Romans 12 says it this way: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and improve what God's will is, is good and pleasing and perfect." Well, when we talk about renewing of our minds -- that's what I want to focus on -- we have to talk about the intentional process of replacing false narratives with true narratives. So if you missed the talk I gave on how we actually change/what does transformation look like here now, this isn't going to make sense.  But one of the key things you must learn in order to experience transformation is to identify false narratives you live with, and embody and think and replace them with true narratives. And so that's what I want to talk about for a little bit today. So, from early on -- what are narratives?  Narratives are stories; our belief systems that we embody and that exist in our thinking. There are stories we have been told that we have adopted, that we have created to make sense of this life. So from early on, we are told stories from our parents that help us interpret how to manage life or how life ought to be. And we as humans are naturally drawn to narratives and stories. When we have an experience of any significance, one that shapes us, we turn that experience into a story.  James Bryan Smith says this: "Narrative is the central function of the human mind. We turn everything into a story in order to make sense of life. We dream and narrative, daydream and narrative. Remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, construct, gossip, learn hate and love by narrative." The stories we believe, whether they're known or unknown, help us to navigate the world. And we understand right and wrong from them. And it provides meaning for us. And there are all kinds of narratives. There's family narratives. The narratives that we grow up learning early on are our parents impart to us a worldview, an ethical system of thinking through stories. We learn from our families and answer the questions, who am I? Why am I here? Am I valuable? And we collect those as children before we even realize it. And so we all carry around us positive childhood narratives and negative childhood narratives.  Last week I mentioned one of the negative childhood narratives that I adopted, not because my parents, my dad was like, "OK, son, here's what you got to know. To be loved is to be perfect. To be loved is to do everything the best and be better than everyone else. And your value comes from what you do, not who you are."   Nobody has to say that to me. But it's something that I learned really early. I learned that I couldn't be my natural self. I had to perform. I had to be the best. I had to be better than everyone else and win in order to experience any type of love. That's my childhood story.  Others of you have different stories. I was talking to somebody -- [hearing] one of her childhood narratives. What she was told early on, essentially what was communicated to her by her loving parents, was that she could not do hard things.  So she grew up thinking her whole life, "I can't do hard things, avoid hard things." Her whole life has been built around comfort and security. So we all develop these things. But we also have cultural narratives that influence us. So we learn from our culture or where we grow up (from various regions of the world), perspectives like what's important, who's successful, [or] what to value. And this all comes through images. This comes through narratives, it's come through public schools. It comes through all sorts of things.  So for Americans, in the United States, we were taught that we value rugged individualism. So we champion the pioneers, the pioneering spirit, and the revolution. We also are taught (whether you know this or not)... something that we all embody is this thing called American Exceptionalism, this narrative that says we're the best. America is the best, it's the greatest. And that's shaped by people in politics and outside of politics. It's shaped by nationalism and perspectives like this idea that," yeah, we are the best." But there's other things as well that we are shaped by. We are shaped by romantic consumerism.  You ever think about this? Why do we buy chocolates and flowers on Valentine's Day? That's been sold to us by big companies to push how we spend our money during different holidays and seasons, it's propaganda.  Like in other countries, this idea of like, oh, if you, you know, were a bad spouse and you did something wrong, you bring them flowers to say I'm sorry. In other cultures, that's crazy. Why would you buy them flowers when you were a jerk to them? But like we've sold this idea, it comes from the early 40s, 50s and 60s called romantic consumerism. And it comes before that as well and other cultures. But in Western culture, that's something that we have.  Like, think about the narrative of Christmas, and I don't want to pick on Christmas, but maybe I do. Should I just -- I don't want to -- it's about that time.  Like OK, it's like 500 billion dollars spent to celebrate a child who was born to peasant teenage parents who were living as day laborers in a country that was oppressed by a military superpower. And they happened to be refugees. And we celebrate this season with buying ridiculous amounts of gifts and spending ridiculous amounts of money to celebrate the birth of Jesus. That seems like the narrative's mixed up.  