“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Our world moves quickly. And we get stuck in patterns, in ruts, mental or otherwise, that do not serve us well. We end up serving the cause of efficiency, or success, or an organization–and our mind begins to form to the values and desires of the world we are engrossed in. Sometimes these are healthy causes, healthy motivations, but often not, and often they aren’t created for the flourishing of humanity. Our minds are being formed in that way all the time whether we are aware of it or not, hence the need to ‘be transformed by the renewing of our minds.’ The very form of our mind needs to be changed. Here are some stories about how peoples’ minds were renewed over break.
“I am a person whose personality lies at the anxious/worrisome end of the spectrum. Being so, I find renewal and relaxation through reassurance. I spend time doing things that allow me to reconfirm my passion for, or decision to pursue, different activities, beliefs and schoolwork. As a result, I spent this winter break recharging at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo (my workplace for the past 8 years). I am fortunate enough that my current work is my passion. At the zoo, I was able to recharge and reconcile the discrepancies of my thoughts and feelings. I addressed the doubt that I, and surely others, experience as we sit in classes that we absolutely hate but are told we’re supposed to enjoy. I woke up at 6:00 AM, 5 days a week including holidays, to sift through wood chips on my hands and knees looking for fecals and to scrub remnants of the previous day’s dinner off enclosure walls. Like all other past experiences at the zoo, I absolutely loved it! It was another chance to calm my anxiousness and renew myself for the upcoming semester.”
-Dominic Dongilli, Cortinian
“When I left Creighton for winter break I had no idea that I would end up having a “change-of-mind.” Last semester was the busiest 4 months of my life. Not only was I taking 19 credits, but I also had 2 jobs, was the co-president of a student organization, and was involved in multiple other activities. Needless to say, I did not allow myself very much quiet time, alone time, nor reflection about the person I was, the things I was doing, and the people I was surrounding myself with. It wasn’t until I had these past 4 weeks of no commitments that I was able to step back and evaluate my situation.
Giving myself the ability to take a breather over break has been more beneficial than I could ever explain. It has allowed me to reflect on my relationships, both at home and at school, that I really value and cherish; it has opened my eyes to those relationships that I have that are really unhealthy and that I need to either work on or distance myself from; and it has helped me realize that I have a lot of people at school who I really want to get to know better. When I am around a lot of people and don’t allow myself sufficient alone time, it is hard for me to separate the friendships that bring out the best in me from those that bring out the worst. Because when I am around certain people, I can unwillingly change into someone I don’t want to be. But by stepping back, I have had a change of mind, and now everything seems so much clearer; I know who I am, where I am going, and who I want to be. This change of mind has definitely been for the better.”
-Haley Warren, Cortinian
“Over the course of this winter break, I’ve experienced something I hadn’t known in a very long time: nothing was due. Though I am far from spending all of my time during the semester working, there is always the knowledge that there is something I should be working on, particularly this past semester with graduate application deadlines all at the end of the calendar year. That was all essentially complete before Christmas though, allowing me to enjoy time with my family and then something very different: true free time. And in that period I discovered something about myself—I don’t know what to do with true free time. While I enjoy getting the chance to read, watch TV, etc., it doesn’t provide the same level of satisfaction I find in the classroom, the research lab, with my friends at school and in the Cortina Community. The break has afforded me the possibility of a mental renewal, a ‘hard reset’ on my own thoughts, to let me face the new semester with a fresh mind. I’m glad I had the break, but now it is time to start again, and I’m excited to do so.”
-John Otto, Cortina RA