Today's episode is a spiritual one, so if that's not your thing, you may want to sit this one out. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." What exactly is a sound mind?
✔️ Ruminative thinking is like running a bad program on auto-pilot.
✔️ How can I stay happy when things seem so turbulent?
✔️ Ways to self-soothe and find your own comfort.
✔️ We take so very many blessings for granted. Helping others often brings that point home.
Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/
Hello, hello and welcome to today's episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I'm your host Sara Causey and I'm also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. Today I want to talk about "what is a sound mind." Now, normally I might say if you're not a spiritual person, don't worry, this is not going to turn into a sermon. In this episode, it's going to get very spiritual. So if that's not your thing, that's not a topic that you have any interest in. This is probably an episode that you're better off sitting out. There is a Christian scripture, which is found in Second Timothy one seven God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind, and I've been thinking lately about what exactly is a sound mind. I heard a minister the other day, say, right now, you know that the spirit of fear is having a heyday. And I absolutely believe that that's true. Look at all the potential things that you could choose to be afraid of, and that you could take a very negative view about. I mean, honestly, if you watch the news for any amount of time, even if it's just for a couple of minutes, you're going to feel terrible. When you get on social media, you're going to see a lot of gloom and doom and bad news and bad predictions. You're probably going to see people fighting with one another and just, I don't know like looking for occasions to be offended, like actively going out and trying to pick fights with other people and bully other people. I mean, It you definitely remember that black eyed peas song, Where is the love? Like right now? There's certainly times when I look at on Facebook or on Instagram and I'm like, dang. Okay, Where is the love right now? But that's what happens when we immerse ourselves too much in social media. The truth is that love actually is all around. And yeah, I know that that comes from the movie Love Actually. But hey, it's true: love actually is all around. So the spirit of fear is having its heyday and it's easy for us to understand in the scripture like that, okay, God, God is not giving us a spirit of fear. And it's also pretty straightforward to understand a spirit of power and a spirit of love. But sound mind might be a little bit trickier. I remember hearing Bishop Jakes talk about if the enemy can capture your mind if he can poison your mind in some way or if he can worm his way into your mind in some way he's got you. It's, it's like a computer program. Think of it that way. If the enemy however you want to look at it the enemy, Satan the devil, however you position it, if if that negative force can get into your mind, then it's like, all of the work is done. You begin having negative thoughts, bad moods, and it's like running a computer program on autopilot. You don't even have to go through any kind of spiritual oppression anymore. You begin oppressing yourself. Essentially, you're doing a diabolical work on yourself all the time. I've also heard Bishop Jakes say that worrying is just rehearsing a problem over and over again without any kind of solution. So it's not that you're really analyzing a problem or a potential problem and trying to just think about logically what a good solution might be. It's more like ruminative thinking. And studies have shown that ruminative thinking is a huge gateway into anxiety and panic as well as depression, where we just we think of a moment where we didn't perform our best or we said something stupid, or we made an error of some kind and instead of forgiving ourselves, and moving on from that, we just replay the event over and over and over. Or we might be thinking about a potential future event. It may not even be anything that's happened yet or will ever happen. But you can turn your mind into your own private hell by thinking about, oh my god, what if this happens and just replaying that fear in your mind over and over and over and over again? So often what we fear we create, so if we're still sitting there thinking, oh my god, I bet this terrible evil, ugly awful thing is going to happen. It's almost like putting a beacon out like a neon sign that says I'm inviting a spirit of fear. I'm inviting turmoil, I'm inviting strife. We don't want to do that. Which is one of the big reasons why I like the Scripture. So much God has not given us that spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind. Now, some translations, render sound mind as wise discretion, self control. Others call it self discipline, wise discretion, sound judgment, and I think there may be a few others that label it as sobriety. So these are giving us some clues as to what exactly is a sound mind. I think one thing that helps us to cultivate a sound mind with sound judgment and good self control is having something that we're living for that's greater than ourselves. Now that could be God. It could be whatever higher power that you believe in. But when we're so focused on ourselves, our problems, our ideas are dramas, it makes our personal world gets smaller and smaller. And that's really easily done in a time like this where people are being quarantined, they're told to shelter in place, we can't just go out and socialize, like we normally would. So we're already sort of at a disadvantage when it comes to the world shrinking and getting smaller. Technology can actually help with that there are ways that you can FaceTime or Skype call somebody stay in contact with people who may not even live close to you anyway. So you want to make sure that you're keeping good connections with friends and family, people. People who inspire you who can lift you up, you don't want to get so isolated that you're just never reaching out to anybody. And you're spending a lot of time in your own private inner world. As Milton said, you know, your mind can become its own heaven or it can become its own hell. And we can get so myopically focused on our own problems and our own little world that we forget. Oh, there are billions of other people on the planet. There's Mother Nature, and there's other things going on in the world. There's plants, there's animals, there's the seasons. It's not just all about me and my problems all day long. And this