Spanx Your Mind


how to train your thoughts

Today I’m honored to introduce a guest post from Jeanie Shaw, of JeaniesJourneys.com—or as I like to call her, “Jeanie the Hilarious and Wise.” Jeanie is not only the mother of one of my dearest lifelong friends, but over the years she has become my friend too. Several times a year, Jeanie and I nearly kill ourselves together, working to usher her new books into the world—and somehow, we always have fun almost-dying at the hands of grammar and formatting. I know you’ll enjoy Jeanie’s words of wisdom as much as I do: 

Spanx Your Mind

Have you ever tried to put on Spanx (aka . . . a girdle)?

Spanx don’t just slide on quickly. It takes a bit of fight to get that tight, slippery garment into place so that it can do its job of tucking . . . “things” . . . in. I just tried it, and yes, it’s as difficult as I remember.

how to have godly thoughts

While getting our skin inside of Spanx can be a daunting task, containing our thoughts so they are pleasing to God can be an even greater battle.

Too often our plans to begin each day with Bible reading and prayer can be hijacked by stray thoughts and worries of all kinds. Our minds may further drift to all the “to dos” that cry out to be done. Even while we pray, our thoughts (or am I the only one?) can drift to places we never intended to visit. We may find ourselves planning our shopping list or our next blog before we say “amen.” We then catch ourselves and reel the thoughts back in, wondering how we managed to wander there in the first place.

As I read the Scriptures I am reminded of my need to prepare my mind for action instead of letting it just “flap in the breeze.” The old King James Version of 1 Peter 1:13 paints a vivid picture of one fighting to put a “spiritual girdle” around their brains. Our word for girdle comes from the root “gird.”

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13–16 KJV)

The New International Version says:

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Colossians 3:1–2 gives us a similar charge:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.


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I must determine to have a spiritual mind that thinks more and more like Jesus. This involves putting a “spiritual girdle” around my thoughts. This includes “setting” my mind and heart rather than allowing them to roam aimlessly and carelessly. Even when I do manage to get that girdle around my thoughts, the “muffin tops” of my mind can still try to spill out. When that happens, I must tuck them in once again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

If we begin each day spiritually preparing our minds for action and setting our minds on things above we will be available to be used by God—and will be much more keenly aware of his presence and power within us. This is only possible through Bible study, prayer, the power of God’s Spirit, and encouragement from spiritual relationships.

When we take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (as described in 2 Corinthians 10:5) we can overcome the fears, insecurities, doubts and sins that desire to creep into our thoughts. When we gird up our minds for action we will learn to live self-controlled and holy lives. When we set our minds on things above we can then be filled with a peace that passes human understanding, a purpose for which we are ready to live and die, a hope that doesn’t fade, and a joy that continually wells from within.

As you prepare for this day, don’t forget to put a spiritual girdle around your thoughts. Spanx your mind. God will be pleased that you did . . . and so will you.


Jeanie Shaw headshot

Jeanie Shaw has served in the full-time ministry for forty-two years, working alongside her husband, Wyndham. For eight years Jeanie served as a vice president of HOPE worldwide. She has taught workshops and classes on marriage, parenting, loss, and leadership in numerous countries. She has four grown children, seven grandchildren, and two dogs. Her books include Jacob’s Journey, My Morning Cup, Understanding Goose, There’s a Turkey at Your Door, Fruity Tunes and the Adventures of Rotten Apple, Prime Rib, Spiritual Leadership for Women, and An Aging Grace. Find her online at JeaniesJourneys.com, and on Facebook.


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Outshine the Dark

Marriage Advice from a Two-Year-Old

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Everything You Need for Lice and Godliness

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Marriage Advice from a Two-Year-Old


how to stay close to your spouse during the baby phase via @lizzylit

Image courtesy of Pixabay

This post originally appeared on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

My kids blew past me toward the door, an early-morning tornado of jackets, back packs, and lunch boxes.

“Come on,” called Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, jiggling his keys. “We’re going to be late!”

“Wait! I want kisses!” I said. “That means you! And you! And you!” My three older kids clattered back into the kitchen, planted kisses on my cheeks, and then rushed to follow my husband out to the van.

When the door slammed shut behind them, my two-year-old looked at me in horror. “Mama kiss Dada!” she said.