Would you agree? You say that, but you're like, don't touch my peppermint latte, my eggnog and brandy or whatever it is. Elf on the Shelf, Christmas movie holiday season. I want to see it all. Yeah, I get it. It's OK. You're living in a false narrative, but that's cool.  So we have religious narratives, and this is the one I can't stand: I'm tired of apologizing for the church for all the ways she doesn't represent Jesus. Well, I have to. I'm like I cannot. Like literally like the other day I was like, "Alex, I feel like I need to blast this thing on Facebook. I need to do this campaign because I'm tired. I'm tired of seeing the Christian witness become powerless because of judgmentalism and hypocrisy and all the ways we are hurting people." And we're the church, we are the body of Jesus in the world. Why are we not looking as beautiful and good as Jesus?  Please, for all that is holy and sacred, act like Jesus even if you need to pretend publicly online. Okay? Hold your mouth. We don't get to be offended about anything ever. We're not offendable according to Jesus' teachings. You don't get to judge. That's for Jesus. And if you judge someone, you will be judged with the strictness of which you judged. So don't do it for personal reasons. If you dislike somebody, don't say it publicly and blast them.   We've got to do a better job. Come on church. At least our little church in Long Beach will make a difference to the global world of memes that transform nations of Instagram and tweets that transform campaigns and affect the stock market. Let's just look like Jesus.  OK, let's keep going. Our narratives, once they're in place, determine much of our behavior. Right? So this is why you'll hear this teaching and be like, yeah, I want my mind to be governed by peace and truth and the Holy Spirit. Yes, I'm going to replace false narratives of true narratives. And you're going to go home and you're going to feel hungry and you're going to react to your wife. You're going to react to your coworker. You're going to react the way that you don't want to act because these narratives are in your brain and they're working against you because your narratives are running and ruining your lives.  So there's a process of change. It's not just like, "Lord, give me your mind."


You have to step into the mind of Christ. You have to work with the Holy Spirit for transformation. He's not, like I said last week... Grace is not opposed to effort. Grace is opposed to earning. That's Dallas Willard, it's not me.  And here's the point. These narratives are ruining and running our lives. And so we need to find the false narratives that we embody and measure them against the narratives of Jesus. Transformation and change begins by learning to replace falseness with true narratives.  In Mark Chapter one, it begins.  The message of Jesus in Mark is summarized in one verse. The time has come, the Kingdom of God has come near, and Jesus says, "Repent and believe the good news." Jesus says, "Look, the Kingdom of God, God's way of life, his rule and reign is available for everyone here and now." Now, the response to this new reality, this kind of vision of a new world is to repent and believe. It's not just to stop sinning, but to repent is to change your mind. Literally in the Greek, it means to change one's mind. One lexicon says it means to change one's way of life as the result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness.  To repent, then, is to reimagine life from the ground up around the kingdom of God. So I want you to think about repentance like this.  Dream up your entire life all over again because there's a new way to be human. Reimagination is the first step to this transformation. It's what Paul's getting at. He says, "do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." So for Paul, the first step is renewing your mind. Or sorry, for Paul, his first step for transformation is to renew your mind. He was obsessed with your mind. Look at these passages.  First Corinthians, chapter two. He says, "We have the mind of Christ." Now, this is past tense. And just stay with me because we have to understand he has a view of of of theology, like what he believes is when you become Christian, when you accept Jesus into your life and you're saved once and for all, you are now seen through a lens that you are now your life is now hidden in Christ. That's Paul's favorite word or phrase for your identity, that you are now in the Trinity. Your life is hidden by the Trinity in Christ, and so will say things like "you have the mind of Christ."  He goes on [in] Second Corinthians. He says, "We take every thought captive to obey Christ."  Now, his assumption, just a side note, is that as followers of Jesus, you will recognize the authority of Jesus for life and you will work as disciples to pattern your life off of his example. And so now, two thousand years later, can I just make a massive assumption?  Let's just pretend for one second that as followers of Jesus, we believe the scripture and that it is the word of God. I know that's a big step. So just lean in for a moment. Let's just pretend that the Bible is authoritative for life today. And now what it says matters to how we live today. Are you with me? Now what Paul says as followers of Jesus is we take some thoughts captive? We take EVERY thought captive to obey Christ. Now, I don't know about you, but I have a lot of thoughts in my life.  