Hey friends! And happy Monday!
So last week, I posted about the Enneagram Test, and WOW, you all sure did have a lot to say about it! I had absolutely no idea it would be so divisive and polarizing!
I’d say it was about 50/50 pro/con for the personality test. So thank you all for sharing your perspectives on it.
I’ve got to say, that was one of the most fascinating comments sections I’ve read in a while. And there was a definite theme that resonated throughout the responses.
And reading them, a particular quote came to mind that I’ve always loved. It’s by George Bernard Shaw, perhaps you know it: “Better keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you see the world.” It’s kind of the secular version of the Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
If there’s been one shift in thought that has made the most impact on my life, it is precisely that.
And although this is particularly pertinent to recovery, it is something that makes a huge difference in every day life too.
Something that I’ve really started doing diligently in the last several years, is guarding my mind and guarding my heart.
They say “garbage in, garbage out” — and that’s incredibly accurate. We are a product of what we consume, and hello — we are living in a time when we’ve got information and influences and opinions and frankly, crap, being hurled at us constantly, all day every day. For better or for worse.
And what we take in — it colors our perception on reality. It filters how we think, the way we speak, what we believe.
We wonder why we can feel depressed, or anxious, or overwhelmed…it’s like…why don’t we stop for a minute and consider our intake.
Are we listening to depressing and emotionally-manipulative news on TV? Are we spending all day long scrolling Instagram, and comparing our lives to those of celebrities or other unattainably perfect models? Are we watching crap on TV that belittles our beliefs, or — probably more accurately — completely disregards them?
We are literally a product of that which we absorb around us.
And when we really stop and take an inventory of what those influences are — let’s just say, it can be a sobering exercise. At least it was for me.
Our soul is the most precious part of who we are. We are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And when we approach life, grounded in that monumental truth, it kind of puts things into perspective, and makes you really think twice about what we allow into our temple.
So, I thought I could offer a couple positive influences that have really been helpful to me, as I’ve tried to keep a “clean and bright window” for my life.
Fr. Mike Schmitz – He has two podcasts: UMD Newman Catholic Campus Ministry broadcasts the homilies from the week. And The Fr. Mike Schmitz Podcast through Ascension Presents, offers short clips on various life-applicible topics.
The Happy Hour with Jaimie Ivy — another feel good podcast!
The Case for Christ — this is an oldie but a goodie, but I actually found myself recommending this to someone just yesterday. Because it is POWERFUL. And will really reaffirm your faith! (It’s also a movie!)
Captivating (for women) or Wild at Heart (for men) — this husband/wife duo created these companion books that truly rocked my world and I believe is MUST READ material for literally every person who is breathing. I have never read anything that spells out my worth in Christ, and the sacred beauty of femininity quite like this.
And Bloom — written by Yours Truly, because, hello, I couldn’t not put it on this list. But I truly believe that the interactive, introspective aspect to it really makes it a transformative read.
Keep a prayer journal. There’s something really beautiful about the physical act of writing down your prayers, so that you can look back and re-read the spiritual journey you’ve taken. Plus, it really helps keep you focused, and accountable.
Christian Music — there’s nothing more positive and uplifting than a powerful, moving song, with a positive message. When I’m not listening to a podcast, I’ve got this music going. Pandora and Spotify offer great playlists that are Christian music only, and offer great variety!
Having phone or Skype dates with people who lift you up, or even a spiritual advisor! There’s nothing more beautiful than connection with people who know and love you, and who you know and love in return. They keep you grounded, remind you who you are, and plus — it’s good for the soul!
Having religious images around the house. Now look, I’m not saying you need to turn your house into the freaking Vatican gift shop with kitschy nicknacks, but a tastefully placed cross, or a magnet of Jesus’ beautiful face on the fridge — it goes a long way. Take it from someone who lives in a studio apartment in NYC. 🙂
So there you have it — those are just a few of the ways I’ve tried to “keep bright” the influences I allow in my temple.
Hopefully they help you too!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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