My Guest on today’s show coined out the process she calls Truth journaling as a way of renewing your mind. She is an amazing blogger, author, and podcaster.
Recently I noticed a trend in my personal story; that people pleasing and approval craziness are major hindrances that God delivered me from. That’s when I decided to do a series on breaking limits. While I was out looking for other people that have done some work on this topic I stumbled on the podcast of my new sister in the Lord. Here is a link to that episode.
Barb became a Christian 46 years ago but really didn’t start gaining victory over her bad habits until she started renewing her mind 18 years ago. Barb blogs about breaking free from strongholds and growing closer to God at barbraveling.com. She and her husband have been married 35 years and have four adult children. In their spare time, they like to camp, hike, backpack, ski, read, and hang out with family and friends.
You will not only enjoy my conversation with Barb, you will also be introduced to the amazing work that she has done and see how you also can learn to place a demand on God’s words in order to have a better and more fulfilled life.
Barb has done so much work in this space of developing great Christian habits. You can download her free App: ‘I Deserve A Donut’ for your ios and Android devices. This app is filled with scriptures that will help you break negative emotions and develop high performing habits.
Ep. 56 Transcripts: Truth Journaling With Barb Raveling
Welcome to Like Jesus Podcast. This is Olu Sobanjo and I’m very glad that you are here with me again today. And today, I have a very special guest on the show with me.
Recently I started seeing a trend in my personal story and I discovered that people pleasing – approval craziness, was a major hindrance that I’ve had struggle with and a major thing that God has set me free from. And that’s when I decided to do some series on breaking limits and mindset changes and all that. So, while I was looking out for other people that might have done some work on this topic, I stumbled on this wonderful podcast by my guest today. I’m going to link that podcast that I listened to, to the show note of this episode.
Her name is Barb Raveling and she’s a person that I’m getting to know and she’s someone that loves the Lord. She became a Christian about 46 years ago but really didn’t start gaining victory over her bad habit until she started renewing her mind 18 years ago. Barb blogs about breaking free from strongholds and growing closer to God on her website, barbraveling.com. She and her husband have been married for about 35 years and they have 4 adult children. In their spare time, they like to camp, hike, backpack, ski, read, hang out with family and friends. She has written about 5 books and many of those books have to do with renewing your mind and building habits that will bring you more fruit in your walk with the Lord. She’s here with me and I want to specially welcome you Barb, into the show. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Barb: Thank you for having me Olu. I’m excited to be here.
Olu: Very good. Thank you. So, I’d like you to tell us a little bit more about you. I see that you like hiking, backpacking and skiing. Tell us a little bit about all those fun things that you like to do. I know you live in the mountains. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about that?
Barb: Yeah. We live right in the mountains so we can go out and hike and be up in the mountains – the lake in a couple of hours. So that’s really nice. It’s something we grew up doing with our children and now our kids are out of the house and Scott and I still like to do those sorts of things. Just a nice way to relax and enjoy God, enjoy nature, enjoy each other and friends we do it with.
Olu: That’s amazing! That’s amazing. So about how often would you say you do that? Like I see a theme of outdoors there. Do you do that once in a week or is it more than that?
Barb: We try to get out once a week if we can but…
Barb: ….we don’t do much in the winter. We can cross-country skiing but it takes an hour to drive to wherever we would cross-country ski. So we don’t get as much out in the winter. In the summer, yeah! I’d say we hike at least once or twice a week. And sometimes we go like 7 in spring. We go hiking down there to the National park. We have a lot of great national parks here to hike.
Olu: Okay. Okay. Amazing! In the national park, do they have like animals or it’s just a park?
Barb: Well, it depends on the park. Like around here in Montana, there are grisly bears so that’s a little scary.
Barb: But yeah. You don’t have too much. Nothing that’s going to eat you up.
Olu: That’s good. That’s good. So be safe out there, please.
Barb: I try to
Olu: Very good. Very good. So, just before the recording, you were telling me that you do this blogging and podcasting and writing right now, you do it full time. You also mentioned how when your kids were younger, you homeschooled them. Homeschooling is something that I’ve considered because of my lifestyle with my family – being missionaries. Sometimes we are here, sometimes we are there. I’ve considered and we are considering homeschooling the children at some point.
Do you want to tell us a little bit more about that? How did you decide to homeschool and now that they are out of the house, how is that for you?
Barb: Well, we actually decided to homeschool because our oldest one was reading a ___ book by the time he was supposed to go to kindergarten. So we thought he’d be kinda bored there…
Barb: And we had friends, a lot of friends homeschooled and it just seemed kind of interesting. It seemed to be what would be best for the kids so we started it and they really liked it. And we just kept going. It was hard at times especially when the kids were young but we stuck with it. They were homeschooled till the end. It was worth it – well worth it but it was a bit of a sacrifice.