is actually a place where I have a real bone of contention with people who think money is evil. Everything about money is bad. If you have any money at all, you're evil money is just all about greed and avarice and doing terrible things. That's not true. Somebody can be greedy and money grabbing and just all around nasty to to spend any time with and not have much money at all. Somebody can be very wealthy and also be very generous. The money is really a tool or an avenue. It shouldn't be the only thing that you care about in life. And honestly, it's not something that you need to hoard either. The point I'm trying to make here is charities, churches, humanitarian organizations need money, in order to be able to function. And I, I received a letter and it, it touched me so deeply. I mean, I'm not the kind of person that cries that at the drop of a hat, but I really, truly was moved to tears. There's a young man that I sponsored through compassion. And he was telling me he lives in Uganda and he was telling me about what the situation has been like there with COVID people who are violated the Shelter in Place Order because they were literally starving. If they did not leave their house and try to find work or try to find food, they were going to be in there dying. They would literally die of starvation if they didn't break the stay at home order. That in and of itself is heartbreaking. He had a birthday in June and the option is always there. In addition to the normal sponsorship and mentoring that you do, you can put a little extra in for the child's birthday, and he might choke up now to try to pull it back just a second. He told me that he had not had a birthday gift since 2005. Which that would have been his sixth birthday. And that hit me so hard. He was so excited to be able to buy a new pair of pants and a pair of shoes. Send me just a second, and a pair of sandals so that he had some summertime shoes. And he wouldn't wear out the other pair of shoes that he had. You know, here we are in first world America. And it's easy sometimes to forget the level of poverty that people in other parts of the world live in, the things that they go through just to survive, just to have access to medical care, to food to clean drinking water. We take a lot for granted. Now, politically, I will say this is another reason why no one should be out trying to collapse the first world. When we suffer, people in the third world suffer too. In order for us to help lift other people out of poverty, there has to be able there has to be money involved, not just the time and the volunteerism and the activities but also the money involved. To help with those efforts, but it really touched me and, you know, I think about the things that we take for granted, we get irate if the internet is too slow, you know, or if the power goes off for three or four hours during a thunderstorm, and it's humid, you know, and it's like, man, I really missed that air conditioning. Or, you know, in the wintertime, if there's an ice storm, and we don't have power and heat for a couple of days, we feel very ill used and we make jokes about being pioneers. But yet there are people living in other parts of the world that are faced all the time with life or death situations. And for those of us living in first world America, it can be very eye opening, you know, sometimes I think we ought to be a lot more grateful for the things that we do have. So if somebody thinks that money is evil, and it's only ever used for bad purposes, if you have money, it must automatically mean you're a miser or a bad person. That's just simply not true. That person is projecting their own limiting beliefs and probably some of their own deep seated psychological tendencies onto everybody else. I mean, you could be miserly and not have much or you can have a lot of money and be generous, it really depends on your character. Which leads me back to the topic of having a sound mind, sound judgment and self control. Sometimes in life, if we're facing a difficulty, or we have a problem, that we really want a solution to helping someone else overcome a problem. Praying for someone else, taking on one of their burdens, helping them in some way actually benefits us. I am reminded of a wonderful rabbinical story about the tree of sorrows. Once all great rabbinical stories start this way, and I love them for that reason. Once upon a time, a lot of people in this town were complaining about their sufferings. Everybody said that his sufferings or her sufferings were the worst of all. Nobody has it as bad as me. I've got it the worst, everybody in town felt like they had it the worst. And so one day, all the people came before God. And God said, you know, I've got an idea. I want you to take out a piece of paper, and a pen, write down your problems. And we'll take a string, and you'll tie it to this tree, we'll call it the tree of sorrows. So for an entire day, everybody was sort of free from their pain and their sorrow they were, they were getting all of this sort of injustices out of their system as they were writing down what they had, and they were just so confident, okay, nobody's got it as bad as me. Any evening. God told them, you can go around the tree of sorrows. You can look at somebody else's set of problems, and you're free to pick whichever set of problems that you feel like would be less bad. Everybody thinks they've got it the worst. Okay, well, let's go around and see what you think. Everyone went around the tree, they looked at the different pieces of paper, what was written down. And as they reviewed everybody else's problems, they concluded that they didn't want to take anybody else's burdens. They'd rather just stick with their own. There's always somebody out there fighting a bigger battle than you. And likewise, there's always somebody out there who can use your expertise, your gifts, your talents, your prayers, your abilities. I love how Rabbi Kushner says, so often, when we cry out to God for help, we expect to be Moses with the burning bush or to have the lightning bolt out of clear blue sky or a sudden neon sign that just pops up out of nowhere and granted there are those types of just extreme supernatural miracles that occur. There have been times when those types of events have happened. You know, you think about the mother who needs to have a adrenaline burst to lift a car off of her child, there absolutely are miracles that take place like that. But more often than not, instead of the bolt out of the clear blue sky or the bush that burns but doesn't ever actually catch fire. When we cry out to God in our anguish, we ask him for help, he