We Are What We Think

Have  you ever caught yourself wanting to be like someone else? I believe as a woman we go through phases of wanting to look like or act like someone else. I remember when I was a little girl, I loved to play dress up and pretend I was someone else. Then as a teenager I would look at magazines and want to have the right clothes or the right haircut. I didn’t really have the money to dress like a lot of the girls I went to school with, so I constantly felt awkward in what I was wearing.

Then I went to college. It was a stretch financially for me to go away to school. I was desperate to find a group to fit in with. I had my friends, but I wanted a sisterhood, so I joined a sorority. I definitely wasn’t the girl with the cool clothes and I still felt awkward about myself. So many of the other girls were beautiful and had the money to spend on clothes that I didn’t have. I felt out of place because I was trying to fit into something that I knew inside wasn’t going to make me happy. I was placing my identity on what I looked like or did rather than on Christ. That has been one of my biggest battles. I have allowed so many other things to control me instead of Christ.

When I first met my husband, he became my focus. My relationship with Christ went into second place. Then, my children came along, and I did the same thing. I am such a pleaser and performance driven by nature that I allowed so many other things to become first or second before my relationship with Christ.

In my heart, I didn’t want that to happen, but time after time I found myself back in the same cycle of pleasing and performing for others, not God. I was a slave to it. My identity was wrapped up in what I did instead of who I was. I am better, but I still struggle with it because I still like to do. Not to say that “doing” is bad, but I can’t be a slave to it. 

I was struck recently by what C.S. Lewis said. “God became man to turn creatures into sons; not simply to produce better men of the old kind, but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better, but like turning a horse into a winged creature.” I am not on this earth to be a better version of myself, but I am here to be like Christ.

Since, my goal—our goal, is to be like Christ; not a better version of ourselves, we have to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do that. We simply can’t do this in our own power. We have a choice to make. Do we live like Christ or simply a better version of ourselves? “I get to decide moment by moment what I live for! And as heirs of God we get to live for Him!” Allen

I think the concept of being like Christ and thinking like Christ has hit me more lately than it ever has. I want the mind of Christ more because of what is happening in the world. I want to respond to things like He would want me to. And that takes a lot of effort! I have to be aware of what I am thinking and feeling which is not easy for me.

All of us have thoughts that consume us. We need to be aware of what those thoughts are so we can deal with them and bring them into the light. For instance, I mentioned in my last two posts that I have struggled with the thought “I am helpless.” When I was reading the book and doing the study “Get Out Of Your Head” by Jennie Allen, I came across a section in the study that really helped me.

Jennie puts lies we believe into three categories: I’m helpless. I’m worthless. I’m unlovable. I relate mostly to “I’m helpless.” (I didn’t realize that issue dominated my thinking so much until I did the study!)  She goes on to ask questions about where the lie came from and how this lie tends to play into your fears and anxieties. Those questions really helped me pinpoint when it started and how it is playing into my thinking. 

Next, she has you ask yourself if the lie is true and what God says about that lie. I looked up scriptures that helped me reinforce the truth that I am not helpless. Now, I have scripture to refer to when I start to go down that road in my thought life. Finally, there is one more question that she asks, “Am I going to believe God?” I have a choice to make. And, I want my answer to be a resounding “YES!”

The reason why I mention this process is because we have to be aware of the lies that might be behind some of our thoughts. “We don’t simply need our spiraling thoughts to stop, we need our minds to be redeemed.” Allen  Yes, this takes a lot of work, but if we can stop some of our thoughts and replace them with truth, then our minds can be renewed and redeemed.

“Paul had horrible circumstances, but his circumstances didn’t dictate his thoughts. It was his love of Jesus and trust in a good, loving, in-control God that consumed his mind and his purpose.”Allen  I have to confess that I have allowed so many of my circumstances to dictate my thoughts. I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. I didn’t know to be aware, to grab those thoughts and to bring them to God and expose the lies that they were. But, I know now. I don’t want to live my life allowing that to happen any more. I was to trust a good, loving and in-control God that consumes my mind and my purpose.

As I write these words, tears streaming down my face, I think I am the luckiest girl in the world because I have Jesus! Despite everything that has happened to me, I have Him and I always will. Oh, how I love Him! He is the one thing I want to be wholly surrendered to. I want a healthy mind trained on Christ and what He wants for me. When I set my mind on Him, freedom follows. Forgiveness takes place. Love abounds. Joy emerges. Peace occurs. Contentment is found.

We live in a fallen world. Evil is everywhere. But, we have a powerful source that is there to give us exactly what we need. We need to tap into it! We need to be aware of the lies that are assaulting our brains every day. We need to bring them into the light and ask for God to redeem them. We need to pray for one another and help each other get through the difficult times.

WE NEED TO BE HONEST with our feelings and our thoughts. That is so important for our mental health! Find someone you can trust and talk to them. Tell them what you are struggling with. WE NEED TO FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER, not condemn one another.

Look, I have always felt weird. I have experienced so many things that my friends haven’t. I kept it bottled up too many years. It took a nervous breakdown to expose the lies. I couldn’t have told you what the lies were until I started counseling, reading, and studying. I had to be aware of them before I could talk about them. Ask the Lord to help you expose them. Go to a counselor. Go to a person you can trust and ask for prayer. It is a process and it is hard work. But if you want a renewed mind, then that is what you have to do. Our minds matter!

I am passionate about this because I have experienced and seen what believing lies can do to myself and others. I have seen someone that I dearly love end his life because his mind was taken over by mental illness. Maybe someone needs to hear this. I care about your mind! I care about what you think! Please take the time to care for your mind too because it matters!”

If I care that much, then think about how much more God does! He is there to help! Please reach out for help! The best thing I did was get help for my battered mind. 

Until next time….

Psalm 121:1-2  “I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

* The picture above was from 50’s dress up day my senior year. 

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