I recently received an alert for one of my email addresses. Apparently, having 27,000+ emails triggered the warning indicating I would no longer be able to send or receive any emails unless I went on a deleting spree.
No, I’m not an email horder, but due to the busyness of life, I’d neglected this particular account I’ve had for the past 15+ years and one of many accounts I have for my writing, ministry, jobs, volunteer work, and personal use.
Before I could do a massive delete session, I had to differentiate between those emails I really needed to keep and those that desperately needed to be expunged (like all the advertisements for my favorite clothing store to the tune of 2,893 emails).
There were also a multitude of other less important emails crowding my inbox—useless gunk better directed to the junk mail folder.
As is with the multitude of emails we receive each day, at any given moment, numerous thoughts bombard our mind.
An interesting article on Healthline states, “The results of a 2020 study suggested people typically have more than 6,000 thoughts per day.” Further, upon conducting that study, they determined, “a median rate of about 6.5 thought transitions per minute. This rate appeared to remain fairly consistent over time.”
Roughly 6,000 thoughts a day is an incredible amount of things our brain contemplates and ponders. Some of those thoughts are wonderful and others sneak in without warning, attempting to sabotage our day. Some thoughts are needed, while others are intended to cause worry, fear, temptations, discouragement, or unkindness towards others.
We may not have complete control over what flitters through our minds, but we do have control over what we allow to stay there and manifest itself.
What does the Bible have to say about what we allow to permeate our minds?
Philippians 4:8 states, “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.”
Colossians 3:2 encourages us to set our minds on things above.
And Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to fix our eyes on Jesus.
What else can we do “junk” thoughts enter our minds?
Be mindful of what we allow into our minds. What do we watch, read, and listen to? Who do we hang around? How are they influencing us? It’s a lot easier to be proactive and guard our minds than to remove what has filtered in.
Pray for God to protect our thoughts.
Dig into His Word and remain steadfast in learning more about Him.
No, it’s not easy to look different. To stand out. To not give in to a culture that tempts us from every side. To care more about living for Him and caring what He thinks than what our friends or family think.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit it’s a struggle every day. Only with God’s help through constant prayer, worship, and the reading of His Word can we become more like Him than like the world.
May we glorify Him with the words we speak, our actions, and the words we write. May we be worthy of the calling He has placed on our lives. (Ephesians 4:1)
Thank you for joining me for our final segment of The Video Camera is Always On. We’ve chatted about a lot of different areas where our children our watching (and mimicking us). In our first segment, we discussed how our kids are watching our habits and our faith, how we act, our humility, and our responses.
I expounded on the importance of emulating a strong faith to our kids in the second segment and included some tips on how to not only talk about our love for Jesus with our children, but also how they notice our love for Him through our actions.
In the third segment, I discussed how our kids are watching what priorities take precedence in our lives and the importance of what we allow into our minds. I offered resources for those topics.
Finally, in my fourth segment, I discussed how our children are watching as we interact with our spouse, along with some tips on how we can show our children a marriage worth mirroring. I also discussed how we should be mindful of how we react to those who have wronged us, especially in the presence of our children.
In today’s post, I’m adding two other critical ways we can set a good example for our kids. Healthy habits and how we dress.
In my first post, I referred to the time my oldest daughter mirrored her father’s addiction to condiments. This brings me to the all-important topic of modeling healthy habits for our kids. While we laugh about the condiment king and his condiment princess daughter now, it was definitely an eye-opener as to how our children mimic our everyday habits, even when we don’t realize it.
So how can we model and instill a healthy lifestyle?
From the time my daughters were babies, we would take walks through the neighborhood. The double baby jogger stroller my mom bought me as a gift had more miles on it than my SUV will ever have, as we took jaunts through the neighborhood, walked down a steep two-mile hill to town, and back up again (did I mention I had the best arms ever in those days?). We packed special snacks, pointed out dogs, birds, airplanes, and pretty flowers along the way, and stopped a short distance from our house so the girls could walk along the “balance beam”, a short brick wall that lined the sidewalk. Those days were special days and provided exercise for me and fun playground time for the girls on the way back home.
Not only was I enjoying spending time with my daughters, but I was teaching them the importance of exercise.
Our children need to see us actively partaking in caring for the body the Lord gave us.
Make family-time exercise a priority.
There has rarely been a summer at our house when the girls haven’t stretched the badminton net across the backyard, pulled out the huge and awkward ping-pong table from the shed, kicked the soccer ball around the yard, or tossed the football with their dad. Our active schedule has regularly included family bike rides, batting practice at the playground, jogging, and hiking in the mountains.