Olu: I can imagine. A huge… I don’t even think I’ll call it a bit of a sacrifice. I think it’s a major sacrifice because there’s so much you want to do but then you are the mom and the teacher…
…and the chauffeur and you are everything… It takes a lot of grace to do that.
Barb: That’s right.
Anyway, so blogging now is something that you’ve been doing. How did you decide on what topic to share on your website? How did you decide on renewing your mind series and I see also that you do a lot of Bible study guides? How did you get into that?
Barb: Well, I prefer writing because God had taught me some things and I wanted to share those things. I didn’t really want to be a writer. I just wanted to be able to help people outside my valley and I knew I’d have to write to do that. And He first taught me how to truth journal, that was about 18 years ago. For the first 3 years, I just spent a lot of time with God renewing my mind. He helped me figure out a lot of things and of course the Bible too. I got really interested in the Bible after a few years of being bored with the Bible as a Christian because I was interested in taking out the light, getting in on the truth and of course I wanted to read the Bible to get the truth out of it. So God changed my life in so many ways, through the discipline of truth journaling that I wanted to start helping other people. So, I started teaching some local Bible study on truth journaling and well, not really Bible study but to local women’s group. And they were interested. They thought it was really cool but nobody took the time to do it. So, I thought to myself because I really wanted to be able to help people develop that habit. And so in a week, I started writing about weight loss as kind of a backdoor to get people in to get closer to God – to grow their relationship with God because I knew that was something lots of people wanted to do – lots of Christians wanted to do, is losing weight. I have been overweight before and so I knew this was something that God could change through truth journaling. I started working on that in my own life and I thought, “I’ll write a Bible study on weight loss because then when people see how valuable truth journaling and renewing your mind can be for weight loss, then it will automatically help people grow closer to God and they can use it in other areas of life. And so I feel like that is why it happened. I get a lot of people write to me and say, “I grew a lot closer to God through your Bible Study…”
Barb: And then, I just started writing on topics that God was working on in my own life. Of course, weight loss was one of those and it was insecurity, procrastination, negative emotions… The first area I started working on was resentment. That’s where I first started truth journaling about that. I think I just kind of grew into the habits and emotions. I’m kind of an undisciplined person by nature – like indulgent; want to have fun so I get lots of practice. I’m working on those habits regarding my own life and I write about those habits.
Olu: I find that it’s just beautiful to hear all that because I think that many of us believers have issues in the area of our minds – letting the mind go anywhere and we may not even notice that it’s gone. You just realize that some negative emotions just come up and you are not sure how you got there and all that. It’s really amazing to see how God has helped you with the weight loss and how you are able to get other people to follow along, you know, on the plan.
But as you were talking, what came to my mind is I wanted to have an idea of where the truth journaling started. How did that start for you? Was it that somebody introduced it to you? Was it that you just discovered one day that this was helping me? How did you get to that point of realizing that I really need to renew my mind and if I journal the truth as I’m getting them, it would help? How did you get there?
Barb: Well, my husband and I were in a Bible study with another couple – friends of ours. We each said, “Okay. Let each of us pick one thing to work on in our lives. One of our flaws that hurts their marriage. And I chose my thoughts that were being critical. I had a critical spirit and I was resenting my husband. So I thought, “Okay. I’m just going to start this think positive project. So every time I have a negative thought about my husband, I’ll write it down and I’ll put a positive thought down next to it. And I’ll start to think positive when I’m fragile…” And I only did that, I’d say for a week, 2 weeks at the most before I realized that my negative thoughts weren’t just negative. They were actually lies. So I started replacing lies with truths and I called it truth journaling. And I made a commitment to renew my mind every time I was annoyed with my husband. And in few months, God just radically changed my attitude towards him. So I wasn’t just like super duper annoyed at him anymore.
I can’t tell you how much that He had changed me so I just kept doing it. Actually what I thought was, “Oh! This is so wonderful. 2 months, God really changes me. Of course not perfectly but huge differences. I could just do this for all the areas of my life. 2 months and I’ll be free from this new area.” So I started truth journaling about food and I did not take too much for about a few years… So, I realized some things are easier than others to get over but that’s kinda how I got started. And I really loved it. I loved that time with God. I truth journal; I talk to God about what He was revealing truth-wise. It was just a really nice time of worship with God.
Olu: Amen. Amen.
I know that there are people out there also that are listening to your story and are saying, “That’s me and I need help.” I’m trusting God that as they are listening to this, I’m trusting God that He’d draw their hearts to the place where they’ll begin to see that the word of God is rich and it’s strong, sharper than any two-edged sword and it can break away old habits and replace new ones.
