Once a colleague complained that I was stepping on her toes by doing her job in addition to mine. She was right. I apologized and offered to change my behavior. Yet when I ruminated more, I realized this was a recurring problem for me. In the office and in my family, I felt responsible for everything. I often believed that if I don’t do the work, things would fall apart. I had a strong desire to help others and gauged some of my worth by how useful I felt.
In the past, I had tried to stop volunteering for every opportunity and quit overworking. However, in a few months I would slip back into old habits. If I wanted to change, instead of altering my actions, I needed to get to the heart of the matter. I had to change my thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). My thought patterns show up in my behavior. In my own strength, I couldn’t break the cycle. Instead of asking God to help me act better, the Lord urged me to try another way. I needed to be brainwashed.
Normally “brainwashing” has a negative connotation. I think of people forcing little children to repeat lies over and over. Yet, my mind was full of garbage. My brain needed to be washed from the lies of Satan, condemnation, and wrong ways of thinking that lead to bad behavior. I needed the Holy Spirit to purge the junk from my mind and align it to the truths of God’s Word.
I asked the Lord to renew my mind. During my morning commute, I repeated things like:
As I spoke these truths over myself, my thoughts were scrubbed clean as my mind formed new thought patterns. Romans 12:2 says, “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” (NKJV).
If I want to act like Christ, I first must think like Christ. I feed my mind on the Word of God to align my thoughts to Scripture. I ask the Holy Spirit to cement these concepts in my mind so they supplant the lies of the enemy. Sanctification is a process. I can’t expect all my wrong thinking to be undone overnight. Over time, as I partner with the Lord, He will transform me by the renewing of my mind so that my heart and actions match His. Then I can prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Do you struggle with overloading yourself and basing your worth on your productivity like I do? Maybe there are other wrong behaviors that plague you. Have you tried for years to cut off the top of the weed by targeting the action instead of yanking it out by the roots?
My issues were so ingrained that I had to have the Holy Spirit reveal it to me through a coworker, but you don’t have to wait until someone else points out a problem. You can ask God to reveal any errant thoughts you may have so that He can teach you the truth (Psalm 139:23-24). If He brings something up, I pray God cleanses your mind so that it matches His heart for you. Ask Him what specific truths He wants you to believe. May the Holy Spirit renew us daily as we abide in the Scriptures until they “brain wash” our minds into purity before God both in thought and deed.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.