Ever find yourself in the battle of the mind when you’ve had a long day and just want to “check out.”  Your body starts walking toward the fridge and then television thinking food and mindless couch vegetation will make it all better.  However, after a couple hours of watching home redecorating, cooking, or reality shows you don’t actually feel refreshed.

This week I was challenged by listening to a sermon online about renewing the mind.  Phiippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

In order to do things that actually replenish us when we are depleted, we first have to identify what kinds of “downtime” activities are nourishing, neutral, or actually draining.

My defaults include television, internet trolling, and online Settlers of Catan games.  While none of these are inherently wrong, I don’t usually leave my minutes (or hours) spent on these things feeling renewed.  At best they are neutral to my soul.  At worst, some of what I watch or read  can actually do damage to my heart and mind.

Out of Philiippians 4:8, the teacher I listened to pulled out three great questions to ask in discerning what actually fuels the fire in my mind and heart.

  • Will it honor God?
  • Could I recommend this activity to someone who looks up to me?
  • Will this pursuit bring me closer or further away from intimacy with Christ?

After thinking about how I’m wired, I found that these things leave me powered up at the end:

  • Playing games with family and friends. (Euchre and Settlers of Catan with real people)
  • Writing in my journal.
  • Taking a walk and listening to a sermon or good music.
  • Jazzercise class(no smirking)
  • Going to a park or nature preserve with lots of trees.
  • Reading a great novel.
  • Snuggling on the couch with one of my kids.
  • It doesn’t all have to be hyper-spiritual – but reading my Bible and praying always renews my mind and gives me a clearer perspective on life

After asking my husband to listen to the message that challenged me, we isolated a clip and played it at our Sunday night family meeting last night and asked our children to think of two things that renew their spirits when have some time to relax.  I am praying that we will begin to think more intentionally as a family even about how we spend what little leisure time we have during our busy school routines filled with band practice, tennis, piano lessons, homework, volleyball, and tumbling.   All the busyness wears us down mentally and emotionally.  We need to find things that will recharge our batteries so that we don’t eventually burn out from the rat race we run as a family.

Labor day with nothing on the schedule is a great way to get started…time to pick an activity and recharge.



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