By showing our children that family time is important, we show them that they are important. And by showing them that exercise can be fun, we reiterate a healthy lifestyle that can last throughout their lives.
Emulate healthy eating habits.
Our children will naturally gravitate toward sugary treats over broccoli and cauliflower. It’s important to teach (and model!) to our kids healthy eating habits. If we tell our children to eat spinach and fruit and we ourselves are eating donuts and cake, it’s highly likely (as the saying goes) that they’ll do as we do, not as we say.
Another area where our children are always watching is in the way we dress.
Are we clean with good hygiene?
Do we take pride in our appearance – not vainly – but by dressing appropriately for the occasion? While there are jokes galore about wearing pajamas to Walmart, looking like a slob shouldn’t be our goal.
Are we modest? God made our bodies beautiful and amazing. Arms that give loving hugs. Legs that can run fast. Hands that can create art. Feet that bear our weight and take us where we need to go. Unfortunately, immodesty has become the norm in our culture. We need to reiterate to our daughters that we are not valued by how much skin we show.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating for a wardrobe that consists only of baggy turtlenecks and ankle-length full skirts. What I am advocating for is attire that is pleasing to the Lord. Skin tight, cleavage-bearing, super-short shorts don’t fit the bill. We need to teach our daughters that our worth is in more than our bodies.
Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think and focus on “what is whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable”. When we wear immodest clothing, are we really thinking and focusing on purity and treating our bodies with respect because they are temples?
And we need to teach our sons that girls are worth more than their bodies.
Dads, this is where you are especially important. Your daughters need to know you love them for them. For their silly personality, for their creative mind, for their intellect, their kindness, compassion, and the way they care for those less fortunate. They need to know their value is not in how skinny they are or how few zits they have. Dads, your daughters need you to be a gentleman to both them and to their mom. They need you to emulate how a man should treat women.
And dads, while I’m picking on you…your sons need you to model to them how they should treat women. Not as sex objects, not in a gawking way with inappropriate comments. They need you to show them that you value a woman who values herself.
There is nothing wrong with cute fashions (I have a closetful of them myself), but we need to be mindful that not every fashion that gains popularity and is touted by the masses is pleasing to God.
Our children are always recording. They are learning from us. From our actions. From our words. From our priorities, and from the way we live our lives.
Being a parent is far from easy. But with the Lord’s help and constant and consistent prayer, we can raise our children in a way that honors and pleases the Lord.
In this segment, I’ll expound on two other key issues where our children are always recording: our priorities and what we allow into our minds.
A godly woman’s priorities can easily get disordered, especially in a busy world with so many things vying for our attention. Combine that with the constant struggle to manage our time well and wishing we had more of it. Suddenly, our best-intentioned priorities become out-of-whack. Sometimes those priorities can be as simple as frittering precious time away on our computers or cell phones. Social media, email, mindless browsing on devices, too much TV, unable to say no to every demand, and not staying on track can disintegrate the structure of our priorities.
It’s been said that we will make time for that which is truly important to us. Do our kids see what is truly important to us? That growing closer to God, spending time with our spouse and building a strong marriage (more about marriage in Part 4), and mothering our children are important to us? Or do they see a barrage of other “important” items filling up our days?
Here are some suggestions to keep our priorities in check:
Be there when your kids need you. So many parents today are absent, not only physically, but mentally. Our children face a harsh culture within an even harsher world. They need us to be physically, emotionally, and mentally present for them.
Give them your full attention when they talk. We must combat what I call the “uh-huh response” – nodding and saying “uh-huh” at “appropriate” times when our child is talking to us. There are times when we, as moms, are in the middle of working or another project and aren’t able to drop everything. In our house, if I can’t give one of my kids my full attention, including eye contact and being 100% present, I ask my kids to give me a minute to finish what I’m doing. This helps me to switch gears and be able to fully focus on them, and it teaches them patience.
Give ample time for open discussions. As I mentioned in my post How to Build Close Bonds with Your Kids, sometimes the car is the best place for conversations. The best place, that is, if they aren’t competing with the radio, movies, or other distractions.
Make sure your kids see you spending time with their dad and making that a priority.
Model caring for your home and the duties that come along with that. This will vary depending on which spouse/parent is responsible for which duties in the home or if one is a single parent.
If you homeschool, let your kids see that as a priority.
Spend time in God’s Word.
Take time to rest and refresh. It’s important that our kids see that we are not superhuman. We need down time. For us, after church on Sundays is our “veg” day. We don’t spend time on any cell phones or devices. Instead, we relax, read, play games, or go on a bike ride as a family.