I remember even in my life, there was a point where I was really frustrated with people. My husband, people, more people than my husband. As I was pastoring with – alongside my husband, one of the things that were really frustrating is to try to be what people wanted me to be. Not to necessarily their fault but me because I began to embrace the words of people as the word of God. So, I began to be turned from one person to the other. And, it got to a point where it became so hard for me – it got to the point where I was tired of everything and I just wanted to… God had to call me one time and said, “I’d like you to…” I think I must have been reading a book by Joyce Meyer or something at the time but I can’t remember the details. But I remember God speaking to me saying, “write down all the lies and write down the truth.” And I began to do that – I wrote down the worst case scenario and the Word of God that goes along with that. The process helped me a lot but I’m so excited and fascinated by the way you coined out truth journaling. It’s a habit that people need to learn and it can just take them away. And it’s very exciting to to see that two months, you start to see changes in your life and you start to understand God in a new way.
Do you want to talk a little bit more about weight loss? How does renewing your mind and weight loss, how does that come together? How?
Barb: A lot of times, the reason we feel like eating is that you are believing lies. So I might say, one little cookie won’t hurt or I deserve a doughnut or this would make me feel better… You know, things like that. And because we believe those things, it makes us eat too much. So then when we change our belief – take off the lies and put on the truth, it actually changes our desires. You’ll have truth journal the same thing over and over again because I might be believing those things. Like right now, I might truth journal and once I truth journal and take on the truth, I don’t have the desire to overeat anymore. But then 4 hours later, I might also be believing the same lies. That would spur anything. That could spur resentment, insecurity, anything. So, we just keep taking those lies off and keep putting the truth on until eventually, we hear the truth as soon as we hear the lie and eventually not wanting to hear the lie anymore. It takes time to do that – it’s kind of like doing a spiritual work there. You’re in a huge battle. One battle is not going to do the trick. You have to keep fighting for a long time. If it’s short – like if it’s not a huge stronghold, then you can get over things pretty quickly but it just kinda depends on how much of a stronghold something is in your life. Eating takes a long time for a lot of people. Procrastination took a long time for me. Insecurity has taken a long time. I’ve been truth journaling about that for the last 6 years on and off ever since I started my last blog.
Barb: If it’s somebody else, those things may take less time. It just kinda depends on the person I think.
Olu: And I guess… You mentioned something about strongholds also. I guess it depends on the level where it is at in the person’s life because I find that sometimes, you may not even think that it is a lie. Sometimes for example when… Let’s assume someone is in a difficult marriage that things are hard or you are in a relationship with a boss – a relationship at work where this person is just difficult. It’s a little hard, I mean it can even get really hard to be able to convince that person that they are the ones that need to work on themselves and renew their mind and not this other person that is mean to them at work. Because I’ve been in that situation before. While I was going through the process of having somebody that was extremely critical of me at work, I always thought the guy was the problem. I didn’t see it as an attack. I didn’t see it as a struggle – spiritual struggle. I just saw the guy as the main guy. And what did I do? Why is he mean to me? Those were the questions that were going on in my mind and so I find that even to get someone to a point where they begin to realize that they need a change – they are the one that needs a change. It’s a little hard.
I don’t know if you want to add. If somebody is listening right now and all they are thinking about is the fact that the other person is the problem. How do we get them to see that they need to renew their minds first?
Barb: Okay. Now, that’s a great question because that’s exactly how I felt when I started renewing my mind about my husband, about my marriage. I totally thought he was the problem. And a lot of my truth journal entries had things like “This isn’t fair!!! I can’t believe he did that…” That sort of thing. Right now, my husband is a great Christian. He was also a great Christian back then. So, I’m not saying he’s a terrible Christian. But I was focused on his faults and I had a natural habit of being a critical Christian. So if I’m a critical person, I’m going to focus on his faults. So I tried changing him for maybe about 20 years.
At least 15 years and it just didn’t work. He wasn’t changing. So I’d say to that person first of all, how is… Should you be trying to change the person who is messed up? That’s not how it works out. We can say things just a few times or I can go to them… but the bottom line is we are all sinners. None of us changes fast as others would like us to change for various reasons. But we can’t change ourselves.