Anyone I want to say, "yeah, I do too"? OK, now you're awake. I'm thinking all the time. Sometimes it's really good. Most of the time it's not. It's neutral.  There's a lot of hours of me doing this. So the thing I've been wrestling with and what I've been really like, actually, the Lord spoke to me about this passage in Romans eight a little over a year ago. He was like, "Darren, your imagination is a gift I've given you." When you actually think thoughts, you have power to, like, express them in a community willing to follow and so that you have to steward your imagination. I was like, "oh, shoot, that's cool. What does that mean? You know, God, what do you want to do?" He's like, I want you to give up all like TV for a while.  And I love movies. I love movies and I love Netflix. And I don't know if you know this, but Disney Plus is about to launch. And there's this whole like all of the library of Disney is going to be available, at least that's what I think. But at the very least, the Mandalorian is going to come out in like two days. And it's a whole new spin off of Boba Fett's kind of world. It's not Boba Fett, it's another one. But it doesn't matter. It's like a Star Wars world.  And I have access to this world and I'm like, I deserve this. And He's like, wait, I want you to steward your mind. I want you to take every thought captive. And then this is a year ago. It's not right now. I am getting Disney plus and I have Apple TV plus. It's cool. Don't worry.  All things in moderation. But here's the point.  Some of you -- moderation is key. I have kids. I get like a show at the very most 45 minutes, like every few days. I'm not checking out. But here's the point. Here's the point. Take every thought captive.  Are you allowing your imagination? Are you allowing your thoughts? Is there space in your mind in the midst of streaming and scrolling and information overload? Are you allowing Jesus to fill your mind? Colossians 3 says, "set your mind on things above." Philippians 3 says, "Let this mind be in you. That was also in Christ Jesus." All that to say Dallas, Willard puts it this way: "The process of spiritual formation in Christ is one of progressively replacing destructive images and ideas with the images and ideas that filled the mind of Jesus himself. Spiritual formation in Christ moves towards a total interchange of our ideas and images for his what he's saying literally right now here and today, you can grow in such a way where the thoughts you think would be the thoughts in that Jesus would think if he were you in your life stage, in that job, in that space." That seems crazy to me.  But this is the goal: that you don't have to think about yourself the way you've always thought about yourself, that you don't have to live comparing your life to everyone else anymore, that you don't have to find value in what you do. You don't have to become a workaholic anymore. You can be free from being a workaholic. You can actually make zero money and recognize that your value comes not from money and success and what people think, but from who God says you are. Amen? Amen with you and amen all by myself, I need to hear this, I'm just pausing, not just for you.  I'm pausing for my sake, going, "Darren, are you listening to yourself?" This is what God's saying to me. And I'm like, "Yeah, I'm trying, Jesus, come on." Now, Paul and Willard are getting at this idea that scientists call neuroplasticity. All of you have been reading on this.  For those of you that need a quick refresher on the scientific idea called Hebes Axiom, let me just put it this way. Neurons that fire together, wire together, just like those couples that pray together, stay together, neurons that fire together, wire together. So, Dr. Kurt Thompson, [author of] The Anatomy of the Soul, a great book, he says this. Now just stay with me because I want to give you --  I want to give my life evidence for why it's hard to change. Why you can be perhaps a teacher of transformation and still struggle with the transformation that you teach.  So Dr. Kurt Thompson says neurons that repeatedly activate in a particular pattern are statistically more likely to fire in that same pattern the more they're activated. So once the initial neurons in a network fire, there's a very high probability that the related neurons will also activate and move along the same bio electrical pathway to the end of that network. The more frequently those patterns have been fired, the more easily they will fire in the same pattern in the future. That's why you may immediately recall the ingredients and steps to preparing spaghetti, which you make every week but need to consult the cookbook when preparing a holiday dish you haven't made in years.  One Neuroscientist uses this analogy of hiking through the jungle with a machete. The trail you hack out is your thought life. The jungle is billions of synapses in your brain. And when you think a thought, it's like cutting a trail through the jungle with that machete. If you think [about] it again, the trail gets clear. If you think it again, it gets clear. Pretty soon when you come to the part of the jungle, you just automatically take that route without having to think about it at all. And it's a dangerous trail. Now, this neurological mapping is a good thing for things like remembering your kids names or cooking spaghetti. But it's a bad thing when we get stuck in mental and emotional patterns that are toxic.


