A Spirit of a Sound Mind vs. Fear

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A Coaching Power Tool Created by Juli Hychko
(Life Coach, Small Business Stylist Coach, UNITED STATES)

Is your Mind Sound?

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV) has an incredible challenge for those who find a calling to do something greater, and to move beyond themselves:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Spirit of Power, Love, & Sound Mind: Explained

The coaching journey will oftentimes result in painful and frustrating realizations. It can be super hard to keep up the hope that our lives will improve and move forward in exciting and new ways. Even more so if we do the right thing and wait, pray, work hard, and end up feeling like nothing is moving, that God isn’t listening, and that we are getting limited or different-than-expected results from our hard work.

When our work results in these negative outcomes (or just the same old thing over and over), we can condition ourselves to not dream bolder and larger than we currently do. Our goals become increasingly smaller and more “reachable” (others may call this “easy”), as we journey down the path to disappointment instead of hope.

Simply put: We end up self-limiting and just maintaining the status quo to avoid situations that may make us a little bit fearful or uncomfortable. We self-limit!

The real question is, how do we keep what in 2 Timothy is called a “sound mind”? How are we supposed to keep up our spirit of a sound mind instead of fear? It sounds completely insane as it can hurt to hope in the face of disappointments that keep appearing.

Even harder is to maintain (or even restart) openness to new possibilities for our lives when we have spent so long lowering our life expectations and self-limiting! We end up becoming creatures of habit and never reaching for something greater solely due to fear of continued uncomfortableness & fear.

Real talk time now: at the core of our disappointment & fear is often a lack of gratitude and trust in God’s path for us. Maybe God hasn’t given exactly what we asked for: but what has he given? Take a quick moment and notice what went right today, or even the last two days. Little things that might have passed you by. Quickly give thanks.

Wasn’t that little exercise easy?

Now, instead of fearing nothing will change, what if we begin to give thanks for what we have, and also begin to think with a sound mind?

What exactly does a sound mind look like?

My simple answer: one that has gratitude, and one that surrenders to God’s will for us. A sound mind doesn’t concern himself/herself with that of this Earth, and instead regains focus on what is important: carrying out His will for our lives.

I won’t deny it, surrender is HARD! It requires trust that God will provide what He wants to provide for us. His will. His dreams for us. Not our selfish dreams which are so often ruled by idolizing famous folks on social media or Netflix, or what we grew up with believing was the most important thing (see: money, stability, etc.)

In his book, The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey Jr. describes a model called “The Five Waves of Trust”. At the center of concentric waves moving outward, is Self-Trust, which he says, “enables us to establish and sustain trust at all levels”. The next wave is Relationship Trust, followed by Organizational Trust, Market Trust, and finally Societal Trust. To build trust with others, we need to have a deep trust in who we are and what we are capable of bringing to the world through God’s vision & will.

If we have established high trust starting with God’s work through ourselves at the very center, then we create a powerful platform for sustainable personal and professional growth.

When you make a promise to people and then don’t keep it, you lose their trust. The same thing happens when you promise yourself to complete that report by tomorrow, and you let it go. Or when you promise yourself to quit smoking, but you put it off for another time. Or promise yourself to save more money but instead, keep finding excuses for why you need to spend more.

Every time you put off doing what you say you will, or make excuses for not doing it, you are chipping away at the foundations of self-trust as well as trust in God. It may seem unimportant at first, but like water flowing through a crack in the patio, it continually erodes the foundation until eventually there becomes an unstable ground.

In the smallest everyday actions, by being accountable to God and keeping our word, we build our self-trust.

Applying Scripture

This brings us to some Power Tool Work: doing the switch from a spirit of fear, to a spirit of a sound mind.

I’ve developed a quick and simple activity to be done anytime you start to get uneasy in a fear mindset or are feeling stuck or limited in your ability to move forward. The activity itself takes about 30 seconds, and it helps us not only kindly acknowledge our fears so we can remove them from our lives, but also moves us towards a sound and gratitude-filled mind.

When you encounter anything that resembles a spirit of fear (or lack of trust), take a step back and do the following:

  1. Politely acknowledge the fear in one sentence or less in your mind or on paper, and following acknowledgment, mentally rip up the fear or physically throw away/rip up the paper and remove it.
  2. Give thanks for 3 things at that moment quickly in your mind, counting each gratitude on a finger (1, 2, 3)
  3. Pray the following prayer the father in the book of Mark 9:24 did quickly in your mind: “I believe; help my unbelief”
  4. Take 3 deep belly breaths: breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 6. IN, 2, 3, 4, out 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Reflection and Moving Forward

Find your sound mind. Limit your fear.

God is with you and he is ready and willing to have you move in his will and direction.

We so often find ourselves pushing so hard to either force what our dreams and goals are that we lose sight of what God has planned for us. Simply put, tapping into our deep gut senses and not trying to push and push and push sometimes opens up new possibilities and ways of thinking about problems. Stepping back into gratitude for our graces and gifts that were given to us can provide a powerful momentum to move us forward into a new and profound space.

With that, I’ll leave you with an incredible expert from Lisa Brenninkmeyer, founder of Walking with Purpose, where she outlines beautifully the ongoing human need for control and how to push through to what I earlier referred to as a spirit of a sound mind:

“Philippians 4:7 (NAB) promises that “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” All too often, I equate that peace with feeling in control. But that isn’t what God has promised me. He’s promised me that HE is in control and that if I truly believe that, I can experience peace. Pastor A.W. Tozer wrote, “The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems.”[1] Our belief in God should keep us from panic, despite our circumstances. Faith, not fear, should be in the driver’s seat.”

References:

Brenninkmeyer, L. (2020, March 17). Peace amid Uncertainty. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://walkingwithpurpose.com/peace-in-the-midst-of-uncertainty/

Covey, S. M. R., & Merrill, R. R. (2018). The speed of trust: the one thing that changes everything. New York: Free Press.

OFFICIAL KING JAMES BIBLE ONLINE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2020, from https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/

Original source: https://coachcampus.com/coach-portfolios/power-tools/juli-hychko-a-spirit-of-a-sound-mind-vs-fear/

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