What messages are in your mind? You and I aren’t often aware of the messages we entertain, but these stories in our head play a crucial role in our ability to fulfill God’s call on our lives. They will either sabotage or strengthen us. In order to move forward successfully, it is important to intentionally take control of the messages that play over and over again, and then re-write them.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT).
In this verse, “heart” does not refer to the physical organ that drives the blood throughout the body. Rather it is used metaphorically to describe the center of our being that drives our decisions. At times, the Hebrew word is translated as “mind,” revealing that heart and mind are closely associated. Scripture teaches that our thoughts affect who we become. Romans 12:2 instructs: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
It is necessary to change the messages in our mind when they interfere with God’s plans for us.
Early this year my leadership roles expanded. I began to feel a lot of anxiety. Even though I was placed in a position that matched my skills and strengths, nagging thoughts persisted. “I’m not capable. I don’t have what it takes.” The mental message took on a life of its own. Pretty soon I could visualize my complete failure. I could do nothing right. Everyone was either disappointed or angry at me. I was asked to step down and someone else took my place. I was rejected and felt utterly humiliated.
It took a few weeks before I realized what was happening. Once I identified the harmful message, I took those negative thoughts captive and began to declare the truth. “Wait a minute…God opened the door to this opportunity and others have confidence in my abilities. As I rely on the Lord, He will give me the wisdom and strength I need for a job well done.” During my devotional time I read a verse that resonated with me. I personalized it, memorized it, wrote it down, and declared it whenever anxious thoughts arose.
God has equipped me with all I need for doing his will. He produces in me, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that pleases him. (Hebrews 13:21)
Michael Hyatt (2013) provides five steps for changing the negative messages in our mind. I have adapted it to include a Biblical perspective, although the steps on their own are quite effective. Because God’s Word is the truth by which we live, it is powerful to re-write the messages according to God’s truth.
- Recognize the message in your mind. When are you most aware of this message?
- Jot down the message. This step is important, so you can actually see the message you have been believing.
- Evaluate whether the message is empowering. Does it agree with what God’s Word says?
- Write down a different message. Base your message on God’s Word, what He says about Himself and/or about you.
- Start telling yourself the new message. Keep it handy, so you can access it as often as you need.
Don’t allow negative messages to hinder what God has called you to do. You can accomplish what He has planned. Be intentional about dwelling on God’s messages about you.