Why We Should Run from Popular Thinking

 

I recently submitted a softer version of this piece for publication in a local newspaper. I like to get readers thinking about their lives. This one is about that very thing: thinking.

knowledge, thoughts, journey, truthPopular thinking is defined as thoughts and/or beliefs regarded by the general population to be true and acceptable. Popular thinking is the lazy way to carry an opinion, but it gets worse. When we submit ourselves to an ideology, to a belief, to a culturally accepted standard, we are spiritually submitting ourselves, almost like we’re bowing down to it. We will become like what we bow down to – in thought, words, and behavior.

Things in your life are either expanding or shrinking depending on the focus you give them. Genuine growth, creativity, and achievement depend on new ideas, but what happens when we can’t escape the “good enough” ideas or won’t let go of the old ones? What happens when we believe we can’t change our lives or make them better? We grow stagnant, traditional, and while withering, we live our lives as a mere shell of the person God created us to be. The traditions of people can be very things – unless they are contrary to what God wants.

Personal growth is not automatic, but must be pursued. The way we think and believe will determine the outcome of our lives. Where is a reliance on popular thinking or tradition holding you back from what God wants for you?

Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” John Maxwell says, “If you value popularity over good thinking, then you will severely limit your potential.” In speaking to an audience recently, I talked about the power of one’s potential to achieve more, exceedingly more than most of thoughts, popular thinkingus can imagine. Those of us, who pursue growth, end up pursuing broader, deeper thinking.

Whether you are part of a business, church, or family, traditional thinking can lock up your potential and cause problems that may go unidentified. It’s only when we stop and do the work of thinking do we solve problems with new creativity. When we do the work of personal spiritual growth, we learn to solve problems with the help of the Holy Spirit, not “What is everyone else doing?” or “What have we always done?”

Paul wrote his letter to the Romans encouraging them to not take on the thinking of the world, but to be transformed by having their minds renewed by the truth (Romans 12:2). When he said “Do not be conformed to the world” the original Greek word is schematizo from which we get our English word schematic, meaning design or blueprint. The root word actually means to twist together. If we are not supposed to model our lives after the blueprint of popular thinking (which models us after the image of society), then that requires we engage in better thinking that leads to greater discernment. Without strong discernment or astuteness, our thoughts and lives can get so twisted up with what is not true that we begin to believe it. Someone said, “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by the majority.”

mind set thinking thoughts resultsToday our world is plagued with many rumors, contrary beliefs, and mixed philosophies. Do you find yourself wondering what is true? So do I. We need to pursue personal growth, deepen our relationship with God, and ask Him for greater wisdom and discernment. In Ephesians 4:23-25, Paul is exhorting us to untangle ourselves from what corrupts our lives and be renewed in the spirit of our minds; to push aside the false and speak only what we know to be true. This comes from growth! If there’s no renewing of our minds in Biblical truth, then we grab whatever is believed in our culture and it becomes ours. The same old thinking always brings the same old results.

Popular thinking sometimes means not thinking at all, and at best only brings average results. Our thoughts have the power to create what we experience, and whatever we focus on grows larger. If you’re tired of your own “stinkin thinkin” holding you back, here are some steps to consider:

  1. Stop and think before you follow popular thinking
  2. Include strong believers (who know how to hear God’s Spirit) who are innovative thinkers in your circle
  3. Continually question your own thinking; what worked yesterday might not be best for today – Does what I believe line up with God’s truth?
  4. There may be something new to discover so ask questions and seek options
  5. Even if uncomfortable, make decisions based on what is right according to the Word of God rather than on what is commonly accepted

Author, Mark Twain is noted for saying, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” God designed our minds with the ability to be renewed which means we can change the way we think. If you want to change your life, you must change the way you think!

Be more than a follower; become a strong leader who exercises good thinking, births innovative solutions, and shares new ideas. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Know your values and let them be your guide. Remember, everything begins as a thought and our thoughts determine our destiny. It takes nothing to join the crowd, so before you follow popular or traditional thinking, think!

For help or suggestions, send me an email! I’d love to hear about your thinking!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where possibility and creativity are in the air!

Robin L. Lewis is a certified life coach, speaker, and writer who challenges others to grow and achieve. For more information, email Robin at robinlewiswords@gmail.com and get free updates at www.sozolifeleaders.com/blog.

2016-08-20 19.26.36Where I do some of my best thinking! Fishing and beach combing with my husband, Jeff.

