The Secret of All Triumphs (Victor Hugo)
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Have you ever felt that you were unloveable, insignificant, unimportant or didn’t really mattered to others? For the longest time that’s how I felt about myself. Intellectually and from scripture I knew on some level that I did matter, but I didn’t really believe it in my soul. My feelings of self-worth waxed and waned depending on circumstances – whether someone or something good or bad happened to me that day. For years my self-worth hinged on what others thought about me or whether or not I was included in their activity. If I wasn’t included then I felt rejected, unwanted or unloved. If I made a mistake I beat myself up because I believed I fell short of what I thought “how others would judge me.” Poor self-esteem and the need for people approval were two heavy burdens I constantly carried around. Lugging them day in and day out was cumbersome, consuming and tiring. All I was really doing was making everything about ME – though I didn’t realize that at the time. I blamed others for being inconsiderate and insensitive of me. However, my outward appearance belied my true feelings. Unhealthy thoughts centered on poor me and my needs/wants. It definitely was mental torture and a mental prison I kept myself in for years.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
Once I decided to change my way of thinking by studying how the brain works, delving into God’s word and putting that information into practice, I began to see things differently. In my previous blogs I talked about how science and God’s word intersect and how that led me to the road of transforming my mind. I can truly say that God’s word is true as long as we believe and put that faith into action. Faith without works is dead. Works without faith is futile. You may experience some short term successes without it, but not true transformation.
I would like to discuss the importance of perseverance and patience – two gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without them, true transformation of your mind will never happen. Perseverance is essential in developing your faith and achieving your goals. God designed us to grow in faith by persevering during hard times. That’s how we learn to overcome the obstacles life throws at us and to develop our faith muscles. Muscles grow under the pressure of weights and the perseverance of exercising them. Patience is needed to persevere because there will be days that you will get weary of monitoring your thoughts, doing those things that need to be done, even when you don’t feel like it and pushing forward on your transformation journey.
My problem during the earlier stages of my journey was trying to apply the principles of neuroplasticity and God’s word here and there. I would try for a couple of weeks, but when a difficult situation came up challenging me, old thought patterns popped up and I caved into the “old and familiar.” So guess what happened? I continued to wire those neurons into those “old and familiar” patterns, maintaining the same. Nothing changed for the better – UNTIL I stood my ground and yes, you guessed it – persevered in pursuing healthier and more positive thinking.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." James 1:2-4.
Like a diamond our character is developed under pressure. Most anything of value is produced under pressure – a great Olympic athlete, giving birth, a successful business or career, etc. All these take sacrifice, time and heart to manifest into reality. It’s during your trials and tribulations when you are out of your comfort zone being stretched and challenged that you make the most growth. In those moments you can either buckle, quit or march forward in determination with a strong resolve to work it out no matter the pain, difficulty or length of time it takes.
"Not only so, but we also glory in our suffering (trials), because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope." Romans 5:3-4
I believe we’re on this earth to learn and become the people God intended us to be from the beginning of time. I know this is easier for some and more difficult for others. It was difficult for me. My road has been rough, bumpy, long and difficult. But since I decided to change my way of thinking and believing AND finally sticking with it, I am seeing good changes in my life. Some of the circumstances that I pined over in the past have not changed, but my perception of them has. This transformation has led me to peace by learning to “let go and let God.” I used to give that saying lip service, but now I can say it’s real and it has truly made a difference in my life.
Have a blessed week and watch your thoughts. If they don’t line up with your new image of yourself, by all means change them until they do. This stuff really works. I know. Been there, done that. It’s all good. Oh, another way to not make everything about yourself and or marinate in negative/toxic thinking is to do something nice for someone else. Go out and find a cause to help others. Your perspective will change and you’ll have a better day. Peace. Out.