sends us people. Now we may be tempted at times to say, Yeah, okay, God, I get that. But sometimes people are my freakin problem. You know, if these dang people would just act the way that I wanted them to if they quit making trouble or falsely accusing me of things or saying negative things about me or doing things they know will hurt my feelings. If it just weren't for these people. It would be great. So often when we cry out to God in distress, he sends us people he sends the tax accountant who can fix your finances, he sends you the attorney who can help you through a legal battle. He sends you the doctor that can correctly diagnose your medical problem and give you a medicine that will treat it. So instead of seeing everybody that you meet as a potential enemy, or somebody who's going to steal from you, what if you reinvented that thought as seeing everybody as a link in a chain of your goodness? I think it was Florence Scovel Shinn who said, something like every situation I have, and every person that I meet is simply a link in the chain to my goodness, or a link in the chain to my betterment. How much better would we feel moving through each day, if we chose to look at situations in that lens instead of viewing the world as a cold, evil, hostile place where everybody's out to steal from you. Another component I believe, to cultivating a sound mind is to know yourself well enough to understand how to soothe yourself. Now I know I just gave you a little sermonette about the importance of other people. But in situations where there is nobody around in that exact moment to come for you, you feel isolated. You feel like nobody really gets it. Nobody can crawl in my flesh suit and know exactly how I'm feeling. You need to know how to comfort yourself. Because there may be times when you can't get immediate help from another person. Or there may be a time where God really wants you to understand a particular point, he may not immediately send the cavalry in to come save you, there may be something that you need to think about and consider for yourself. So whether it's meditation and quiet time, whether it's reading scriptures, or poetry or affirmations that you find uplifting, talking to God having some kind of prayer, some kind of spiritual ritual, whatever it is, that will help you to feel better. Do that. Know yourself well enough to know, what is it that I can do to self soothe? You know, I think about babies crying and parents being able to understand, okay, when is the baby crying because it wants attention and wants me to come in there and comfort it versus the baby's crying because it's urgent. The baby needs something the baby is sick, there is a problem. We have to have those self soothing skills. We don't need to always be running to something unhealthy, whether it's junk food, alcohol, we're wearing our friends out with attention seeking behavior or we want some kind of temporary comfort but not not in a good way. You know, there are times when we can become codependent or we have these anxiety relief seeking behaviors that they may feel good to us in the moment Well, I'll call a friend up and dump my problems on her and see if she'll tell me if she thinks everything's gonna be okay. Or, you know, oh my god, I have a headache and Web MD said, My head is about to explode. I think they'll call my doctor and ask if he thinks head explosion or spontaneous combustion is highly likely for me. And please understand, I'm not just talking about peaches and cream here. I'm not talking about trying to suppress your feelings or repress your emotions. If you're angry about something, if you're carrying some bitterness about it, it's going to find a way out, you are much better off acknowledging the way that you feel and finding a way to self soothe and a way to cope with that emotion. You don't bury it and you don't pretend that it doesn't exist. So if you're upset about something, whether you're upset with yourself, you've disappointed yourself in some way you're upset with someone else. I'm not talking about praying and trying to fake God out. Oh, thank you for sending this tribulation to me Father, I really appreciate it like, you're not fooling yourself and you're definitely not fooling God, you're much better off just being direct about it like, you know, I don't like this. I know, I know you're going to turn it around somehow for my benefit. I know, there's a reason that you have allowed this turmoil to come upon me. But you know, it doesn't really feel super good right now. If you've never read any of the Psalms, you should definitely dig around in there. I mean, David kept it real. There's, there are some things in the Psalms you know, you might be thinking about the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. You may be thinking that everything you're going to find in the Psalms is like, Yay, God is good. And life is good all the time. And isn't that awesome? But you might be surprised at some of the ways that it gets broken down in an extremely real fashion. The other day, I was reading Psalm 55 there's a passage that says, Give your worries to the Lord and He will care for you. He will never let those who are good be defeated. Oh, yeah, cool, that's really positive. And then he says, but God, you will send those liars and murderers to the grave. They will die before half their lot or before their life is half finished. As for me, I will put my trust in you. So it's like, Wow, well, that that took an extremely real turn liars and murderers are going to the grave. Wow. Holy cannoli. And I think I will wrap it up by saying that having that real acknowledgment of what you're feeling, being honest with yourself and your higher power is also an important part of having a sound mind. And the more that we let something fester, we try to shove it down beneath the surface. Pretend it's not there. Paste on a fake smile when we're not feeling it. The mind in that kind of condition cannot be a sound mind. There's too much deceit, and there's too much tunneled going on inside it for it to be calm and for it to get in that place of sound, good decision making, sobriety and self control. And if you're feeling some type of way, then you can always get in the Psalms and just remember that yes, even David had some times when he was feeling less than poetic and really wanted to break it down against his enemies. You're, you won't be the first person who felt that way and you definitely won't be the last. If you enjoyed today's episode, please share it. If you haven't already, take a quick minute to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now. Transcribed by https://otter.ai