Renewal and the Body
"Change your thoughts, change your life."
Have you ever heard that quote? Maybe it's been your mantra like it was mine for a long time.
From a theological perspective perhaps you've heard that quote connected to passages such as Romans 12.
"And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]." Romans 12:2 AMP
Based off this passage I've heard it taught that "your thoughts create your reality", so if you want to change your reality you need to renew your mind and then everything in your life will start to shift.
However, our thoughts are responding to the reality of the world around us as the body perceives it.
What if our intellectual mind is not where change begins, but where it finds completion?
What if this passage is not teaching us to simply will ourself to think differently in order to mature in Christ?
What if there's a reason the body is mentioned in Romans 12 verse 1 before the mind?
What if the mind Paul is talking about is not how we imagine the mind today?
The word Paul uses for mind in this passage is:
Mind (Noun and Verb): "mind," denotes, speaking generally, the seat of reflective consciousness, comprising the faculties of perception and understanding, and those of feeling, judging and determining. (Blue Letter Bible, Strong's Definition).
When Paul refers to our mind, he is speaking about much more than our mere intellectual thoughts or reasoning. He is talking about a holistic change that progressively takes place through our renewed spirit (2 Cor. 5:17) which governs our feelings, understanding, and determinations through our reflective conscious.
The transformation that takes place begins with offering our bodies to Christ (Rom 12:1). This could perhaps come with all kinds of triggers as we read that, but can I gently suggest that it simply means listening to our bodies and respecting the way our bodies were created by Love and for love.
We can't change the way we think until we change the way we relate to our body that is taking in the information around us.
"80% of information flows from the body to the brain, 20% flows from the brain back to the body...The brain takes the information that it receives from the body and turns it into a story to make sense of what's happening in the body" Anchored, Deb Dana, pg 56.
To offer our body to God in worship is to tune into the cues of safety and danger that our woven into our nervous system.
In order to process those cues we need to find safe resources:
A kind smile.
A trauma-informed therapist.
A listening friend.
A warm blanket.
A meditation routine.
A quite space.
A patient spouse.
A tight hug.
A nice smelling candle.
We can find a safe resource of home with the indwelling Divine. Love, Himself, constantly present to co-regulate, bringing breath to our bodies, and truth to our lived stories.
Renewal takes place as we choose to listen to the messages our body is sending, through the lens of godly values such as love, freedom, truth, grace, compassion, and forgiveness.
Renewal takes place as we find safe resources that allow us to consciously reflect on messages coming through the body; respond to those messages with care and compassion; which in turn informs the mind and the internal story we scribe moment by moment.
Renewing our mind begins in our body. Before we think anything, we've felt something.
We are renewed by the holistic change that occurs as we partner with the Holy Spirit through our body, our reflective consciousness, and our Spirit.
Body ~ Soul ~ Spirit
Elise Heerde is a wife, mother, author, and Bible teacher from Melbourne who loves Jesus and passionately shares about the grace, hope and love that He offers to all. She deeply desires to see the broken made whole, the captives set free and the lost brought home.