Tag Archives: what will I do with my mind

A Mom’s Potential: What Will I Do With My Mind? – Part 3

I have shared with you how I receive e-mails from both discouraged and encouraged moms. Knowing what it is like to be a discouraged mom, I wanted to give you some ideas about how to become the encouraged mom. Not only in my own life have I evaluated the differences between feeling discouraged and feeling encouraged, but I have been considering what I read in those e-mails as well.

The encouraged moms are yielding their minds to obedience to Jesus Christ. That is what I wrote about in August and September. They are also yielding their time to righteousness.

Here is an example of how it works. This mom writes me and says:

“How many times do I have moms tell me that they CAN’T do what I do, usually because they are a ‘different personality’ . . . as if it is my ‘personality’ that is my strength. It is wearying, and often I don’t even want to share anymore the real answer to ‘how do you do it,’ or respond to the ‘I could never do it.’

I am just finishing up a very long week of making up the first six weeks of lesson plans for six children . . . from a brand-new kindergartener up to two in high school. I have not wanted to spend my whole week this way, but it was my choice, by the choices I made in the weeks leading up to this week, and God has still sprinkled in time to go pick beans and cucumbers in the garden in the cool of the evening, to visit with friends and their children, and tonight a church dinner at our home.

I have experienced too many times where God has enabled me to do what He has asked me to do . . . usually through being faithful to my schedule, and ‘doing the next thing,’ while still listening to His voice and being sensitive to changes that are brought my way through His plan. He enables me by His grace to do what He has called me to do, even to finishing up that last lesson plan.

I have been encouraged and taught to choose to do the right thing, even when other things might be calling me, and I might be tempted to label them something ‘spiritual’ to give myself permission to neglect what I am really supposed to do. It is tempting nearly every day, but God always blesses obedience.” A mom choosing obedience

Every day we have a choice set before us concerning what we will do with our time. We can do what we need to do, or we can use that time in other ways. I want to encourage you in the blessing of fulfilling your responsibilities. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by what needs to be done or discouraged by our children’s behavior that we retreat to the computer, a book or magazine, the TV, a hobby, or whatever it is that we use for comfort and escape rather than running to our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” These same words are repeated in 2 Thessalonians 3:13. We make that decision of what we will do with our minds—feel sorry for ourselves or think right thoughts and turn to Jesus. Rather than dwelling on the negative, we can to choose to be grateful for the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives and for our husbands, our children, our homes, our daily bread, our comforts, our churches, and so much more. We can choose to get busy and do what needs to be done.

Look at what happens when we use our time to fulfill our responsibilities. This is part of the first e-mail I received from a young mother.

“I am a very undisciplined person. I’m lost when it comes to keeping my toddler occupied. I find myself doing the very thing I hated as a child. I use the TV.” Mom to one two-year-old

Here is a portion of an e-mail from this same mom after she had made some changes in how she was using her time.

“My life has changed significantly since I’ve created and implemented a MOTH Schedule.

My daughter no longer watches an excessive amount of TV. We are having preschool everyday. She has learned to clean up her toys, put socks away when I fold laundry, and set the table for our evening meal. We spend an hour outside every day. I read to her every day. She has ‘play alone’ time, computer time, and she even helps with some of my chores. She loves to dust!! We also have a devotional time everyday. My daughter (25 1/2 months) knows the schedule and anticipates the next activity.” Mom to one two-year-old

All this mother did was begin to make different choices in how she was using her time. At first an undisciplined mom who was using the TV as a babysitter, she decided to put together a schedule to help her do what she wanted to do. As she began implementing that schedule, fulfilling the responsibilities that God had given to her, she was blessed with amazing results. Not only is this young mother experiencing the joy associated with yielding her time to righteousness, but her daughter is as well.

This summer on our blog, I shared a work project that I was doing with my girls. This motivated another mom to evaluate what needed to be done in her home and how to include her daughter, who is only four years old. Look at the results!

“After reading this post yesterday, I realized that there are a few deep cleaning chores I needed to do. Today I cleaned my living room furniture, polished my living room tables, deep cleaned my refrigerator, coffee pot, and a few other things in the kitchen—all with my four-year-old daughter by my side. She enjoyed helping me very much. She kept asking what she could do next. We had a great time.” Another mom

Can you relate to the excitement this mother is experiencing as she chooses what to do with her time? Rather than being discouraged and dejected, she is energized, happy, and satisfied. She has done some important cleaning, spent time with her daughter, and helped her daughter learn to rightly choose how to use her time. Isn’t that what we want for our lives in our roles as mothers?

