I have the privilege of working in a preschool and in particular working in the room with the one and two-year old babies. I get to interact with them on a daily basis which often enables me to see and be involved with growth and development. They are so little and something has always fascinated me about new life. I have been peed on, hugged with a snotty noses, gone home with stains on my shirts. I’m sitting here reflecting and recognize that I have gone home with bruises on my shins from being accidentally kicked by a three-year old. All of this comes part of the job and I understood that when I signed up. I also have been involved in other things such as: potty training, teaching children to speak, instilling manners and discipline. When I see someone get something or understand something for the first time it moves something inside of me.
I also understand the power of words better than what I did before. Some of these kids were biters and hitters and wanted attention for all the wrong reasons. If you want to see a child’s behavior transform- evaluate what you speaking over them. They gravitate towards warmth, love and boundaries. I don’t want children to fear me and be afraid of me however I do want them to respect me and I think that there is a massive difference between the two. These little babies hear the words spoken over them which determines the way they see themselves and that will present itself in how they relate to others. So in other words what they hear shapes a belief and the belief shapes the behavior.
As adults are we so different? As human beings whether we are babies or adults what we think about ourselves will project itself in how we relate to others. As adults we have a little more scars that help determine mindsets and often times these are hard to shift and change. Sometime we get so settled in unhealthy thinking that we learn to live and operate in the mindset as if it were normal and trying to change it seems to daunting of a task. What we have accepted as normal is often dysfunctional. Some examples may be helpful:
- I’m not good enough
- I will never amount to anything
- How could God use me?
- I am unloveable
- The world is against me
All of these come from a fear of rejection, feelings of inadequacy, failure and an idea that everyone is against us which leaves us in defensive mode and ready for an attack at any given moment. Maybe these feelings are near and dear to our hearts because its the only thing that we have ever experienced by those closest to us.
I am guilty of operating my life from such a place. I mean aren’t we all at some point? So if I can recognize this place within me and know how unhelpful it is, how do I change it? And this is where my faith kicks into high gear. Some psychologists came up with two theories long ago which I find extremely important to consider
- We are what we think
- We are what we expose ourselves to
I have already put in a framework for the first point and in my next blog I will attempt to put in a framework for the second point. If we are what we think then that poses the question What am do I think about? Take a moment, a day, a week to examine what goes on inside of your mind. This has led me to a passage in scripture that is often stated in church and missional communities that holds a much heavier weight than what we give credit for
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.(Romans 12:2 NLT)
In other translations it uses the word to renew. To renews ones mind. In other words then, to combat unhealthy thinking it starts with a renewing of our minds. Renew can be defined as:
- to replenish
- to bring into being again
- to become new again
- to start over
- to restore to a new a fresh condition- this definition captures me
It’s the taking of our thought life and allowing it to be restored into something fresh. For me personally it goes through phases. Hopefully these phases and the struggles that I have met, and continue to meet and walk through resonate with you.
Read scripture—————-beliefs are established——————-leads to transformation
Then we understand more of the wholeness that was always intended for us.
So many of us can read the bible, we understand it in theory and can imagine it practically but it doesn’t leave us any different. This verse presents itself as a gateway, or a door, or an explanation as to why reading the word is so important. And not just because reading is important but it’s an encouragement of what could our lives look like if we actually started believing what we are reading. I think we have no problem reading the bible or hearing it. I think the problem lies in the fact of do we believe this truth in our hearts? And our we willing to risk, to give up, to let go of what we think, or how we think, or the way we think to discover that these truths are worth standing on. That they are worth basing our lives on. I am convinced that when we get to this place transformation is taking place.
Do we actually believe that we are unconditionally loved by God?
Do we believe that the same spirit that raised Jesus up from the grave wants to raise us up?
Do we forgive easily knowing that we have been forgiven or do we hold grudges and make others pay for the mistakes they have made?
Do respond in our anger rather than turning the other the cheek?
Do we extend kind mercy rather than harsh judgement?
I am not sure how you answered those and I know how I have answered them myself but lets not get caught up with right and wrong because that is completely missing the point. Its taking the answers we came up with and figuring out where those responses come from. What beliefs have shaped the response and is it a response that aligns itself with scripture.
Why is this subject so close to my heart? Because I long to be free, I long to live a full life, a life of abundance that is promised to me through the word that I build my life on. But often times I don’t feel free nor full. When I feel like that, I am constantly reminded to go back to what is true and right. We are our biggest roadblocks to experiencing all that God has for us. “You can close the windows and darken your room and you can open the windows and let the light in. our mind is your room. Do you darken it or do you fill it with light?”
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1.
This scripture is worth pondering and meditating on and asking the question of in what areas and I am standing in the freedom that Christ offers to me and how have I seen transformation take place? And in what areas am I feeling trapped and I need to go back to God himself and His word and do some adjusting in my thinking. I think its important to remember and praise God for what He has already done but in doing this I find it a real source of strength when maybe the next thing seems so big.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
I went to a charity shop yesterday with Rachel and Rebecca and as we were leaving I managed to spot a book of inspirational people and stories of hope and courage and faith. Books like these are little treasures for me. As I was doing a quick read through and came across this however I have moved some words around.
“The only thing that stands between a person and who they really want to be in life is the will to try and the faith to believe that anything is possible. “