Is it Easy to Biblically Transform Your Mind with a History of “Mental Illness?”
The Bible commands us to transform our minds in the book of Romans. It reads, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
From an objective standpoint, it was easy to biblically transform my mind. I reflect back to that time . . . how simple the truth was when the lies and conformity began to unfold!
Yet, how difficult it was to get to the point where I finally understood the lies and untruths that I really believed. Also, moving forward in obedience – that was never quite “easy.” I was always somewhat hesitant to take bold action to live in truth. You see, from a human-experience standpoint, it is not so easy. But through God, not-so-easy things are very possible.
The most difficult part of renewing my mind was recognizing what thoughts were conformed to the world. Those things were very hidden to me. In the past, I had certain ways of thinking and acting that I used as protection. For example, because I had a history of people bullying me, it was common for me to isolate myself. I avoided joining in on events and ministry opportunities. I also had very few friends. I did these things because I was protecting myself. This was an unending cycle that led me into a very dark and lonely life.
This caused me to eventually reach a point in my new Christian life where I became deeply unhappy, even disturbed. I still found myself once again a prisoner of my own thoughts and actions. Although I now knew God’s Word and had the help of the Holy Spirit in my life, I still somehow found myself stuck in this same, horrible predicament. Thank God that I did not stay there forever. In fact, things started to change very quickly.
First, I humbled myself. This allowed me “relearn” the truth – even in the most elementary of ways. Also, I had to be willing to let go of my fear and trust the Lord that he would protect me. Before I knew it, I realized that renewing my mind was a lot easier than I would ever have thought. I say that because the Word of God is the truth: you can trust it with your life. You just have to faith in God. In fact, that is probably the most difficult part.
In my past, I had a lot of hurtful things happen to me. It was really hard to put myself out there and do things that would make me vulnerable. That actually turned out to be the best part, because it strengthened my faith. It made me understand what it means to have faith in God and the Word of God.
When the “rubber met the road” and I was in the thick of things, it was not easy to transform my mind. Yet, it was simple. I just had to keep going. In my book I talk about when I joined a CrossFit gym. I had to overcome inferiority and performance issues that constantly controlled my life. Everyday, the workouts were easier than going up against those issues in my life. Nobody knew this there, but my goals were to overcome those things. Fitness was secondary.
I think my relationship with God was the deepest then. I would cling to him every day. I would study his Word and repeat the truths of the Bible to myself to give me courage to overcome. I would have to get the lies out of my head and replace them with truth. It was difficult. Once I got going, it got easier and easier.
Months into my CrossFit adventure, I remember reflecting on my progress and thinking “Wow, I really understand what it means to have faith. I understand the importance of being obedient to God.” During that time, I realized that was one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. I can use that process of action, faith, and continued obedience as a template and apply it to other areas of my life where I need to renew my mind. I just have to repeat that.
In other areas of my life, the lies may be different. The truths are different also, but it is the exact same process, the process of renewing the mind.
Once I had that template or tool, I could replicate that and apply it to other areas. I used that the first time in CrossFit, but then I used the same process in other areas of my life. It has truly been life-changing. I am excited to see what fruit Jesus will bear through my life that could have never happened before without the transformation of my mind in those areas. How wonderful to think that we can have a “good, acceptable, and perfect” life with God as we render our lives a sacrifice to him and allow him to renew our minds!
Biblically transforming my mind as the Bible commands is challenging, but at the same time it is a huge blessing from the Lord. I would not trade that experience for anything else. Now, I find myself looking forward to a trial in my life just as the Bible says: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).