluates and associates data as it enters your brain, according to the IHE research.
For example, it sees cake and says “That’s good. You want it”. If you’re anything like me, you then eat it.
Essentially, the conscious mind decides upon the course of action you should take.
IHE calls it the “judge”. That part of your mind decides what’s good and what’s yucky – or what you should do or not do – and you’re fully aware the entire time. You’re conscious of it.
We use our conscious mind when we intentionally ponder “how to be Christ-like.” When you ask yourself “how can I be a blessing today?” You’re using your conscious mind, Girl!
Another example is when you intentionally put an extra $20.00 in your purse with the sole intent of giving it away to one of the church mothers.
2. Then, there is the subconscious mind.
Some call this your spirit. This is the place where your personal reality is stored and it handles your activities and habits.
Think of it as a massive data container.
It’s unbiased and non-judgmental. It just takes in the data you feed it and eventually you act on that information – whether you intend to or not (SCARY).
If you continually say “I cannot”, I guarantee you won’t.
If you think and tell yourself you have no self-control, you’ll see evidence of that in your life over and over again.
This is the part of yourself that essentially acts on the “program” you entered into your mental “hard drive”.
The research says it’s the part of ourselves that just acts automatically based on what we allow into our belief system.
“I have a short temper.”
“I can’t stop eating chocolate.”
“My relationships never work.”
“I can’t control my mouth.”
That’s why it’s very important that we feed the subconscious straight from the Word and things that do not conflict with the Bible.
Thinking only on the good things.
“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
The thinking is the “conscious mind” and when you do it enough, the subconscious mind will make sure you act like you’re “supposed” to act based on what you entered.
I think this is why daily reading the Word of God is so important too. The Holy Spirit speaks, moves, and attaches the Word to our hearts and we begin to transform.
We begin to be more Christ-like – even when we aren’t trying. Cool, right?
An example is when people tell children they are bad over and over. It becomes ingrained in their subconscious (or spirit) and eventually, the child begins to behave badly almost without trying to be “bad.” His subconscious tells him he’s bad, so that’s how he behaves.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Manage the mind to change habits.
We can control our minds by feeding our spirit Biblical truths based on God’s word. God tells us we are the righteousness in Christ Jesus and that we are not slaves to sin any longer.
We must “beat” our subconscious minds into submission to God’s Word. The result will be peace and the formation of Godly habits and Christian attitudes. We give the Holy Spirit something to work with, and that’s a good practice.
Not that He NEEDS that, but it all contributes to our transformation into His image. It helps us be more Christ-like and make better decisions.
My tips to condition your spirit for change.
Understand what you say triggers (not controls) your mental perceptions about yourself. That’s why, again, reading and memorization of scripture is so important.
I don’t believe our words themselves actually change stuff, but I do know our words impact our faith walk, and faith is an important part of prayer.
As I pray for the strength to change my life, take better care of myself, and to be more Christ-like, I don’t say things that work against my prayer.
That would be as dumb as a person praying for $200 only to repeatedly say “God ain’t never going to give me that money.“
Anyhoo, as I pray and activate my faith, I say things like:
“Lord, I thank you that I manage my time well and no longer take on more work than I can handle”.
“Thank you, Father, for teaching me how to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of my flesh.”
“Jesus, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Thank you for teaching me to eat well and get the rest I need.”
I’ve just discovered Deuteronomy 4:9 and have begun praying that as well. Like this: “Lord, thank you that I remember what you have shown me and taught me. I will teach my children your wisdom as well.”
I also say things to myself like: “I care for my temple the way God wants me to. Thank you for the strength to make healthy food choices and the wisdom to handle my time well.”
Even beyond praying, I have just started reminding myself that I am scaling back my consulting and beginning to take better care of myself. I’ve started saying over and over (to myself) “I get the rest I need” just to get my habits to follow my words.
So, the next time I report to you, Christian Woman, my self-care grade will be improved. Likewise, I will be stronger, healthier, and wiser for God’s kingdom.
How? I’m consciously going to feed my subconscious to be open to new habits and ways of thinking until it all becomes second nature to me.
Then, the re-wiring of my mind and the power of the Holy Spirit will help me be wiser and more Christ-like too.
Note: Again, the words themselves have no power. It’s the working of the Lord with my faith and changing how I think. don’t get it twisted.
Other scriptures to feed your subconscious spirit:
Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power.
3 John 1:2
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
What do you think of this research?