How do you renew your mind when people drive you crazy? The summer I came across six new towels stained by bleach, my thoughts spiraled down the dark tunnel of frustration.
Visitors to Turkey rented our home while we were gone several months, and on our return we found a thoughtful letter apologizing for things they’d damaged and $50 to pay for replacements. Initially the kind letter won me over, but as I continued finding damaged items—and the total far exceeded $50—my patience wore thin.
I knew I should hold on to my joy in the Lord and let the Holy Spirit renew my patience. I knew I should let it go, but I couldn’t. Instead I started fretting, fuming, and worrying over how I’d replace all the items. I tend to hold on to minor irritations that way. (As evidenced by the fact that I’m still telling you this story 5 years later. See how much I need Jesus to renew my mind?)
If you’re like me, most days you face the choice between holding on to frustration or surrendering it to Jesus. You can always find reasons to complain or get annoyed. The kids leave cookie crumbs all over the kitchen floor, or the person on the freeway cuts you off. And when you continually give voice to fretting, it becomes a habit that drags you down.
I want to be settled and centered on Christ rather than eaten up and worn down by worry, annoyance, or discontent.
I want more Jesus and less frustration.
During my ruined towels situation, I noticed complaining about it to my husband, the kids, and anyone who would listen did not make me feel one bit better.
So I made the decision to change my focus. Our house visitors had simply not known how to use a Turkish washing machine. It was NOT a big deal. Instead of continuing to rant, I forced myself to sing a little worship song.
And you know what?
The Holy Spirit came down and renewed my mind
I was able to let it go.
Scripture offers clear instructions on how to let Jesus renew your mind:
Let it Go
Paul says, “DON’T fret or worry.” Period. (If only living this verse were as easy as reading it.) Letting things go starts with a decision to repent from fretting, worrying, or holding on to frustration so we can change our focus.
I love the idea of shaping our concerns into prayers. Wouldn’t our prayer lives grow exponentially if we turned each anxious thought into a prayer?
Praise can renew our minds like nothing else. It gets more of God into our hearts. It takes our focus away from frustrations, so we can center our thoughts on God’s great power and goodness.
The New Living Translation says it this way, “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (v. 6) It sounds simple, yet we often zero in on our needs without thanking God for what He has already done.
Settle and Center Yourself on Christ
Let’s put Jesus at the center of our thoughts. More Jesus; less fretting. What if we turn back to Jesus each time problems and frustrations diminish His place in our hearts? What if we eek out a prayer: “Faithful Lord Jesus, you are in control. I surrender, and I choose to trust you.” It would change our thought lives.
Let’s be proactive about replacing useless thoughts with positive prayer, praise, thanks, and a commitment to return to Christ every time we feel worried or frustrated. Jesus has the power to renew our minds and settle our hearts with His peace.
What about you? Anyone else out there tend to fret over their frustrations? How do you let go of them?