Posts Tagged ‘Rational Thinking’

It is amazing how one simple thought can change everything I know.  The people I work with on a daily basis often tell me, “I wish I would have seen myself the way I see myself now, back then, because things would be so different.”  People I work with and talk to often find themselves stuck in hardships and negative attitudes about themselves, their lives, and their situations because they have become so accustomed to viewing their lives through the lens of a negative attribute, or a limited scope, or a particular method of existence.  It is only when they allow themselves to see themselves differently, or view their situations differently, or view their past circumstances differently, that they can then break free from the bonds that have held them back for so long, and begin to move forward with a new perspective on life.  In therapy, we call it “Reification,” in which a person forgets that he or she has the power to redefine his life by simply viewing it from another perspective.

For example, if I call myself “stupid,” then every thought and action I take will be predicated on the notion that I am indeed “stupid.”  Every time I do something and it doesn’t go well, even if it’s accidental, I will refer myself to being the “stupid one that never gets anything right,” and will continue to define myself that way until something, or someone, or Someone wakes me up and tells or shows me that I am “not stupid.”  Even then, it is up to me to take on that new mantra of “not stupid” and reorient myself around that fact.  Because I have believed for so long that I was “stupid,” the fact that someone tells me that I am “not stupid” does not necessarily change how I feel about myself.  I have to believe in it myself before the real change takes effect, and then practice being “not stupid” and understanding the consequences thereof.

What is God trying to say?  For many of us, we define our lives based on what happened to us, or what someone said to us, or what someone did to us, and we orient ourselves based upon those definitions not because of those events, but how we thought about and responded to those events.  We allowed people to tell us that we’re not smart enough, we’re not daring enough, we’re not bold enough, we’re not rich enough, or we’re not connected enough, to do the things God has given us the vision to do.  We’ve allowed people to steal our innocence, take control of our courage, snatch our will to live away, and laugh in our faces while we cower in fear.  We allowed people to define our very existence, and in doing so, allowing the enemy to snuff us out, bring us down, and keep us from reaching the Destinies that God has ordained for our lives.  And we allowed it because we, whether we realize it or not, have the power (by God) to think ourselves to be different than those around us would imagine us to be.

Whether we want to admit it our not, we are victims only because we think ourselves to be victims.  We are foolish only because we think ourselves to be foolish.  We are depressed only because we think ourselves to be depressed.  We are ugly only because we think ourselves to be ugly.  We are crippled only because we think ourselves to be crippled.  We are immature, pathetic, unintelligent, moronic, schizophrenic, angry, idiotic, incapable, run-down, “never gonna amount to anything,” mean, selfish, too much, and the list goes on, because we allowed others to label us as such, and we accepted the labels given to us, and then thought ourselves to be what others have made us to be, no matter the circumstance.

I serve a God who is able to give me a different thought about who I am in Him, and in doing so, give me a Paradigm Shift, a thought, idea, or concept that completely changes the landscape or perspective of everything around me.  God has the ability to allow me to see my life differently than I’ve ever seen it before.  He has the power to make me a believer when I want to doubt, to make me rich when the world says I’m poor, to make me happy even though life says I should be depressed, to lift me up when life tries to press me down, to give me peace in the midst of struggle and war, to make me a visionary when others say my dreams don’t make any sense.  God has the power to give me power over my past circumstances, no matter what it may have been.  Whether it is the fact that my father tried to kill me, my brother, and my mother when I was 3, or whether my friend was raped for 5 years from the age of 7 by her stepfather, or that my brother in Christ lost his job at 58, regardless of what it is, I have the power to overcome anything that has happened to me because of how I think of myself in relation to the situation.

Yes, things happen to us that are beyond our control, and for a while, it hurts.  But we have to recognize that despite the situation or the circumstance, our God is a God who has the ability to give us a mind of victory when we want to be defeated.  We have the power to think ourselves differently than our circumstances would dictate.  We have to be willing to shift the paradigm by which we define ourselves, and then have the courage to overcome the obstacles that come with the shift.  It is not easy being different than what others would think we should be.  It’s not easy being the outcast, being the radical one.  Nevertheless, God has created all of us for a purpose, for a destiny, and until we think ourselves to be different than what the world would believe, we are nothing more than pawns in the world’s game, muses to people who will be there for us today, and against us tomorrow.  We must realize that God has great plans for us, and in order to make that first step, we must first embrace the Paradigm Shift that states that we are who God says we are, no matter what we or others may think.

You are one thought away from the first day of the best days of your life.  Think about it.

😀

Advertisements

A while back,  I moderated a short-lived group on Facebook called “CrossQuest,” where I invited others to ask tough questions about God, faith, and everything in between.  One question I posed to the group was:

CrossQuestion: can you make love and/or have sex with a Gospel song playing in the background?

The responses I got from the question can be found here : http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/143497142342502/permalink/379619952063552/

And they ranged from people saying yes to people saying “heck to the naw.”  For it was impossible for some, maybe most to think about bumping and grinding to “Something About the Name Jesus.”  Here is the message God gave to me back then, and it still has some relevance today.

How often have we caught ourselves trying to rationalize or justify the things we do wrong? How often have we found ourselves doing things that we subconsciously know we shouldn’t be doing, yet found a way to make what we are doing make rational sense to ourselves? It would appear that as people, we know that there are things that God would be pleased with and things that He wouldn’t, so by socialization and rationalization, we decide that God can only be a part of our lives in particular chunks, whereas in other areas, He cannot or should not exist.