So last week, I mentioned one of my childhood narratives and I shared it today, to receive love is to be the best. To perform, to succeed. Now, growing up, I developed this particular worldview and a value for success over all things. And nobody told me. I just experienced life this way. So for it to fail was to not have value anywhere, to not feel like I was enough. Now the narrative was simple.  The narrative was this simple. It was you are not enough. "You aren't good looking enough, you aren't smart enough, you aren't strong enough, you aren't...." Everywhere I went, there was an insecurity about my value and worth. This narrative was destructive. It was good, I thought, because it produced a lot of success and accomplishment. It gave me a drive. But it was bad because it pushed me to burnout and sickness and destroyed relationships and it masked this deep fear and massive insecurity.  And I also happened to project this image of a guy, a dad who's disapproving to God. And I thought God the Father was a father who demanded more work to be done, because that's how I proved my love, and that's why I proved Jesus is worth dying on the cross for me. Now, this unraveled in our marriage and unraveled in my parenting.  It unraveled in my leadership in my church plant -- early days in the church planting. And it produced all sorts of physical issues and issues like anxiety. And the process of changing this narrative has been so long and so hard and it still creeps in.  And in order to make a new pattern, what we have to do is lay down new trails of thought life through the jungle of our mind. We have to hack at the jungle with a machete, if you will, so that we think new thoughts and we think those new thoughts over and over again. So we don't think those old thoughts anymore.  And to change this process, to change this false narrative of worth and value into this new narrative, a value coming from God and worthy of love because of who Jesus says I am, and worthy of friendship, not because I'm performing for my friends.  It took years and years of work. It was this long process. I'll talk about some of those things of replacing the false narrative with the new narrative, of accepting that and then creating practices to accept that worth. I struggle with body image issues and I shared this last week. I struggled in high school with suicide and body image issues. And I mean, up until I was 28 years old, and I was leading this church.  There were moments where Alex, my wife as a discipline -- this is really vulnerable. She would stand in front of the mirror because I would constantly criticize how I looked and she would say "five affirmations about yourself.".  And I would look in the mirror and think it was impossible.  I could just go on for days about my wife. But the moment I turned into the mirror, it was impossible. It was literally like I was repulsed by it. I couldn't... it felt so unnatural because it was unnatural, because I created a map in my mind that aligned with this view and this lie.  And so I had to cut down the forests and the jungle and find a new way. My friend, we'll call her Wanda, she shared with me this last week at dinner; our families were getting together. And she said, "Man, I learned at 10 years old, for whatever reason, that I can't do hard things, that I wasn't able to do hard things. So my confidence was knocked down as a 10 year old. My whole life, I struggle with the ability of doing hard things. I wanted everything to be safe and comfortable for my kids and my relationship with my spouse." And she identified this lie while running the half marathon. And a half marathon is hard. Would you agree? And if you didn't run it and you've never run you don't know, so don't say anything. But yes, it's hard. Next year you get a chance with World Vision. And she realized having run the half marathon and walked and ran and finished it like 45 minutes faster than she anticipated, that she actually can do hard things. She always wanted to run in her life, but never did it because it was hard. And after running, she realized, like, "I like this, I'm going to be a runner." And now she's running, and the act of running is challenging the lie she was taught as a 10 year old by well-meaning parents that she can't do hard things.  She CAN do hard things. She's built for adventure. She's not built for comfort and safety. She's built for adventure. And it's changing how she parents. It's changing how she interacts with her husband. It's changing what she thinks God might call her into. How amazing is that?  But she identified the lie and she's replacing it with the true narrative: she's made to do hard things. And as a way to remind herself, she adopts a practice of running. How are we doing, church? So narratives are all over the place and you've got to identify them. There are narratives in identity about our value, about our purpose, about our success, about community, about marriage. Oftentimes when I do marriage counseling, it's a false narrative or two different narratives that are colliding in the marriage that cause all sorts of conflict.  Narratives around what finances are for. Narratives around what role has what in the marriage like? Well, like nine times out of ten, the husbands are like, "she just won't submit." And I have to theologically, like, do some jiu jitsu to this person to recognize, like actually it doesn't literally say that in the Greek. It says submit to one another out of reverence for Christ...wives to your husbands as to the Lord. It doesn't say wives submit. Just so you know. And then it goes on and says husbands. So the example is wives be like the church. OK, that's cool. Husbands "be like Jesus who died for the church." OK, how are you doing at that husbands? No, point it right back at yourself. Until you have died to yourself, you have not done enough for your wife.  