I blinked at her for a moment, not understanding. I heard the sound of the van pulling out of the driveway.

“Mama kiss Dada!” she insisted, her voice becoming frantic. She tried to pull me toward the door.

Then I realized: She was right. I hadn’t kissed my husband. I chuckled, trying to justify myself. “You’re right, but Daddy is coming right back, so that’s why I didn’t kiss him.” Even to my own ears, the words fell limp, a lame excuse. Little Miss stared me down, authoritative even in her bare feet and plaid nightie. I was not off the hook. “Mama kiss Dada.

I felt a blush creeping across my cheeks. “You’re right,” I said. “I should have kissed Daddy. I’m sorry.”

Little Miss seemed to accept this. We went back to our oatmeal. Ten minutes later, the door banged open again. My husband was home.

Before he’d even rounded the corner, Little Miss rounded on me. “Mama kiss Dada! Mama kiss Dada!”

Laughing, I stood up. “Okay, okay, you’re right! I’ll kiss him!” I walked over to my husband and planted one, two, three firm kisses on his lips. He kissed me back with a baffled half-smile.

I turned back to my daughter, who stood watching us. Weighing me. “There. Are you happy now? Mama loves Dada, see?” When she still seemed unconvinced, I wrapped my arms around him and snuggled into his chest.

She smiled her approval and toddled off to find her toys.

That day, she reminded me of several truths I had forgotten, lessons I’ll carry with me always.

The secret most kids won’t tell you

Our children have a secret, and it’s this: Kids love it when their parents are in love. Older kids and teens may pretend to be embarrassed by our kisses, but secretly, they love it. It makes them feel safe. Happy. Like they are a part of something special.

When my brother was young, he invited a neighborhood friend over. My parents walked into the room and gave each other a little kiss, and the neighbor boy said, “Ew! Your parents kissed! My parents never kiss!” My brother grinned and bragged, “Well, my parents kiss all the time!” My parents’ affection was a source of confidence and security for him—and for all the kids in our family. I want to give my own children that same gift, that same confidence, through my marriage.

Keeping the home fires burning

But let’s be honest: It’s all too easy, once kids come along, to neglect our spouse. To forget about even the simple things that keep us connected and close. We don’t do it on purpose, of course, but once a baby enters our world, our first and best cuddles and snuggles and kisses start going to the baby. When we walk into a room, our eyes slide right past our husband, hungry for another drooly “Mommy-Is-My-Whole-World” smile from our chubby-cheeked cherub.

And at first, our husband doesn’t mind. For a season, he’ll gladly serve as our Baby Gear Sherpa, the carrier of car seats and diaper bags and Pack-n-Plays. For a time, he’s happy to take a back seat while we figure out the whole new-baby thing . . . but before long—sooner than we think—he needs the front seat again. He needs and deserves our deliberate attention, our devoted affection—not just the leftovers. Not always the afterthoughts. Song of Songs 8:6 describes a passionate romance so beautifully: “Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.” Every fire needs fuel to keep burning. If it runs out of fuel, even the strongest of blazes will die down to ember and ash. We have to keep stoking the fire of our marriage—nurturing it, coaxing it back to life when it ebbs, feeding it fresh fuel.

I get it: This is easy to write about, and not easy to do. Believe me, I know! As a survivor of four New Baby Adjustment Periods, I totally get it! I can’t tell you how many times my husband has turned to me after a few months of me disappearing into New Baby Land, and gently said, “Come baaaaack to meeeee!” Which of course made the post-baby hyper-hormonal version of me cry and feel terrible (which in turn made Kevin feel terrible and wish he’d never said anything), but also reminded me that I was a wife before I ever became a mother. So please don’t read this and feel guilty . . . It’s hard for EVERYONE. It’s complicated. We all have to figure it out in our own messy way, and give each other jumbo-sized packages of diapers grace. But here are a few strategies Kevin and I have tried over the years—I hope they give you some helpful ideas.

