I don’t just like lists, I need lists: to-do lists, packing lists, shopping lists, etc. If I didn’t make lists, there’s no way my brain could remember everything I need it to from day to day. It’s too full and too chaotic in there! At the end of some days, I’ve been known to say, “My brain hurts!” and that’s because I’m mentally exhausted from thinking all day about everything for which I am responsible, second-guessing the decisions I’ve made, wondering if I’m being the best friend, sister, daughter I can be, and on and on. As an over-thinker, it seems like my mind is constantly spinning.

When this happens, I have to remind myself of Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable, and perfect.” Sounds great, right? But how do you renew your mind? Here are three ways that I’ve found work well for me:

1. Take a Break

I recently had a few days off of work and I decided to use that time to take a break from technology as well. I barely looked at my phone except to make plans with my family. I didn’t check email at all. I avoided social media. I spent time outside, appreciating the beauty of God’s creation. At the end of the day, my mind felt so much clearer. Don’t get me wrong, technology is great, and I love what it is able to do, but it can be overwhelming at times. Even if I can’t take a whole day away from technology, it’s nice to get even an hour away from it if possible. It’s amazing how taking just a small break can change the way I think!

2. Focus on God

When I focus on God, it makes it a lot more difficult to focus on the negative thoughts that plague my mind. So much of my thinking is focused on myself. What do I need to get done today? Why can’t I figure this out? Did I remember to send that birthday card to my dad? I can’t believe I said that! Sometimes I just need to stop thinking about me and think about who God is, remembering that even when I mess up and fail to live up to the expectations of myself and others, he still loves me. Tomorrow is a new day, and his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I love these verses because they remind me that there’s no limit to God’s mercy – it never runs out.

3. Meditate on Scripture

This is closely tied to focusing on God, of course, because all of scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Having the truth right in front of me in black and white makes it easier for me to focus on that instead of the lies and negative thoughts that can so easily creep into my mind. For the times when I can’t have my Bible right in front of me, it’s great to have Bible verses memorized that I can recall at any moment. If memorization is hard for you, I recommend finding music to help. I own several collections of scripture set to music that makes it so easy to memorize! You can find some set to upbeat, catchy tunes and also some with softer, more soothing melodies. In fact, sometimes I’ll play a lullaby album I have that is all scripture set to music at a low volume – it’s not just for kids! – and let that soak into my mind as I fall asleep. Starting and ending my day with the Bible is a great way to keep my mind renewed in Christ.

God is the only one who can truly renew my mind, but I have to play my part in choosing to turn my thoughts to focus on him. Doing these things isn’t necessarily easy, and I sometimes fail, but it makes such a difference when I try.

How will you renew your mind this week?