If I were to ask your kids what you tell them the most, what would they say? Mine would probably answer with phrases like:

  • Have you emptied the dishwasher yet?
  • Why aren’t you dressed?
  • Get off your sister’s head!

While those are things I need to repeat over and over, I hope they’re also hearing the more positive messages I make an effort to try to repeat:

  • I love you so much.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • God created you and designed you intentionally. He doesn’t make mistakes.
  • Jesus loves you even more than Daddy and I do!

I tell them these things because I want them to know down to their core that they’re loved, they have value, they have purpose, and they’re here for a reason.

But our kids aren’t the only ones that need to hear reminders like this. What messages are you letting yourself hear?

What You Tell Yourself Matters

As Priscilla Shirer reminded me during the Going Beyond Simulcast last month, “Our lives are shaped by what we’re reminded of. What you tell yourself matters.” 

What you watch, listen to, read, and think about shape what you do, say, and type. It affects how you interact with your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors–everyone.

I really like how Brant and Sherri summed it up on their podcast: “Garbage in, garbage out.” We need to be careful about the messages we’re letting into our heads!

I think this is especially important because the messages we get from our culture are trying to confuse us. They tell us that we each have our own truth, we should do what feels right, and look inside ourselves for answers. These go directly against what Jesus tells us. And these aren’t new lies. As Priscilla pointed out, the last line of Judges reads, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” 

Counteracting Cultural Confusion

So how do we counteract all these messages bombarding us? I think we need to be really careful about what we spend our time watching, reading, thinking about, etc. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself.

How much time of your day is spent thinking about God? 

Is there anything consuming your mind that you should distance yourself from? 

  • I know I need to be careful about bingeing TV shows too often, for example. When I get sucked into a new show, it’s so easy for my mind to wander off into the fictional world of my “friends,” rather than paying attention to my real life that’s right in front of me.
  • You may want to consider the news–it’s such an easy path to get caught up in. I noticed how quickly it began to consume my thoughts and shift them to a negative, judgmental place when I started attempting to “be more informed.” Now I intentionally don’t try to keep up; I trust that if I need to know something, God will make sure I know. And in the meantime I’m able to approach those around me with hope and optimism.
  • Social media is another big one. I love social media and use it to stay connected to friends too, but I’ve intentionally chosen to mute or unfollow friends that post things that fill my mind with consuming messages I don’t need to hear.

Are there any changes you need to make to protect your mind?

  • Do you need to take a break from social media or TV to recenter your mind on God’s truth?
  • Are there certain messages you need to protect yourself from hearing? This could be by intentionally choosing not to read certain news sites or spending less time with a certain friend.

Ask God for Wisdom

No matter what, my best advice is to talk to God about it. Brant and Sherri talked about this in another one of their recent podcasts, too. “Ask God for wisdom. Why not? How long does it take you to ask for it? You need this…God is so good, you ask Him for it, He will give it to you.”

Ask him for wisdom to guard your mind and show you if there are any changes He wants you to make. And then, when He answers you, do it! 

Chip Ingram talked about this in his message about the wisdom of God. He explained that when the Bible says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,” that doesn’t mean you can’t ever doubt something you read in the Bible. Instead, it means that when you genuinely ask God for wisdom in your current situation, and he answers you, you aren’t sure you really want to follow his direction. It’s called being double-minded. As Chip explains:

It has the idea of someone who comes to God and says, “Should I date this person or this person? Should I take this job or that job? Should I do this with my money or this with my money? Should I move here or move there? God, I want You to show me exactly what You want me to do, so I can take it under consideration. I would really like You to show me exactly what You want me to do and I’ll tell You what, I’ll think about that and if it’s what I want, I just might do it. And if I don’t, I just might not.”

He goes on to explain how to get God’s wisdom:

And what you are saying is, Lord, whatever You show me, in advance, whatever You show me, I’m committed to doing. If You will show me, I will do it, one hundred percent. If You say, “Break off the relationship,” I will. If You say, “Move,” I’ll move. If You say, “Confront this situation,” I’ll confront it. If You say, “Quit this job,” I’ll quit this job. Whatever You tell me to do, I will do…And if you’re willing to do, in advance, He will show you. It may be through a book, it may be through a person, it may be through a counselor, it may be through a pastor, it may be through a series of events where seven people say exactly the same thing, that don’t know each other, to you. It may be a strong prompting in your spirit.

Modeling Messages Mindfully

Your mind is important. What you put into it matters. It makes a difference for those around you–especially your kids. They’ll learn how to think about themselves and others by following your example, whether they realize it or not. 

What are some ways you protect your mind and fill it with truth-filled messages? I’d love to hear what’s worked well for you!

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