 

 

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The Simple Solution of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving owls“The truth of thanksgiving can change your life.” I spoke to the Pee Dee Business & Professional Women’s Networking Group last week and shared with that amazing group of women how giving thanks is a very effective way to bring about needed change, for it changes you and your point of view.

It’s pretty cool that we have a whole entire day devoted to giving thanks in our country, but what about the other 364 days of the year? Thanksgiving Day usually consists of lots of stressful preparation, lots of kin folk, and lots of calories; and we just may squeeze in a lovely prayer before we dip into Aunt Mae’s squash casserole. Some of us will stop to think about the year and offer thanks from the heart, and while this is nice, it’s not necessarily life changing.

Is it possible to learn to practice giving thanks as a lifestyle 365 days a year? I believe so! Consider this your “dare” to look for blessings and be thankful for in every day. When you want to change things, you have to do something differently for you can’t expect a different outcome if you keep doing the same things the same way; it just won’t happen. Surround yourself with the positive, and you will become more positive. Surround yourself with the negative, and, well, you know. You have the power to change your life through the simple act of giving thanks. This is the creative power that God designed into your being that uses your beliefs, thoughts, and words. So how do you begin? You practice. Here are two very effective yet simple ways that I use every day:

(1) Count the gifts: See how many blessings you can notice in a day and write them down, thanking God for them. I keep a “Gifts Journal” and so can you. Here are some from my list:

The smell of coffee in the morning.

Hunger satisfied with good soup.

Prayers together knowing God listens.

The color of boiled shrimp.

Giving a bag lunch to the man on the corner.

Walking under a full moon.

Visit to the cemetery, remembering those before me.

A singing grandchild who gives my heart joy.

How an apple fits right in my hand!

There’s no limit to what you can notice and write down, and even the hard things are eased when you say, “Thank you, Lord, for taking care of me in this”. Giving thanks doesn’t always change the circumstances, but giving thanks changes me! And that’s what I’m after! It causes me to be able to see the gifts in a day, have a more positive outlook, and increases my faith in God. It can do this for you, too.

(2) Truth Alerts: Set reminders in your phone that sound at specific times with what you feel will encourage you. Repeat daily so that you are filling your mind and life with good things that grow faith, love, peace, and gratitude. Read aloud the statement of truth, verse of scripture, or reminder of what you need to believe. You don’t have to wait for years to pass! I dare you to give this a week and see what happens! Need some examples?

8 am: God’s mercies are new again today and He loves me deeply. I can listen and follow His leading. Today I will be effective in all I do.

12 pm: Pause for peace. What can I thank God for right now? There’s a gift in every moment.

4 pm: I know and believe the love God has for me. My life matters. (1 John 4:18)

8 pm: I will fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, lovely, and praise worthy, and I will receive God’s peace to end my day. I will walk in authority over fear. (Phil 4:8-9)

Romans 12:2 says, “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.” It really is that simple. We don’t have to devise some complicated drawn out plan, but
give thanks daily. Psalm 109:30 says, “I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone.” When our minds are renewed with truth, our life is changed.worry, thanks

The simple solution of giving of thanks combined with reminders of truth increases your faith, blesses you with peace and joy, and really does change your life. Will you join me in counting gifts and focusing on truth this Thanksgiving? And don’t forget to thank God for Aunt Mae’s squash casserole, too!

There’s so much grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where gifts are spilling over!

You are invited to receive free, weekly encouragement from me. Subscribe on the website, or text the word SOZOLIFE to 22828.

The holidays are difficult for many. If you need prayer or encouragement, please send an email. I promise to reply! Here’s to a Happier Thanks-giving!

DSC_4975(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, November 20, 2015

The 9 Things that Contribute to the 1 Thing that Drives Your Life {and what you can do about it}

Many things over the course of our life have contributed to what we believe to be true. Today we’re looking at a basic list of 9 things that contribute to the 1 thing that determines your thoughts and attitudes, choices and decisions, words and behavior, and life direction.

  1. Parents
  2. Extended Family
  3. Friends, close relationships
  4. Education
  5. Church or Faith
  6. Media (news, magazines, TV, social media)
  7. Culture
  8. Workplace
  9. Life Experiences (either reinforce or change what we’ve been taught)

Belief System chart

These 9 basic things largely determine our Belief System. The problem is that some things we believe to be true are not true, and some things we believe to be false are not really false. For example, if I wish I could learn to play guitar, but I believe that I cannot because it’s too difficult, then I will never learn to play the guitar.