Five simple ways to stoke the marital flame, even with little ones in the house

These five simple tricks can help you connect with your spouse, even on chaotic days with babies and young children underfoot:

  • Remember simple acts of daily physical affection. Don’t underestimate the power of hugs and kisses to keep you feeling connected and close.
  • Use timers to set aside “Mommy and Daddy Time.” Tell the kids you need a few minutes to talk uninterrupted, and set a timer. The kids can’t come back into the room with you until the timer goes off.
  • Schedule sex. I know, this does not sound romantic in the least, but IT HELPS, especially when kids are young and life is crazy. We have found that if we wait for the stars to align—kids in bed early, house clean enough for me to relax, me not wearing exercise clothes covered in spit-up, both of us rested enough to be willing to stay up a little later, both of us “in the mood” at the same time—um, they will never align. But if we both agree ahead of time that on such-and-such a day, we will work together to put the kids in bed on time, get the dishes done and the house put back together so I can stop cleaning, shut down all the computer and phone dings, and meet up for an interlude in the bedroom—then as long as one of the kids doesn’t start vomiting, we actually stand a chance! We might go really wild and light candles and play mood music.
  • Build sacred Mommy-Daddy time into your schedule at a set time each day, so your children get used to it. (This idea comes from John Rosemond’s book New Parent Power.) Kids know, “This fifteen minutes always belongs to Mommy and Daddy, not to me.” You could try early-morning coffee together, before work and school. If mornings are too hectic at your house (like they are at mine), try setting aside a time slot right after you get home from work, or right after dinner. (When kids get older, we can even let them clean the dinner dishes while Mom and Dad catch up on the day! Let’s all take a moment to daydream about how fabulous that’s going to be . . . )
  • Buy yourself an extra half-hour on evenings when you need time to connect. How? Put kids to bed early with a book and a flashlight. They’ll think it’s a treat to read in bed—it’s kind of like they’re getting away with something—and you can start some early couch-cuddling before you turn into a pumpkin.

Strategies like this are especially helpful for the time of life when we have small kids in the house. But this isn’t just a new-baby issue. The older my children get, the more I realize that this is an ongoing struggle. Older kids mean a busy life and crazy schedule packed with homework, sports, friends, and activities. We will all have to re-learn how to put our marriage first in the preschool years, the elementary years, the preteen years, the teenage years, the empty-nester years. At every stage, it takes a conscious effort to give our marriage the attention it deserves—to give our husbands the attention they deserve.

My wise two-year-old saw what I didn’t see. My husband comes first, not last. No matter how late we are or how busy life is, everybody deserves a good-morning kiss . . . and every kiss counts.


If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:

These Days of Small Things

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

Signs a Man Is Not a First-Time Dad

Prevent Parenting Burnout, Step 3: Make Time for US


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Outshine the Dark


A story of hope in the everyday, via @lizzylit

Images courtesy of Pixabay

I was third in line at Sam’s Club behind two other women, and the line was taking even longer than the usual inch-forward-one-decade-at-a-time pace. At first I was preoccupied, trying to keep my two-year-old from wreaking havoc while we waited. (She likes to peakaboo dance on the boiled peanuts near the registers. Boiled peanuts, you ask? A glorious Southern food, though you should never buy it canned—only from roadside stands, or at football games.)

kids in grocery stores via @lizzylit

At last I realized the reason for the delay: the customer attempting to pay for her groceries was having trouble with her card. Trouble of the no-money-in-the-bank-account kind. She didn’t speak much English, so the embarrassed cashier was having difficulty explaining the problem.

And that’s when it happened.

The woman in front of me waved to the cashier and mouthed, “I got it. Take my card.” And just like that, she handed her card to the astonished cashier and paid for the other woman’s groceries.

At the end of it all, I couldn’t decide who was smiling bigger—the woman who received an unexpected gift from a stranger, the woman with the heart of gold, or the woman behind them, watching the scene unfold.

I know the world is full of heartache and darkness, but there’s light, too. Kindness. Generosity. Sacrifice. And it’s all around us, if only we take time to see.

At home.

At work.

In coffee shops.

On playgrounds.

In grocery store lines.

As Dostoyevsky wrote, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God.” I’m not blind to the evil in the world, but I choose to keep my eyes on the stars, the people bright shining . . . and the One who put them there. Won’t you join me?

In him was light, and that light was the life of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:4

Seeing the good in the world via @lizzylit


If you enjoyed this story, you might also like:

When Kids Know God Better than We Do

Keep Dancing

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

One Day, Somehow (A Promise for a Grieving Friend)


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