A mantra is a repeated statement to oneself that can basically help one to believe what we are saying to ourselves. It is not a magical incantation, and it is not a “formula” that will bring what I am focusing the mantra on to pass. Some eastern religions will define mantra differently, but conceptually, it can help us understand that what we tell ourselves is important. In a Biblical sense, Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “as a man thinks, or believes, in his heart, so he is.”
Recently my wife entered a new phase of her life; she resigned her position as a hospice nurse. It was getting to be an all consuming reality for her, never letting up in demand. The bigger problem was, that she was finding her identity largely in who she was as a nurse, and less as just herself, a wife, mom, etc. It sapped the emotional and spiritual vitality out of her, and she was spiritually and emotionally, and even physically exhausted.
Resigning was only the first step. She quickly realized that doing anything out of her routine seemed difficult at best, and the motivation to do anything beyond the most necessary things was just not there.
She knew that there would be a transition, a getting used to not working, but since so much of who she was was invested in her work, other normal tasks, all by themselves, didn’t provide any motivation.
She started talking with a friend to get some insight and direction. She was encouraged to look deeply into why she felt “stuck”. The journey began. Talking about some of the roadblocks that were preventing her from moving forward, she discovered that she was telling herself some lies, like she couldn’t do things, that she was not good enough or deserving, and she needed to take those thoughts captive.
She then saw that could aid this process, by implementing a form of self talk, uncovering the lies, and replacing them with God’s truth, which evolved into a “mantra.” She wrote it out and put it on the bathroom mirror.
First she had to believe that it was possible, hence, “I Can”. Secondly, there needed to be an action step and a choice, “I Will”, and the urgency and the fact that IF I want to change this aspect of my life, “I Must” make changes that lead me into a place of strength, hope and trust, that as I makes these daily choices, I can be empowered to move forward.
The value of a “mantra” in this format, helped her to take her lying, disabling, thoughts captive, so that she could stop sabotaging herself by continually telling herself she couldn’t. Further disqualifying herself, and bolstering the lie, was that she didn’t feel worthy of receiving any blessing or strength from God at all. Even though she “knew”, that “with God all things are possible”.
So the mantra in and of itself, holds no inherent power, but to the one believing it’s words, finds truth, hope, light and grace to move forward.
This has opened the door to a new chapter in her life, and ours as a couple. She is no longer identified by a “position”, but simply by who she is, as a daughter of God. Every day now represents a few steps forward on the journey… No Bad Days.