Have you ever wished you could change your life?
The Rat Race, Hamster Wheel, Daily Grind, Vicious Cycle, Treadmill … we call it by different names, but they all mean the same thing. The norm that describes the lives of so many people. Day-to-day survival, without a sign of light at the end of the tunnel.
Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be that way? Would you respond with instant denial? After all, everybody around you is in the same situation, aren’t they? This is the norm.
Unfortunately, it has become normal for many people, especially those living in the city.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why we are this way? Or who are you really beneath the function of a spouse, employee, parent, colleague, or friend? Are our heads buried so deep, pushing to get through and survive another day, that we lose sight of who we are?
Our behaviors are rooted in our belief systems, formed over years, and silently controlling the way we live our lives. We think we are in control as long as we are busy. But are we really?
Reasons to Consider a Renewed Mind
- Your life is not how you expected it to be
- You feel trapped
- Continually chasing perfectionism
- Thought patterns are erratic, unpleasant, and destructive
- Stress and frustration are part of your life
For me, it was perfectionism, constantly striving to chase down the next goal, to be the best. For you, it is probably something different. It manifests differently in all of us but ultimately represents the same thing. A need to overcome and prove ourselves.
What preempts change?
You’ve heard about the frog in boiling water? If you put a frog into boiling water, it jumps out immediately. (So I’ve heard) If you put it into cold water and heat the water gradually, it stays in and gets boiled. Gruesome I know, but that’s what has happened to many of us.
Life has gradually got busier, more demanding, chaotic, and unmanageable. We have lost who we are in a frenetic pace to keep up with the daily demands. We know this. But what are we doing about it? Will you wait until a health crisis, a wake-up call, or a failed relationship, before you decide to do something?
Unfortunately, it often does take a life-changing event to get our attention and force us to take stock of our lives. At other times it is an unexpected shift that takes place in our minds. We don’t fully understand when it happens, but it causes us to look at life from a different perspective.
That is often how God works by the way.
What is a Changed or Renewed Mind?
Over the course of our lives, events, experiences, people, upbringing, and society, to name a few, all impact our thought processes and worldview. We are bombarded by an onslaught of perceptions and expectations which are banked in our brains, and during our lifetime, they establish our thoughts and behaviors, impacting how we live our lives. They are known as belief patterns and can be negative, neutral, or positive.
How the brain works is an intense topic but there is plenty of research behind it, too much to cover here in one post. I highly recommend looking up one of the experts such as Dr. Caroline Leaf, who covers the subject extensively in her books, podcasts, and Ted Talks.
While belief patterns are firmly entrenched and difficult to change, with prayer, insight, knowledge, and intervention, we can work to renew our minds and change the destructive behaviors that result.
Causes of Toxic Belief Patterns
Not all belief patterns and thoughts are toxic but it is important to understand them so that you can identify those that are harmful. We can do this through coaching, self-awareness, and understanding what caused the beliefs in the first place.
The impact of words
We underestimate the power of words. A simple word spoken carelessly and adopted as truth can cause lasting damage. It may seem insignificant enough to barely warrant a second thought, but deep down, a negative thought takes root. This applies to the words we speak over others too.
God did warn us about the dangers of the tongue.
Belief Systems can become entrenched as a result of past events. We may well remember the event but forget how we felt or how it could have impacted our thoughts. It is sometimes seemingly insignificant events that cause the most damage because we are unaware of the profound consequences.
How to Renew your mind
Let me start by saying, there is no quick fix.
It is daunting to know that there is something not right but you have no idea what. Even if you know what it is, is it possible to change it?
Deep belief and hurt may take intense counseling and/or Psychology to uncover and treat the cause. At other times, it is as simple as uncovering the source, acknowledging the hurt, and readjusting our thought patterns.
Whatever process you undertake, prayer should be an intricate part of it. I have seen first hand the power of God’s healing when we surrender to Him in prayer.
Helpful Strategies to Renew the Mind
- Understand why we need to take our thoughts captive and renew our minds
- Always begin with prayer and surrender your thoughts captive to the Lord.
- Find the source. Where did it go wrong?
- Examine the mindsets and beliefs you have adopted
- Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you to seek the truth.
- Recondition your mind with scriptural truth and Biblical perspectives
- Replace the old irrational thoughts with positive ones
- It may take time to feel complete release. Whenever you feel yourself slipping into old beliefs, pray into them, and stop the thought from taking up residence in your mind again
Benefits of a Renewed Mind
- Living a transformed life
- We hear God more clearly and we grow closer to Him
- Pursue more of the right things and less of the meaningless
- We establish who we really are and begin to live life authentically
Paul instructs believers not to conform to the world’s way of thinking which is what we tend to do. We need to intentionally and continuously submit to the Spirit in the situations we face daily.
Why God’s way is the only way
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8
A mind is a powerful tool that God has given us to use for good, which is why the enemy is determined to attack, sabotage, and control our minds for his own benefit. As Dr. Caroline Leaf says, our minds control our physical environment and thus our lives.
Do you see how vulnerable we can be if we do not surrender our mind to God and renew it every day?
When I first realized I harbored toxic beliefs, I didn’t know how to approach God or what I should ask for. Would He even listen? But God knows what is in our hearts, better than we do. We need only to surrender to Him in prayer.
Many coaches and motivation gurus promise the world, but the truth is not always easy. Healing is a process which is why we need support from others and wise counsel, but most of all we need the Holy Spirit’s intervention.
Know and believe that any thought can be changed with the power of the Holy Spirit working for you, it is His desire that we live free of past hurts.
Positive and Negative Thinking
As Health Consultant and Writer Martha Beck stated, “Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness.”
The problem is that we try to change our lives outwardly where we need to first change ourselves inwardly. We think if we can lose weight, do more, and achieve success, then we will feel better about ourselves. But when we get there we find it was only a temporary reprieve, because many of the goals we chase are ways to cover up the negative thoughts we subconsciously believe in our minds.
And so the Hampster Wheel spins.
We can think positively about the future with optimism, but avoiding negative thinking has to do with ourselves. Unfortunately, it is seldom just a case of telling ourselves a more positive story, the beliefs are long entrenched and will take effort to renew.
Further Information on Renewing the Mind
This is a large topic and I have barely scratched the surface. My aim was for you to recognize the symptoms and encourage you to pursue the subject further through prayer and support. The Lord will reveal the negative beliefs and thought patterns that are holding you captive, and through His love and forgiveness will set you free.
God loves you and this is what He wants for you; to shake off the shackles that are not from Him.
Leave a Reply