Anyways. That's a whole other story - it'll free you of all your marriage conflicts, but you'll still go to therapy and you'll still say to your therapist: "it's her fault." I don't know anyone that does that. But if I did...  Anyways, it happened to me like eight weeks ago. So there we go. All right, cough drop is in. All right. Winding down.  We have narratives that are ruining our lives. And so what I want to invite you to do is to rewire your brain and align your minds, the teachings and narratives of Jesus. Learn to have your mind governed by the Holy Spirit. So the mind governed by the flesh is death. But the mind governed by the Holy Spirit is life and peace. And that is our cry.  So if you're here and you want a new mind, can I just start with this? Invite the Holy Spirit into your life. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life. Ask him to fill you and then be specific. Invite the Holy Spirit to govern and influence your thoughts, imagination and mind. I was thinking about how we have a lot of people here that are entrepreneurs, run businesses, a lot of artists, lots lots of amazing men and women. Some of you are just okay. But a lot of amazing people. Yeah, that's right. Yes, it's true, it's true. You're like: "Yeah, you're right, I'm just okay." (laughs.) And I was thinking about the cap we've put on our ability to do what we do in the industry we find ourselves in by not inviting the presence of God to be the inspiration or the source. So, like, we'll grab that book and get inspired. We'll go on a retreat and get inspired.  But how many of us are like in our business, in our art, in our parenting saying:"Holy Spirit, just fill my imagination and mind. Would you just govern my mind as I send these emails, as they organize these charts, as I do this Excel spreadsheet, as I teach these kids, as I prepare for class, as I teach a sermon? Holy Spirit, would you just govern my mind and have the authority and power to influence, just fill it and actually create space in our life for the presence of God to be the source?" Invite the Holy Spirit into your mind and thoughts. Invite the Holy Spirit to change your brain, your memories, your habits, bioelectrical networks. Like we believe Jesus raises the dead. We believe he heals the paralytic. We believe he can give sight to the blind. He can give deaf people the ability to hear. But do we actually believe he can change our minds?  Some of you have a mindset that's governed by the flesh. You're still addicted to pornography and lust. Some of you, your minds have been shaped since you were a little kid to walk out into the world and to remember all the images of women as you walk around and you collect them for another time. And Jesus is saying you don't have to have that mind anymore. I want to transform, I want to renew, I want to heal that space in your brain if you let me in.  Some of you have memories that are so painful from your childhood. It's like you are triggered by things in everyday life. And it brings you right back to that six year old little girl, and you feel like this little six year old girl alone in that room and nobody else is there. But maybe today the invitation is to let Jesus into the room, not to heal it once and for all, but to let him in. Let his presence into that memory to begin the process of healing.  I have a strong memory from when I was seven years old that shaped the course of my life in that narrative.  And if I talk about it I'll cry because I was a seven year old little boy, and I have a six year old little boy that I am a good father to him. I'm still going to screw up, but I'm a good father to him. I love him. I'm teaching him unconditional love. I'm teaching him to risk. I'm teaching him to not play by the rules, to not conform to what people think and expect of him. I'm saying he can do what he wants and if it's hard, he can push through. But also, I'm going to trust him to be him. I'm training him all this.  My parents were amazing, but I learned early on to not be my natural self. Put him away, don't act out, perform, conform, make everyone happy. I'm regularly saying: "boy, what do you want? Don't care about what I want. I'm not going to tell you what I think you should do" I'm training him to learn to trust and have wisdom in this world and to trust the Holy Spirit's voice. And for me, I go back to that seven year old boy and I re-parent him in my imagination. I bring Jesus into that room and I watch Jesus weep over my seven year old self, hold my hand and look at that frightening experience. And then I see me come in my imagination. And maybe this is helpful for you. This is how transformation takes place. Your imagination can help.  In my imagination. I bring myself in and I show him what I show him what a good father would do. Grab him, hold him, and he's alone and I hold him and I process with them, I don't rush it, I don't take him off, I don't take him to the next thing. I just sit him down and play with him. Some of you need that experience with the Father.  You've got to invite the Holy Spirit into that space of your mind. Think about what just happened just now, what you thought was possible just exploded in your past, that the Holy Spirit wants to bring freedom to you. Some of you are crying because you have those memories and you never thought to ask Jesus into that room because you thought, I'm always going to live this way. That is a lie from the devil who wants to steal your life. And Jesus comes to bring abundant life so you don't have to live with the power of that past anymore.  I am evidence of this. I have seen so many people in our church experience radical freedom.  But there is a process, there is an invitation, there is an opening of the door. You have to be willing to open the door to the spirit, to minister, to you in the spaces. So I want to invite you to do those things. Man, I got off track. I'm just going to throw these up. OK, so here you go, some real practical stuff and then we go to ministry. I should just do ministry now.


