Proverbs 31:17 - She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.What causes this Proverbs 31 woman to have strength? Personally this morning, I was looking into the mental aspect of strength. As I sat, meditating on this verse and the idea of mental strength, I started thinking of many things that would cause this Proverbs 31 woman to grow mentally for her God-given task.
Wouldn't you agree, for you or I to accomplish our God-given task, the actual assignment which we were put here on earth for, wouldn't you agree that we may have to stretch and grow? That most likely, we are going to have to do things that are, at first, maybe a little uncomfortable? That may mean, coming out of our comfort zone to make some phone calls to stretch us. It may simply be changing up our schedule to accomplish those God-given assignments. It may mean taking time away from the "normal" to begin a project, start that Bible study, volunteer as a youth leader, start that book, get certified as the instructor. All these take one thing, a step. A step, stretching, to do something we have never done before.
Maybe you have heard the saying, "Once you stretch a rubber-band, it never goes back to it's original state." Sure, it may go back to a similar shape and size, but once it is stretched, it does not go back to it's exact original form. This is the same with our minds, with our mental capabilities.
I began making a laundry list to these questions: "How do you gain mental strength? What would be mental exercises to get stronger." Here are a few of the things I came up with...
To Gain Mental Strength...
- Organize: I must stop toiling in my mind! All those "To-Do" Things, lists, etc, I must get them down on paper so that they stop clogging up my mind. So I can stop constantly feeling like I have to "remember" them because they are important to complete. Once I put that item to paper, I can remember it just by looking back at the paper. "Oh yah! I need to purchase this item online so it can get here in time for me to finish that Christmas present! Wow! I need to get that ordered right away."
- Ways to do this?
- USE a calendar. It's not enough to just HAVE a calendar, I must USE it!
- Utilize an organization system like GTD, Getting Things Done by David Allen. - Get things out of my mind to free up MENTAL energy to be able to handle/take on more. Have a systematic approach to actually getting the things completed that I have committed to paper. As David Allen says, "Having a next action item" for each item on my "To-Do List."
- Get up earlier.
- Follow a SCHEDULE. Allot things a time period.
- TURN OFF notifications on phone, like FACEBOOK. Have certain times in the day that I check social networking. AVOID being like Pavlov's Dog, when I see that I have a FaceBook "1" or "2" or "3" on my phone, "*panting like a dog* Oh I've got to check FaceBook now, I have a message. I have a notification. Someone has communicated with me. I have to check it NOW! Now! Now! *more panting and fidgeting until I see WHO and what it is.*" - Check Social Networking during scheduled times so it doesn't STEAL time through out the whole day.
- Stretch: Do things that I am nervous to do...maybe scared to do. If it's making the phone call, "Eat That Frog!" (A book by Brian Tracy about not procrastinating!) Do the thing you don't want to do first! When you do this, not only does it clear things up mentally, allowing you to think about and do other things, but you've just stretched. You've just grown mentally. Once you stretch, once you've done something that you were scared to do, you have grown and like the rubber-band, you won't go back to your original state. Next time, you will "Eat That Frog" quicker, you will get that thing done that you didn't want to do quicker because you realize it really wasn't that bad. Hmmmmm.... like finishing taxes maybe? :) (Yikes.... speaking to myself there! I need to eat the tax frog!!)
Those are just a few things that I thought of in regards to growing mentally. To working towards becoming the best Proverbs 31 woman I can be, that you can be. If we view our minds like the muscles of a weight lifter. Once a weight lifter begins doing the bench press, he'll gradually be able to lift more and more. 100 pounds may lead to 150, then 200, maybe 250 pounds or 300! BUT, the weight lifter doesn't try to lift 300 pounds from the start. He gradually increases it, growing those muscles, developing them, getting stronger and stronger. A new runner isn't going to start with a 10 mile run the first day. They are going to start gradually, working up to being able to run a mile. They may have to walk and run, on and off for awhile. Eventually, as they continue to work at it, they are able to run 1 mile, then 2, then 3, then maybe 5. As they gradually stretch, they will be able to do more and more.
Mentally, as we gradually stretch, grow, organize, we begin to be able to take on more. We begin to be able to accomplish more. "Growth involves risk. Progress involves risk. A baseball player can't steal second while his foot is on first." What are some ways that you can begin to grow mentally?
What are some other areas that you think help us grow mentally? What are some mental exercises that can help us to grow on our way to becoming the Ultimate Proverbs 31 woman?
I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)