Break the Cycle: Steps to Focus the Mind on Christ

Whatever you focus on, you get more of.

I learned this idea when I was training educators to meet student social/emotional needs. This idea is a principle from Conscious Discipline. Conscious Discipline is a secular, trauma-informed approach to problem solving student needs. Yet, I can defend many of the good practices with scripture.

Let’s take this idea: Whatever you focus on, you get more of.

It sounds an awful lot like what the Lord was saying to the Israelites in Jeremiah.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13, ESV

Seek more of the Lord, you will find more of the Lord. 

Today, I ask, What are you focused on?

For me, it is the end of another school year. I am focused on my overwhelmed last minute tasks and my calendar full of end of year events. The more my brain processes the to-do lists and calendar appointments, the more I feel overwhelmed. I find myself in this spiral of thinking through events, which leads me to creating another to-do list. Another to-do list makes me feel overwhelmed.

Break the Cycle

How do I end the cycle? It is the end of the school year. I cannot control the events that will continue to hit my calendar.

I can choose what I allow myself to focus on.

Instead of replaying my appointments and tasks in my head, what would happen if focused on the Lord? What would happen if I prayed the truths that I know?

The Lord is sovereign. (see Isaiah 46:9-10)

The Lord’s plan will prevail. (see Proverbs 19:21)

The Lord’s timing is better than my timing. (see Ecclesiastes 3:1)

If these things are true and I focused on them, I doubt I would end up in a cycle of overwhelm.

Let’s try a new cycle.

1 – Let’s take our thoughts captive.

(see 2 Corinthians 10:5) When I am in control of my thoughts, I find my thoughts more rational. Lies from the enemy are less likely to creep in, and my emotions are more aligned with right thinking.

2 – Let’s identify truth.

(see James 1:23-25) When I am clear and honest with myself about the truth of God’s Word, truth acts like a mirror. It reflects either the error in my thinking, or it validates what I know to be true. Either way, the clarity and honesty help me to see through lies and identify truth.

3 – Let’s fill our minds with truth.

When I allow truth to become my focus, I see more truth. I act in more truth.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8, ESV

My pastor recently taught this verse. He talked about how each of these characteristics are characteristics of Christ. This one verse is almost like a biography of Christ. 

Whatever we focus on, we get more of.

What if we focused on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise worthy? What if we focused on Christ?

While I will not always get my focus right, I know Christ’s work on the cross. I will focus on my to-do list again (probably tonight when my head hits the pillow…anyone else?). I will fight to take that thought captive, identify truth, and re-focus on truth. I will need to repent for taking Jesus off of the throne. I will need to confess that my worry was a result of my faulty thinking. 

And I will praise and worship the Lord. Because of the work on the cross, I am able to come to Him when I mess up. I can ask for his Holy Spirit to minister to my heart. 

And because I know that what I focus on, I will get more of. I know that each time I repent, it will get easier to focus on Jesus. I will spend less time focused on my calendar. Next May I will still have a full calendar, but by the grace of God, my mind and heart will be more full of Christ.

Image painted by Tyra Harnishfeger with Let’s Make Art watercolor tutorial.





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