But look, if you want to renew your mind, here's some practical things you can do other than invite the presence of God to begin that process. Here's some things: you can read the Bible.  Yeah, that's truth.  And realign your false narratives with true narratives. I mean, you struggle with [seeing] a God who's good and benevolent? Read the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15. You struggle with identity? Read Romans 8 for the rest of your life until it's memorized, until that thing is oozing out of your soul so that when you feel tempted to self-hate and self-doubt and feel powerless, you remember you're more than a conqueror. You remember I'm Abba's child. You remember, I'm more than enough. You remember I have the mind of Christ. You remember all these things about your identity.  Read good books. Some of you, you read lots of things, but it's not good stuff. Read great books. If you don't if you don't read a lot, engage the mind with great books. I have a list. We'll send it out. I highly recommend lots of things. So I'll just I'll just say -- we'll just post or something. Sit under good teaching on a Sunday gathering. If you don't think we're "good teaching," that's fine. Get it somewhere.  Leads me to my next thing: podcasts. Right now we have this technology that enables us to hear the greatest teaching around the world every single week. How amazing is that? So pick some. I have friends that I listen to like John Mark and Kris Valloton and Emotionally Healthy Leader and the Bible Project and Mark Sayers and John Tyson and Tyler Staton from New York. And these are all buddies that I listen to because they are better preachers than me and I want to grow from them. In fact, some of this sermon is straight from John Mark Comer, and he gave it to me and he's like, "don't tell people."  But I always tell people. This is straight from John Mark. I did it in the last service because I was prideful, but I did it in this area. So oppose this one.  Rebecca Lyons, you should listen to. There are some amazing preachers out there. And when you listen to I'm on the journey right now of listening to nonwhite males, that's what I realized. And this is from this process of racial reconciliation that we're going through, recognizing much of my world has been shaped by white men. And so I am just just growing and learning from different women, from different places around the world. I'm looking at African theology and I'm looking at Latin American theology.  And I just want to be -- I want to grow. And that's what it means to be engaged intellectually, get a mentor. Now, I have a lot of mentors in my life. I have Don Williams, Bill Doctorem, Bob Hassin, Francis Chan, Kris Valloton, Todd Proctor. I was thinking about this. As a young man, I learned how to get a mentor. And this is what you do. If you want to get a mentor, this is what you do.  You ready for this? Find someone that's older than you, ask to hang out with them, pay for the coffee or the meal, have questions on pieces of paper (not on your phone) and take notes as they talk. And if they give you advice based on your questions, write it down. And when you're done, after you paid the bill, go and do what they say. And then follow up with them, giving them feedback on what you did based on what they recommended.  I get a lot of people wanting to hang out with me and not saying that's what the role of a pastor is. I don't hang out with a lot of people except for people that are hungry for God, people that are far from God and broken, and people that are hungry. And if you're hungry, you will find a mentor. So find a mentor by being hungry and following up. Does that sound okay? The other thing is, if you can't find a mentor be mentored by dead people. Dallas. Willard is a mentor. Like I see dead people. I'm mentored by dead people. Praise the Lord.  OK, so here's some thoughts on stewarding your mental health and you can read these later:
  1. Create space to think. Create space to think, meditate and reflect deeply. So if the window to your soul is intellectual space, which some of you are that. It's the second for me, physical is number one, mental is number two. 
  2. The discipline of journaling. You should be processing life on a journal and pray on a journal. This is a help to engage your intellectual capacities with God. Make reading and learning a lifelong discipline. Develop a mind cleansing hobby. In our world of oversaturation with information, and technology and images, we need to develop a mind cleansing hobby. And scrolling on Instagram is not a mind cleansing hobby. 
  3. Disciplines of intellectual engagement, cleaning like philosophical conversations, poetry, study, book conversations around books -- you should do that. Try imaginative prayer, find friends that help engage this part of your soul. So for me, like these things are all imperative. And one of the things I realized, that last one is it's really easy in the world that I live in to not engage in conversations that are outside of church. 
 So I love having philosophical or political conversations with people I'm in a relationship with. Not online, um, because that's just toxic anyways. But to engage the mind in philosophical or academic discussions.  I grew up in an academic household. My dad was a PhD professor, and when I hung out with my younger brother, who was here last week, it's like this part of our soul just comes alive or we just start talking about ideas and things we've been reading. And I don't really do that with a lot of people and I noted it last time I hung out. I was like, gosh, there's like this part of me that just opens up. And some of you, as I say, know exactly what I'm talking about, so make that a spiritual discipline. 


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