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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Giving Thanks Changes Me

The act of giving thanks, no matter what the circumstances of my life, brings change. Giving thanks when life is hard requires courage and sacrifice. While it may or may not change the events that surround me, it changes me. Giving thanks invites God into our circumstance and can lift us up over the difficult as we come to focus on Him. And isn’t He the reason for the ability to do anything at all? The reason we are here? The reason we can feel, move, and be – in Him. When we choose thanks, our focus turns to Him, remembering how He has provided in the past, the miracles in our lives, and the love we feel and long to feel more of.

On this day, make your life one of giving thanks, of counting gifts, or rehearsing truth is ours – to live, to influence, and to share the love, peace, and joy that overflows from the practice of giving thanks. May it become a lifestyle. May you come to know the simple solution of giving thanks as the story of your life keeps turning page after page.

Thank you hands

To the reader of my weekly words, I am deeply grateful for you, those to whom I am connected with the world over. May we together, on this American Thanksgiving Day, stop to give thanks to God – for life, provision, love, and peace. May our joined thanks in unity bring more unity and peace to the world. Our words are powerful, and our words of unity are world-changing!

I am deeply thankful for all of you who I’ve met speaking and coaching this year, some by email, phone, and many in person. I am thankful to have met you, friend!

Thank you, friend of mine, wherever you are. Live a good story with your one life and may it be a life that spreads reasons for giving thanks!

Much love,grateful, gratitude, thanks

Robin

From the desk by the window on a sunny day where I live most grateful! “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, November 26, 2015

Has Your Voice Been Stolen?

tape over mouthThere were many years where I was  able to speak, but due to intermittent paralyzing fear, I refrained from speaking, from sharing how I felt, from objecting to what was offensive, or abusive.  Not speaking in this way feels like you have tape over your mouth, like you’ve been taken against your will, or like you are standing in a doorway, yet unable to enter the room.  The words ring around inside you, echoing off your heart and lungs until you want to scream, but you don’t dare.  It might upset somebody and they might lash out at you.

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. (Proverbs 18:21)

I saw a counselor for a while who listened well, and said something that helped quite a bit.  “So when did you realize your voice had been stolen?”  I didn’t until she asked the question.  Sometimes it’s the questions we need instead of the answers to get us thinking.

God has been restoring my voice – my ability to communicate without fear – over the past several years.  It’s working.  I’m seeing progress as I push forward in sharing, offering my opinion, or standing firm in personal boundaries when needed.  I don’t always get it right, but I’m choosing to speak.  I am better at knowing when not to speak, too, and realizing more of my own personal value in the choosing.

Whether the binding up of words is physical or emotional, the result seems to be the same.  It feels like you are stuck inside a life you didn’t ask for, behind bars that hold you back, gagged with hands tied…while you can only listen to others or obey what they want.  Trapped.

I can sometimes find myself there again where I feel ambushed by the presence and words of another who seems purposed to enter and take over.  My first step is to forgive, and then at my next encounter to guard my boundaries, respond or refrain from responding…according to the need of the moment.

If another has stepped on you with their words until you felt like you were one with the sidewalk, it can be quite difficult to stand without being pushed around.  You may want to say, “No!  Stop!” or “That’s not OK with me!” and yet the words won’t come out. You find yourself doing what you always did – trying to keep peace.

And here’s the thing: If we bring this silent voice to God to heal, He adds to us more of our value, significance, and authenticity. We learn to get the definition of who we are from Him. In that place of peace and freedom, little by little, we will find ourselves standing and speaking!  {Progress is progress, no matter how small.}

And when there is no one to encourage your voice, your words, speak them out loud anyway.  Write them down.  God who never slumbers or sleeps says your words are significant, creative, and needed.

“The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are upon my tongue. (2 Samuel 23:2)

When words are flowing, handle them carefully, tasting them before serving them up.  And when there are no words, listen to God’s voice speaking into your spirit, giving you the discernment you need in the moment.  For whether you speak or not, you are never alone.  And He will restore your voice.  Your words are needed now.

Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.” (Daniel 10:19)

Much love, peace, and strength ~

Robin

From the desk by the window where the words are spilling through my fingers and onto the screen just for you. May you be strengthened by them! Godspeed, friend!

(c) Robin L. Lewis, October 2015

(Edited and reposted from October 29, 2013)

For information on booking Robin to speak to your group or on Spiritual Life Coaching, you can call or email her here: robinlewiswords@gmail.com – (843) 319-5390.