Discouraged or encouraged? The answer is pretty simple: what will I do with my mind and my time? However, the carrying out of that answer can be quite difficult. It starts with a yielding of our minds to obedience and then a yielding of our time to obedience. While we may think that yielding our time will keep us from doing what we want to do, in reality it frees us to be the Christian women we want to be. May we be women who yield to righteousness with our minds and with our time.

A Mom’s Potential: What Will I Do With My Mind? – Part 2

Last month we began a series on a mother’s potential for influencing her family. I shared with you how I receive e-mails from moms who are discouraged and also from those who are encouraged in their daily lives and walks with the Lord Jesus. My heart is to help those who are struggling and to give them hope for change. Because much of this revolves around the battle for what we will do with our minds, I am going to spend another Mom’s Corner addressing this issue.

For many years when I was depressed, discouraged, or unhappy, I thought that I was a helpless victim of my feelings. I would pray and ask God to free me from my negative thoughts, but the pattern continued until the Lord Jesus, in His mercy and grace, began to show me truths from His Word that applied to my problem. Prayer was very important in my quest for conquering the negativism. That was to continue and be ever increasing. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). However, I also was instructed in Scripture as to what I needed to do to gain victory over my unhappiness, and that was to obey the Lord—a choice I was to make.

Let me share with you the verses the Lord showed me that helped me understand this. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). The Holy Spirit residing in me gives me the “will” to do what is right. I wouldn’t even care about doing what I should do without the Spirit putting that desire in my heart. Beyond the “will,” the desire to do what God wants me to do, He also enables the actual doing of it; He works in me to do His good pleasure—to accomplish it.

Notice, though, that there is one piece that fits between the “willing” and the “doing” and that would be the “yielding” or choosing to be obedient. I won’t quote again all three verses from Romans 6 that mention yielding because you can read those in the August Mom’s Corner. I will use only one of them to refresh our memories. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). Here is the amazing truth that the Lord Jesus showed me in the midst of my continual yielding to the negative thoughts. As long as I yield myself to obey sin—for me it was the wrong thoughts—God didn’t help me to do what is righteous. He allowed me to keep walking in my sin and negative thoughts. He kept putting that will within my heart for what was right, but His enabling to “do” had to wait for me to yield to obedience.

In practical examples from my life, this is how it looked. When the children were fussing with each other, when the house was a mess, and when I was tired, if I began to focus on myself and how discouraged I felt, then I was yielding to sin. At that point, God didn’t fill my heart with happiness, joy, and peace. While I don’t like to feel unhappy and defeated, the reality was that I was content with it because I continued to choose it. I was walking in disobedience while maintaining the expectation that God would somehow remove the negative thoughts from my mind and replace them with love, contentment, and patience.

Remember the Israelites of old? God could have made them a perfect nation with perfect people. Instead, He made them His people, gave them the ability to choose obedience or sin, and asked obedience from them. Despite all that He did for them and despite all that He gave to them as direction, they still often chose disobedience. He didn’t “zap” them into obedience just as He doesn’t “zap” me into obedience. He waited for the Israelites to obey, and He waits for me to obey.

If this yielding to obedience weren’t a part of my walk with the Lord Jesus, He would never need to tell me in His Word anything righteous to do. I would already be doing it. However, His Word is filled with “do this” and “don’t do that.” He is placing within my heart the “will” to do what is right. I must choose to yield. I must decide to be obedient.

For example, consider these verses: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Do I naturally feel joyful or like glorying in a trial or tribulation? Most certainly, I don’t. In these verses I am told that this is an obedient yielding I am to make, and I am even told the outcome—the reason I would make this choice. If I automatically reacted to these difficulties with joy and glory, then there would be no reason for Scripture to tell me to do so. To yield to righteousness, I take those negative, “poor me” thoughts captive and bring them into the obedience of Christ. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

For me the starting place for this yielding to righteousness and taking my thoughts captive begins with gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20). “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Will I focus my thoughts on gratitude to God for what He has done for me and given to me, or will I allow my mind to dwell on what I don’t like or am unhappy about? That choice of what I yield to is left up to me.

