The Mindful Christian

By Heather Widmer LMHC, CAP

I know what you may be thinking.. “Mindfulness? Isn’t that practiced in Buddhism?” or “is practicing mindfulness considered a Christian practice?” Before I begin I think its best we define mindfulness and “being mindful”.

Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to what we are doing, thinking and feeling at the moment you are doing, thinking and feeling it. As Christians we so long to stay connected and focused to God and God’s kingdom, but we can agree and recognize that our fears, anxieties, insecurities and the negativity in this world often times interfere with this focus and our ability to stay present.

As a counselor, it is amazing to me that we live in a culture that is constantly rushing, living in the future, consistently chasing something bigger and better and at the same time people lack more self-awareness than ever before, are missing out on incredible opportunities to bring them happiness and more importantly are so disconnected from the world around them- yet many are so closed off to exercises/coping tools that have scientifically been proven to help.

Stress is higher than ever, even amongst Christians. Stress impacts our physical, mental and emotional state and cost billions of dollars to American businesses each year. As Christians, we know that Christ completely covers us in His grace and love and tells us specifically not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries, yet we still hold onto stress and control. Because we are all human, our minds are prone to wander and are so easily distracted from God, extending love, helping others, God’s purpose for us, etc.

I think it’s safe to say that when our minds are clearer, the decisions we make may be easier, our priorities are more in line and our choices in life seem less complex. Practicing mindfulness allows for us to be aware of the negative thoughts that don’t work in our favor, be aware of fears, stay focused in the now and stop living in the past. Living in the present allows us to trust in God’s future for us and when we are focused on the now, we will be able to accomplish much more for God’s kingdom and live a life of abundance.

I can’t tell you when I started becoming more “mindful” and “self-aware”, but I can tell you that my own experiences of hell allowed me to open my eyes and begin noticing the world in a whole new light. Being aware of others struggles in addition to my own allowed me to take a true look at my heart and soul and ultimately get more in touch with God and the person God created me to be. As I grew more connected to the needs of the world around me, the longing to live out a life of love and compassion became stronger and stronger and at the same time was haunted by missed opportunities I didn’t take due to fears and lack of being fully present. I became less judgmental, a better listener and more self-aware with others and myself. I began to combat fears and insecurities within myself, taking risks I’d never taken and ultimately living my life to the fullest while glorifying God every step of the way. Isn’t that the life God wants us to live? A life of fullness, a life of experiences, of love, of connection to Him and the world around us? If you would like help on living in a more mindful way, call us.