Take the issue of sex and Gospel music, for instance. We all have been taught that sex is a dirty thing, that having it is such a horrible, horrible thing to do outside of marriage, something that’s done behind closed doors, something that has to be kept in the dark, something that no one should know that we do (whether we’re married or not). We’ve gotten so good at keeping it a secret, in fact, that we feel that we should keep it a secret from God Himself, even though He knows everything we do anyway. So the thought of playing a smooth Gospel track in the background, grinding to a “Jesus Joint,” seems appalling, sacrilegious, demented, disgusting, and just plain wrong, EVEN THOUGH God sanctioned sex as something that married couples should have and enjoy. So, if sex is such a dirty thing outside of marriage, something that we shouldn’t do, why do we ignore the voice of God when we decide to do the wrong things?

We are good at ignoring God when we want to, choosing to serve God only when it appeases us, when it is a benefit to us, when it makes us feel great and that our purpose is being served. But we also fully know how to shut that voice off, to ignore the voice of God when He is telling us to back out. Some people call it, “He’s not through with me yet.” Others call it, “The devil made me do it.” Some say, “Well, preachers do it, so why shouldn’t I?” Others say, “I simply do not care.” Atheists have proclaimed that, “The Bible has too many holes in it.” Saints have said, “Well, I know all I need to know.” Scientists believe, “I’ll believe it when I can see it.” And mere mortals have said, “I just want what I want, and I’m gonna do what I gotta do to get what I want.” Regardless of where some of us fit, all those excuses are our ways of trying to place what God has instilled in us (the Holy Spirit) and tried our very best to rationalize it, break it down to mere mortal understanding and justification so that we can continue doing what we want to do, even if it hurts us in the long run.

Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and that’s the bottom line. There are no ways around it, no loopholes to jump through. And the beauty of it is that God has given us a conscience that tells us what is right and wrong. But when we allow our mortal minds to try to circumvent what God has placed in us, we place ourselves in situations when we ignore God and, without even really knowing it, submit ourselves to Satan and his powers by speaking justification and rationalization, two of Satan’s most powerful messages here on Earth. When we know that we’re LIVING in sin, the only way we can get sleep at night is by justifying and rationalizing why we do what we do, and even though we know it’s wrong, if we can make sense of why we do it (and find other people who can make sense of it, too), then we don’t mind being bound by Satan and being his ambassadors, letting the world know, “It’s okay to have premarital sex, it’s okay to smoke a little dope, it’s okay to drink until we pass out, it’s okay that we lie, it’s okay that we gossip, it’s okay that we cheat, it’s okay that we steal, it’s okay that we sleep with people outside our marriage, it’s okay that we club-hop, it’s okay if we (fill in the blank). God’s not through with us yet.” And just like that, we go on doing what we do, because we simply turned God off.

The bigger issue we as a people face is this: how long will we live our lives based on the rationale of man before we realize that the rationale of man is not sufficient enough for us to live the fulfilled lives that God has promised we can live by serving Him? For too long, we have allowed Satan to keep us bound by speaking death over ourselves and enjoying the so-called benefits of living double standards. For too long, we have allowed ourselves to remain in states of defeat because someone told us that it’s okay if we succumb to our human nature. For too long, we have stayed in the background, watching the wrong thing take place in our own backyards and said nothing, not standing for what we believe in for fear of what may happen if we actually do speak up. For too long, we have lain our religions down so that we can do what we have to do, rather than keeping our Crosses in the ground and saying that God will fight our battles for us and rejoicing in that. For too long, we have allowed the temptations and enticements of this world to bring us to our knees, and rather than praying when we get there, we crash to the ground, and as we lay prostrate, rather than getting in the presence of God to pick us back up, we stay right where we are, settling for the rationalization of man than the divination of God because we are comfortable, right where we are.

Now is the time to rise up out of the mediocrity. Now is the time to stop settling for what man has to offer us and reaching for what God has already given us freely. Let’s stop pretending that we don’t hear the voice of God and stand on His Word. Let us hold one another up in love and truth and tell the devil, “No, not anymore.” Let us stop trying to use our mortal minds to understand the divinity and begin allowing the Spirit to guide us into the things we should do and should not do. And let us always remember, regardless of what we actually think in our minds sometimes, GOD IS ALWAYS WATCHING US.

As I was washing dishes the other day, I had this random thought pop in my head.  Do I really have free will?  If God is the orchestrator of all things, and He knows the very thoughts in my head, and knows what I’m going to do before I even do it, do I really have a choice in what I say or do throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout my entire life?  I often think that I am the product of my choices, that I am here because of the choices I made, which then determined my outcome.  But if I am a Child of God, who has preordained my steps since before I was born, when I was in my mother’s womb, then do I really have a choice in what I do and say?  Have I ever had a choice?

I sat down with God for a few days, and God revealed to me that though He has ordained my life to be the way that it is, it is only this way because I made a choice, and it’s a choice I have to make daily, which makes me the product of my choices.  That choice is whether to stay in the Will of God, or to stray against His Will.  Every decision I make, albeit big or small, is rooted in some way in the grand Will of God, and my decisions, the daily choices that I make, are contingent upon whether God wants me to do what I am doing or not.  Even in those times when I have to make a huge decision that I know will impact my life for the next five years, and I actually have no idea where that decision will lead me in two days, I have to decide whether I am going to submit to the Will of God or submit to my own devices, safety nets, and limited scope of view.  By deciding daily to operate under the Will of God, I am exercising my “free will” and submitting my will to a God whose Will is far more precise, rewarding, and fulfilling.  So do I have free will?  Yes.  Is it really free, that remains to be seen.  Then again, faith being the evidence of things NOT SEEN, I guess only God will know, eh?