10 Simple Steps to Unbrainwash Yourself

So I’m on the elliptical this past Wednesday listening to an awesome book when something hits me: Most of my spiritual breakthroughs happen when I’m reading (or listening to) a great book or the bible.

This makes a lot of sense, when you think about it, because growing in faith (any faith for that matter) is a process of shifting how we see the world… and this happens through information and learning. (Of course, life experiences and the Holy Spirit play a huge role, too, in the process of spiritual growth.)

For most Americans today, growing into an intuitive Christian worldview of peace and compassion and eternal life requires a bit of unbrainwashing.  An unlearning of wrong ways to think about things like life, death, heaven, hell, freedom, selflessness, joy, sacrifice, money, possessions, meaning, marriage, relationships, power, and work.

Most sociologists (not just the Christian ones) will tell you that America stopped being a truly Christian culture around the end of WWII. So, if you were born after 1945, you’ve been soaked for your entire life in a culture defined by certain “undeniable” truths that are defined by materialism, intellectualism, and humanism – not the tried-and-true, ancient truths of how God has arranged the world to work. 

I believe it’s our modern-day non-Christian paradigms and norms that have led us to a culture plagued by stress, hostility, distrust, anxiety, lack of civil discourse, selfishness, fear, greed, and emotional distress.

If you’re struggling with any of these challenges, I encourage you to reorient your brain to True North by aggressively protecting and managing your mind.  

Here’s how:

1.       Recognize that what goes into your brain shapes how you see the world and that you need to manage this moment by moment and day by day.

2.       Read great books (See my Top 10 below)

3.       If you’re interested in a topic (e.g., health, marriage, business, investing, parenting, politics, environmentalism) get a book that has a Christian perspective on it.

4.       Find a medium that works for you: Traditional books, ebooks, listening.

5.       Use simple tools and resources to get into a rhythm of putting good info into your mind daily. Here are a few:  Halftime Engage, Jesus Calling, First 15, Bible Gateway

6.       Listen to sermons and Christian podcasts

7.       Start hanging out with and learn from crazy, compassionate, gutsy, “out there” Christians

8.       Do a media fast – no TV, movies, internet, radio for “X” number of days. Fill that time vacuum by filling your brain with good info.

9.       Find a church that stimulates your mind and feeds your soul.

10.   Apply what you are learning. Don’t just consume it.

The 10 Books That Have Most Shaped How I see The World (In no particular order and not including the Bible)

Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning (A good beginner’s book)
The Jesus Life, Steve Smith
The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer
The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan
Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster
Halftime, Bob Buford
The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg (A good beginner’s book)
The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen

The Gift of Knowing Yourself, David Benner

There is one other awesome book that I can’t quite remember right now… it’s on the tip of my tongue… the Joy something-or-other … 😉

Here’s to an exciting spiritual and intellectual adventure!