Your brain and your body are amazing. Your body is constantly at work creating new cells, and disposing of dead ones. No matter how little you like change – you are constantly changing at the most basic of levels.
So, you might want to reconsider the thoughts that you “can’t” change…
You absolutely can.
When I first graduated from graduate school, I worked in a hospital in Encinitas, CA – on the northern side of San Diego. At one time, we had 2 patients with very similar diagnoses. One was a man in his early 40s, and the other was a lady about twice his age. Care to guess who went home in better condition? You would think the young guy, right? But, no, he went home confined to a wheelchair. The woman went home walking and completely independent. It was such a distinct contrast that it’s stuck in my mind all this time.
Both had difficulties to overcome. But only one had the courage and determination to do the hard work to get better. I think, partly this was because the woman had a rich and full life to go home to. She had a goal, and she was not going to let anything stand in her way of achieving that goal. So she did. Her internal beliefs were consistent with healing and progress and success.
I don’t know the details of the man’s life as he didn’t share them. But he seemed to have a core belief that he couldn’t get better. It was too hard. And there really wasn’t much point. He gave up because he didn’t believe that he could do it. No matter how those of us encouraged him, he had accepted the lie of defeat, and would not shift. I hope that in the months and years that followed that he found the strength and courage to change his beliefs, thinking, and circumstances.
I know we all would rather I waved a magic wand and fixed all of our issues – but unfortunately, I don’t have one. God does heal people instantly of things, and I don’t want to discount that it is possible, but healing or any other form of transformation often comes as the result of a lengthy process. And that’s okay, in fact, it’s important.
I think the need for process is partly because we have to develop the strength, habits, and skills in order for prosperity to be a blessing. Otherwise, the stresses and insecurities will destroy us. I forget the exact statistics, but they say that those who win the lottery generally have lost all of their money, and some are even worse off than before, within a fairly short period of time.
Why? Because money wasn’t the issue. They didn’t have the attitudes and sound money management strategies in place in order to handle their sudden wealth. So, as you are working through these lessons, hopefully again and again, please remember that long-term transformation takes time and effort.
But you can do this!
You can be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) You have the mind of Christ! (1 Cor 2:16) And we get there by thinking about all of those things that are true, honorable, just, and excellent – among other things. (Phil 4:8)
- Check out the openbible (https://www.openbible.info/topics/) and search for “renewed mind”. You will find many verses to encourage you! Now, choose one that hits home the most. Not that feels the nicest, or that you like the most, but the one that causes almost a reflexive rejection of the concept. Biblegateway.com and blueletterbible.com are also great sites. If the Bible isn’t your “thing” then search online for quotes pertaining to your ability to grow and change.
- Write it on a 3×5 card, or a sticky note. I want you to word it as if it is true personally. I might write: I can be transformed by the renewing of my mind, or Alice can be transformed by the renewing of Alice’s mind. I want to be able to own that verse or statement.
- Put that card or sticky note where you will see it frequently. Read it aloud. Yes, out loud. At least 5 times a day, the more the merrier. Be alert to any thought that contradicts what you have written. If and when those thoughts come, I want you to talk to it. Tell it “No.” Or “Stop”, or something along those lines, and then repeat your truth statement.
- Find a picture or a phrase that demonstrates this truth, and post that where you will see it often.
- Another great tool is thankfulness. Thank God for creating you. Thank him for giving you a new mind. Thank him for whatever truth it is that you are currently focusing on.
There are a couple ways of addressing more than one issue. You can either work on them sequentially, or you can do several at once. That is really going to depend on you, your schedule, and how much the lies have been ingrained. What I want, is for you to be successful, so if you try something one way, and it’s not working, then change it up. There is no “right” way that works for everyone. Most likely there will be similarities, but don’t be afraid to try something different. Giving up entirely is the only way that you fail.
Each time you are successful, I want you to celebrate. Set small goals in the beginning that you can easily achieve, and then increase the difficulty as you are easily accomplishing the ones before. Some people like lists and charts, and so checking off each time they read their card(s) aloud is fun. Some people like to move pebbles or pennies from one jar to another with each success. However you choose, set points along the way to reward yourself in some way. Then, increase your goal a bit, and start again. I recommend that you don’t track the times you forget. Success is much more motivating than yelling at yourself for messing up.
Examples of rewards:
- Get another piece of paper or card, and put a small sticker (or check mark) on it each time you read your truth statement out loud until you have 30 or 50, then reward yourself with something small. A treat that is not difficult or expensive to obtain, but that you will enjoy. The more times you read your truth statement, the sooner you will obtain your reward.
- Increase the difficulty a little, maybe make another one for stickers for every day that say your truth statements 5 times, and after 30-45 days set another reward.
- If you find that you aren’t doing as well with the daily, then go back to tracking each time. Remember to set yourself up for success.
You don’t have to continue these forever, just as long as it takes to firmly embed that truth in your heart and mind. After a while, you won’t need to read them aloud all the time, but you may find that coming back to them for a “check-up” every month or so is good. After some time, you will hopefully find that it is nearly inconceivable to you that you used to have such limiting thoughts about your ability to change and grow in new and positive directions.
You are establishing a new habit and rewiring your brain along new pathways. It isn’t terribly difficult, but it does require time and repetition.