So, when I started working on renewing my mind, I felt really terrible being so angry with him. I don’t have outbursts or say anything. I was more of the silent angry type but I didn’t want to have to keep thinking ill of him so I wanted to get rid of that annoyance, okay. It didn’t work to change him to the type of person… I mean… I got annoyed too easily. But every time I renewed my mind, I just felt so peaceful. I felt super loved by God and it was worth it just to experience the peace. So, I know it will take a little bit of… It takes some time and effort to learn how to do it. For some people, it comes really easy… I actually have videos on my website. If you go to the renew your mind tab, under the renewing the mind tools, I have videos on how to truth journal and some other blog posts but it’s so worth it. I can’t remember what… Oh! When I kept realizing though is that I started out thinking he’s the bad guy. Almost every time I truth journal, I rewrite my own sin too. I was recognizing my sin of resentment… That may be repent or maybe be more compassionate with him. I’m not sure quite how to explain it but it just seems like “Okay, you’re the bad guy. I’m the good guy.” After truth journaling I realized, “Oh, we are both bad guys, we are good guys, and I can focus more on the good things about him except when I needed to accept that are not so good things but at least in my mind were not so good. Not necessarily simple. So anyway…
Olu: Very good. Very good. Thank you so much. I think the fact that we bringing the Word of God into a situation… The Word of God is powerful on its own and it has a way of breaking chains in our own lives. I think you know, as you are talking, one of the things that is coming to me since the fact that you are surrendering to the Word of God is I’m choosing to trust God that I don’t have the control. I don’t have the final say. His Word has the final say because and so I bring the Word of God into my situation – my relationship and I begin to say whatever your word says Lord, is what I’m going to believe and that’s what I’m going to live by. And that alone brings the power of God into your heart and I think that’s what renews the mind. And I believe also that… You know I was doing a study on this renewing the mind and all that and I saw that lady – Dr. Caroline Leigh. She talks about the fact… I think she’s a neuroscientist. Something like that.
Barb: Yeah. Yeah.
Olu: She talks about how the brain develops some really bad framework. I don’t know what word she uses. But your brain actually can change after you begin to think good. If you are used to the negative thoughts, it changes after a while if you just keep doing it and before you know it, the abundant life of Christ begins to be your experience in every area that you have exposed the word of God to.
So, yeah! I know you also have books that you’ve written, you have your blog and you also have a free app. Do you wanna talk about that? What’s …
Barb: Yeah. It’s called “I deserve a doughnut” and it’s a free Android and IOS app and it’s got questions that will help you renew your mind. There are questions and Bible verses. It’s directed towards people who want to lose weight but you could use it to break any habit or you can also use it to work on letting go of your negative emotions… I think I have 4 different types of Insecurity questions; I have anger, worry, envy… and you can push on whatever you think that you need and then we will ask questions. The questions you can either write down the answers in your journal. I think that’s super helpful than doing it in your mind. But you can also do it in your mind. If you do it in your mind then you can talk the answers over with God instead of writing them down in your journal. Or you should write the answers down and take breaks and talk to God. These are questions about help point out the life you have been living and help you get a biblical perspective on life. That’s what the most questions are like…
Olu: Very good.
Barb: These are questions that will help you not want to overeat or if you have a bad habit, not want to do your habit. You just have to adjust the question a little bit mentally… for breaking bad habits but they’ll work for that.
Olu: Very good. Very good. Very good. So I’ll recommend that app for everyone to get. “I deserve a doughnut” is on Android and IOS platforms so you can get it for getting the word of God to renew your mind for weight loss specifically and for breaking different habits. So please go there and download “I deserve a doughnut”
Yeah, you wanted to say something.
Barb: It also works for me go of negative emotions – worry, envy, insecurity… and I have a bunch of Bible verses too for each negative emotions. You can either work on answering the questions or you can just ignore the questions and use the Bible verses to meditate on or pray through. Either one is helpful.
Olu: Okay. Very good. Thank you so much. And you know, it’s very interesting that as Christians, sometimes we may even… we take work seriously, we take the study seriously but sometimes you hardly find somebody taking renewing your mind like a job that you have to do and if you don’t do it, that’s when the thief comes to kill, to steal and to destroy. But the life that Jesus came to give us is abundantly available for us but we have to work and take it. So, I really appreciate the time we’ve had to talk.
I ask you to just say a word of prayer as we wrap it up and just remember that there are some people that are struggling with different habits right now especially we are looking at habits this month on my podcast. I’d like you to just say a word of prayer over all that and end our time together today.
Barb: Lord, I thank you so much for the opportunity to be on this podcast and for all the people who are listening today who are struggling with different things and they may feel as though they may never get over them. They may be feeling discouraged or disturbed. Father, I pray for everyone who is listening and for Olu and I as well, that you will help us to glorify you with our lives. You’ll help us break the habits that you want to be broken. Help us let go of our negative emotions and hold all your gifts with open hands; to be accepting towards others and patient and loving more. I just pray for whatever we need in our lives to make that happen.
Thank you for your truth and thank you for how you give us wisdom whenever we come to you for help. Thank you for this podcast, in Jesus name. Amen.
Olu: Amen. Amen. Thank you so much, Barbara and I look forward to having you some more time on the podcast and God bless you.
Barb: God bless you Olu. Good to be here.