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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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

Subliminal Messages

Back in the day subliminal messages were flashed while movies were being shown in theaters.  Movie viewers might suddenly have a desire for a Coke or some popcorn.  According to the internet, visual images were quickly flashed before an individual could process them, or flashed and then masked to  interrupt mental processing.  The concept became controversial in 1957 when people in marketing claimed it had potential to persuade the viewer.

More than just visual, subliminal messages are also used in text and audio formats.  The message was proven to have a small, temporary effect on emotions or behavior.  The practice has continued over the years even though the American networks and the National Association of Broadcasters have opposed it.  Even the United Nations in 1974 concluded that “the cultural implications of subliminal indoctrination is a major threat to human rights throughout the world.” A natural conclusion is that secret, hidden messages, no matter what the format, have the power to influence human behavior and choice and violates human rights.

As a Christian who seeks to walk closely with God, I have found that the enemy, satan and his hosts, seeks to plant subliminal messages in my mind in a very similar way to advertisers.  Sometimes these thoughts come so fast that I do not realize what has happened.  I may notice that I have started to feel anxious or fearful or angry.  One morning in particular, I woke up and was walking to the kitchen and suddenly felt very fearful and lost.  It felt like I had seen a flash of something.  I stopped and asked the Lord what had happened.  I remained still and saw a scene of myself standing in a foreign airport with my luggage, not knowing where to go, and feeling very lost and afraid.

When I saw that picture, I realized that the enemy had “sown in” that image to tempt me to feel afraid and respond with fearful behavior.  I thought about it and then decided to speak out the truth in response to it.  I declared that I was not afraid – didn’t have a reason to be.  I declared that I had traveled in foreign airports before and that I knew what to do, I knew how to ask someone for direction or help if I needed it.  The feeling left immediately.

That experience has stayed with me.  Was it the first time?  Definitely not, but this experience brought some clarity and revelation.  This is what we battle on a daily basis – and it is indeed a battle!  The Bible says that our common enemy, satan, is “the father of lies” (John 8:44).  The enemy’s lies are like subliminal messages that flash through your mind so quickly you can’t really see or recognize them.  You may “feel” the results or even see the results in your behavior.

The Bible says the believer needs to “take every thought captive and make it obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).  This means that we need to think about what we’re thinking about!  If Jesus wouldn’t agree with a thought we have, then we need to turn that thought around.  That same verse talks about stopping our imagination from running away with us.

Sometimes we are genuinely afraid or angry.  What then?  What if that is just how we feel?  We can tell God about how we feel.  In fact, we’re made to share how we feel with Him.  We don’t need to be concerned about whether He will be disappointed or not – He already knows how we feel.  It’s for our benefit to tell Him.  There’s something wonderful in being completely honest with God, for as we tell Him how we feel, we release those feelings to Him.  He is ready to exchange them for peace that comes from Him.  So whether the thought or feeling is from the enemy or from within, we can take those thoughts to God.  He is ready to help us.

And as we develop the habit of coming to God, we get to know Him better and are more able to “take captive” wrong thoughts because we will be able to tell the difference between what He would say and anything else.  It is so very good to know we can have the truth – the final word for our complicated lives.

Father God, thank you for being there to help me know what is true.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit who lives within me to help me discern and understand.  Please help me learn to recognize when a thought comes that I need to “grab” and examine.  I pray this in Jesus name.  Amen.