2.What we allow into our minds.
What do we allow to fill our mind? What do we allow our eyes to see and our ears to hear? Do we tell our kids that they shouldn’t listen to certain music artists, watch certain movies, or read certain books? But then we do it ourselves? Yes, while we are adults and can listen to/watch/read more mature items than our children can, it’s important to set a good example.
We are told in Philippians 4:8 what types of things to focus on and allow into our minds.
“But, Mom, you watch those type of shows. But, Dad, you play those violent video games. Why can’t I?”
Guarding our own eyes and ears is of utmost importance.
What goes in will come out in our attitude, personality, and the way we treat others. Let’s be careful what we take in – because our children will see what comes out.
We have an air purifier that works extremely well. When it detects an odor, it automatically ramps up its motor, and works hard to filter out the impurities to help with our family’s allergies and asthma.
All of the information we are fed on a daily basis via the news, social media, and other outlets can be overwhelming. I know people who listen to or watch the news for hours. Just like the impurities our air purifier eliminates, we ourselves need to decrease the amount of toxicity we allow into our minds. We need to make a conscious effort to filter out the negative thoughts that crowd our minds, the anxiety that grips us, the fear that constantly bombards us, and the depression that threatens to take up permanent residence.
The Lord is at work, even when we can’t see it. He knows the struggles we face, the adjustments we are having to make, and the fear that coincides with the unknown. Lean on Him. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. Set your mind on Him. While at times a difficult task, seek to fill your mind with gratitude and hope and spend daily time in His word – all remedies to fight despair and hopelessness.
Keeping tabs on what is going on is fine, as long as we do not allow it to engulf us. Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on the incessant negativity, focus on the good that is coming from this. Families are growing closer. People are helping in whatever way they can. Communities are banding together.
The negativity presented to us by the world does not fit into the categories listed in Philippians 4:8. Only when deciding not to focus on the negative, can we filter out the times when toxicity threatens to seep into our minds and lives.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post. I appreciate you!
Have you ever met someone and were astounded to discover that they were a Believer? Perhaps they live a life contrary to that of a Christian. Or perhaps they act flippant about Christianity in the presence of unbelievers.
To be clear at the outset: our actions are not what makes us Christians. Rather, the only way we can become a Christian is to put our full faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, believe that He died for our sins, and repent and turn from our sins. (Romans 10:9-10; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 10:13; Acts 2:38-39; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:9, etc.)
However, actions are important. After we become Christians, our desire is (or should be) to please the One who gave His life for us. A changed life and the continual desire to become more like Jesus everyday in our actions and in our thought lives are two ways we can show our gratitude.
What are some other ways we can align our actions with our claim of Christianity?
Model Christlike behaviorwith the help of the Holy Spirit. We are all sinners. Only by His help can we achieve such things as honesty, kindness, compassion, and gentleness. Only with His help can we be sure to guard our speech.
Continue to grow in your walk. This can only be achieved by spending time in God’s Word, in fellowship with other believers, and spending time in praise and worship. Our goal should be that we strive to be more like Him this year than we were last year.
Give others the benefit of the doubt. This can be a tough one. In our culture, it is popular to think the worst of others without knowing anything about them. This shouldn’t be so for those of us who claim to be Christ followers.
Embrace humility. We all make mistakes. Everyone has things we struggle with no matter how long we’ve been a Christian. Be humble and own up to your mistakes and shortcomings. Seek the forgiveness of others when you have wronged them.
Practice discernment. Our society glorifies things that counteract what we read about in the Bible. We live in a culture that places a great emphasis on feelings and opinions. Those in and of themselves are not bad, but when we turn to the only Truth Meter – the Bible – we are told what we should put our focus on.
Show grace and mercy to others. It’s been said that those who have been shown grace are more willing to show grace to others. Haven’t we been shown much mercy and grace by our Lord? Shouldn’t we extend that to others especially when they don’t deserve it?
Love others. This can be a tough one. As I sit here typing this blog post, I can think of someone I know who is extremely difficult for me to love. However, we are commanded to love others as ourselves and to place their interests above our own. Such love for others is a testament of our love for Him.
We should be different. We should be set apart. We shouldn’t blend in with everyone else, but rather we should stand out. It should be plain to others who we strive to live for. Nothing temporary. Nothing that perishes. But the One who is eternal.
May our actions align with our words. May we give no reason for someone to doubt our authenticity as a Believer in Jesus Christ.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post. I appreciate you!