Some days it's easy, and some days it's really not.
If there was one thing I've learnt in the last couple of months, on both the easy days and the hard days; it's that joy is a choice. No matter what, there will always be things in our days that could squash our joy or make us feel anxious or confused.
However, what we have in God is a ticket to a higher way of thinking, reacting and responding to what life throws at us: a renewed mind.
Coming through the cycle
In the last couple months there have been things in my life that have been changing, rearranging and just completely disappearing. There have been days where I have gone from being totally fine and feeling like I'm having a great day, to ending up crying myself to sleep. It's been a pretty intense season of learning to fight for joy, even when circumstances change and I may question why I am where I am and whether I should be where I am.
I'm being pretty honest and open with a bunch of people who don't even know me, but sometimes honesty is necessary to be able to fully reach out and share the truth of God's transformation.
While there have been some serious ups and downs, in the last week I have noticed a significant and incredible change. My circumstances haven't changed all that much, but what has changed is my perspective. God reminded me this week that I actually get to live from a place of proactivity rather than reaction.
A new way of living
When I get up in the morning, I can clothe myself in the armour of God, be aware of His presence in me and on me, and be strengthened by the fact that I have Christ in me... the hope of glory. Walking that out this week has changed things; I've felt my mind clear, my heart be filled with boldness and a stronger realisation of God's goodness.
'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.'
Sometimes I think we tend to limit this verse to just issues of righteousness and refraining from following the sinful ways of the world, which is true, but I think God's heart behind this verse is even bigger.
Think spiritually, not like the world
He wants to teach us how to step above what the normal worldly way of reacting to life's issues may be and go higher to a place of having a renewed mind in Him, and therefore a more hopeful perspective on life.
In the world's terms, problems with family, friends, work, finances or relationships can only be reacted to with fear or doubt. However, in God's terms, these issues can be approached with steadfast hope and revolutionary wisdom.
In God's terms we don't have to be pushed around by the issues of life, but rather approach them knowing that God lives inside of us and He has all the answers we could possibly need to solve the issues we are dealing with.
How great is that?!
Renewing is a process
I think of the renewing of your mind like having a reset button. When you go to God and ask for Him to renew your mind, He lays a foundation of truth in your thoughts and beliefs. He teaches you what He thinks about you, your situation and your destiny. He tells you that He has a future and a hope for you, plans for greatness and a story written to redeem the things in your life that may have been lost. Your heart fills with hope and you realise that God is so, so, so good and faithful.
Then you go back to doing life, and of course, things go wrong, doubts come in and you might feel like you're losing your way again. But the amazing thing about God's renewing is that it isn't a one-time thing. He renews your mind and then from that point on, once you've invited Him to be Lord of your life, every time something goes wrong, you begin to doubt, or your circumstances begin to tell you there is no hope, you can go straight back to God and push the reset button.
That 'reset button' of God's renewing takes all of your beliefs and perspectives back to His truth. Your circumstances may remain tough for a season, but the renewing of your mind means that you can tackle them with the strength and power of God's wisdom.
When we are left to our own devices we often jump to assume the worst, thinking there is no hope for our situations; but when we live with a renewed mind we can let God reset our emotions and feelings each day and stay in a stable place of knowing that God is bigger than any situation we face.
It is this renewed mind approach to life that helps us be brave, bold and courageous. It gives us the creativity and wisdom to embrace God's grace in our life and resolve our problems with peace.
That's the power of a renewed mind—it renews your life.
Caitlyn Furler is a lover of writing, music and people. She is a recent graduate of high school in Australia and works full time as an assistant in a law firm. She is a worship leader in her church and is enjoying the possibilities and mystery of not knowing what she wants to do 'when she grows up'.
Caitlyn Furler's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/caitlyn-furler.html