If I yield to obedience, then comes the enabling to do it. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

I have walked both paths—the path of yielding to obedience and the path of yielding to sin—particularly in what I do with my mind. I can still face those decisions, even on a daily basis. I can tell you from my experience that though the path of obedience can be very, very difficult when the feelings are negative, the obedience leads to freedom from unhappy, sad, and “poor me” thoughts. Yielding to the sin of continuing in those wrong thoughts simply spirals us further into them and away from the joy and peace we desire.

May I encourage each of us to move from allowing our negative feelings to drive our thoughts. This yielding to righteousness will be a continual process. When we yield our minds to righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit is manifested in our lives not only for us to enjoy, but for our families as well. Our children are watching us. They are learning from our reactions and responses to the daily pressures we face. What will they glean from us? Can we say with Paul, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9)?

A Mom’s Potential: What Will I Do With My Mind? – Part 1

On an almost daily basis, I hear from moms who are excited about the direction their home life is taking, but also from those who are greatly discouraged with it. The potential we have as mothers, within the small boundaries of our homes, to impact and influence those we love the most, plus future generations, is staggering. However, we also hold within our hands the choice to fritter away that potential and, later, look back on these years with regret.

In Titus 2, verses 4 and 5, the older women are admonished to teach the younger women to “be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” As I read both types of e-mails I receive, I am coming to wonder if it might not be that those who are experiencing excitement are choosing to yield, learn, and grow in these areas of priority given to us as women. Perhaps those who are discouraged are choosing to give in to their negative thoughts—to feel sorry for themselves, their failures, and the situations that cause them.

It appears that two main areas are critical to the success or defeat we experience in these critical responsibilities the Lord Jesus has given to us as wives and mothers. The first is “what will I do with my mind?” and the second is “what will I do with my time?” Since it starts with our thoughts and moves to our actions, I want to begin by considering what we do with our minds and how that impacts not only our lives but also our children’s lives.

Here is the reality of what often happens in the daily life that we so much desire to be picture perfect.

“Sometimes it is just so hard with the young ones. My oldest is eight years, and my youngest is almost a year. I have become very easily frustrated with them lately. This is something that I really need to pray about. It is time for me to make some changes. I do spend too much of my time on the computer. Some days I just feel as though I just cannot do it so I pop in a video or send the children outside, and I sit on the couch staring at the computer. I have just given up. How sad for me to be that way. I do not want to give up.” A Discouraged Mom (used with permission)

You can probably relate to “A Discouraged Mom,” if not with her exact struggles then with ones that are similar. As these situations occur, pile up, and continue, “A Discouraged Mom” retreats to her negative thoughts of defeat and finds refuge in the computer. The problem is that this simply fuels the vicious cycle of discouragement in which she lives, but as she indicates, she does not want it to be this way.

Romans 6 gives us direction out of the cycle of discouragement. As you read these verses, pay particular attention to the word “yield.” “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19).

I have a choice set before me concerning that to which I will yield. As long as I allow the negative, it’s-too-hard, poor-me thoughts, God doesn’t “zap” me with peace, joy, and contentment. I must yield myself to righteousness—to the truth of His Word. When I yield to righteousness, these are the kinds of thoughts I will think, and the result is peace, joy, and contentment: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This verse tells me that God does not remove the temptation from my life. In this case, the temptation is to dwell on the problems and negative thoughts. Rather than keeping temptation away, He gives a way of escape. I decide whether I will take the way of escape or not. Personally, I believe the way of escape for this temptation is in choosing to think right thoughts—thoughts of the truth of God’s Word.

When I take the way of escape, when I yield to righteousness, then I provide my children with a pleasant mommy, one who is characterized by the fruit of the Spirit: “. . . love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). When I dwell on my negative thoughts, I become more discouraged and more unhappy with my bad attitudes, which affect not only me but also my family. The example I am setting for my children influences how they will respond to the difficulties and trials they experience now as children and later in their adult lives. They can observe me in stressful daily situations either dealing with them by yielding to righteousness or yielding to my “comfort” activities, food, or environment.

What will I do with my mind? Will I yield to righteousness? Will I take the way of escape? Will I be focused on myself and how hard it is to do whatever I am supposed to be doing? Will I dwell on how it doesn’t come naturally to me? Will I think about how I don’t feel like doing it? Will I be focused on the Lord Jesus and obedience to His Word? The choice is mine, and the choice is yours. I expect those moms who write to me and are excited about their home life have determined what they are doing with their minds—yielding to righteousness.