Our mind is like a 3 drawer filing cabinet with the top drawer labelled TRUTH and holding those things we believe to be true, the middle drawer labelled LIES holding those things we believe to be false, and the bottom drawer labelled PENDING with those things we’re still undecided about.

Belief System Filing Cabinet

Lots of people have learned to play the guitar so it must not be that difficult. If I realize that there may be something wrong with what I believe, then I can examine it, and change it. Our minds were created to be renewable! And here’s the thing: the wrong beliefs? Yeah, they hold us back from living the life we were created and intended to live.

What are some emotions or beliefs that are holding you back in life? How are you “giving weight” to these things in your heart, thoughts, attitude, etc.? What are those beliefs giving birth to? Or, what reality are you experiencing that you want to change?

The word desire means “to give birth to” – Many times what we desire is there to help us toward living a fulfilling life and toward our purpose.  What God has created, designed, and spiritually purposed in you will always seek  a fuller physical manifestation out of you.  God’s purpose in anything wants to always be ever-expanding.  When we give room for those dreams and purposes to grow, they will be blessed to develop more fully. If we learn to believe.

OneWord2013_believe150

Two years ago, my word for the year was Believe. I was discovering more of the purpose of my life and I came to a point that I knew I would have to press into believing if I were ever to accomplish certain things that God put in my heart to do.

God doesn’t play games with us. If He purposes us to accomplish something specific, then He equips us with all we need to do it. He empowers the dream that He plants in our hearts.

“Do not be conformed to the nature of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

Our belief systems are so powerful that If we believe we can, we’re right, and if we believe we can’t, we’re right.

If we want to overcome our past and become something more, we can. If there’s a dream in our heart that we would love to fulfill, it can happen. “All things are possible for one who believes!”  Mark 9:23

Be brave, lean on grace, and examine your beliefs. Ask God to show you which ones are holding you back. Then…

Believe!

Loads of grace,

Robin

From the desk by the window where life can be a challenge, but believing is everything!

(c) Robin Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, July 24, 2015DSC_5007

For more info or to book me for your next event, workshop, conference, or life coaching, just shoot me an email at robinlewiswords@gmail.com. Thanks so much for stopping by my place today. You’re always welcome! Blessings to you!

How to Keep Your Life from Looking Like Bad Wallpaper

tacky wallpaper repeating thoughts  

I was pondering this morning about things I’d said in a speech earlier this week, about the identity and value of women, and the meaning of our lives.  I encouraged them in doing some self-examination in their belief systems.  {We all need to regularly take a voluntary dose of “Father God, please show me where I am believing something that is not true.”}

I thought of how our patterns of thought don’t just change, that we have to allow God’s revealing searchlight to expose problems, and then we have to do the work, take the action step, of replacing faulty beliefs with what He says is true, with what agrees with His Word.  It’s like learning anything else.  When I learned multiplication tables as a child, I rehearsed them over and over.  What I learned was true: 7 x 7 is still 49.  Some other things I learned growing up weren’t so true: “Always be obedient and good so that God and others will love you,” and “Others always need you to help them feel better.”  I had to unlearn those things and some others and relearn what was true for my life.

This led me to thinking about wallpaper.  My family built a home in the late 1980’s and certain wallpaper patterns were popular.  I learned that the pattern description would tell you how often it repeated on the wall – every 6 inches or 12 inches or whatever.

woman thinkingOur thoughts are like that.  We will always live out what we truly believe and the thoughts we hold in mind become real to us, part of our experiences.  These are the things that are guiding our lives, for our belief system tells us how to think, and our thoughts determine our actions and behavior, and that in turn, gives us the life results we experience — and all “for better or for worse.”  The problem with the things that are not true, is that left unchecked, they just keep repeating…like that wallpaper in the kitchen.

Romans 12:2 says, “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.”

If you are unhappy with the results you have in different areas of your life, maybe you need to pull down that repeating wallpaper of wrong thoughts, and choose a new and bright paint color and cut a hole for a window.  Let in some sunshine, color, and fresh air and choose to think higher.  Higher about yourself, about God, about others – about your life!  We can either allow the world’s influencers to define us, or we can choose to be defined by God.  And I have found that when true thoughts are on repeat, I love my life and others so much more, and I’m more able to let God and others love me back.  I am more able to live a life of believing that with God all things are possible.

What thoughts have been on repeat in your head?

Truth is very freeing when it becomes part of us, and when it does, we become what God says we already are – who He designed us to be, living out a world-changing life.

“With God all things are possible!”  (Luke 1:37)

Grace & Peace,

Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC