It Starts with a Thought
This is where it all begins.
“Thoughts create your reality”. It was one of the things my dad would tell me in my 20’s but it really didn’t sink in until my 30’s. For the past 10 years, I have devoted my mind to understand this and to live it out. I could see some fruits in my life as I started paying attention but I still didn’t understand how to fully use my thoughts to create the life I wanted…regardless of my past.
So, what is a thought? A thought is a sentence we tell ourselves about a circumstance/event/person. Thoughts also physically create grooves in our brains. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, thoughts actually change the structure of our brains. I don’t fully understand the science behind it but she calls it neuroplasticity. That basically means that the mind can change the physical brain moment-by-moment.
Research shows that DNA actually changes shape in response to our thoughts. Dr. Leaf goes into detail about thoughts being “genetic expressions” and how that means “you make proteins in your brain from thoughts” (How to Switch on Your Brain, p. 32). Science used to back the idea that a brain was fixed and we can’t change it. It’s only been the past few decades that science has acknowledged that the brain is not fixed and that the mind can actually change the brain as I mentioned above.
I can only tell you my experience with this concept. To me, this means that I can choose to think of any thought I want about my life. This lines up with God giving us free will and helps me to see what Deuteronomy 30:19 means today. We have a choice. It doesn’t matter what your past looked like. If you’re human, there will be events and circumstances that are 100% out of your control. Our past is one of those. We cannot change the past but we can change our story about our past. I am proof that it is possible. If I can do it, so can you. It all starts with a thought.
Did you know that you have anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts go through your mind each and every single day? You think all day and all night long. There is no way to capture all of them but for the most part, we can learn to be aware. With each thought, we choose another thought and another and so forth. We are changing our brains by our thoughts and choices whether you are paying attention or not. So why not pay attention and live a life you truly want to live?
The first step to changing your thoughts is to decide if you believe it is possible. I have mentioned above the research behind this proven idea but you are the one that has to really believe it. Heck, even just being curious about this truth is a step in the right direction. Your brain is much like a google search bar. When you type something into the Google search bar, it doesn’t know if it is a good search or a bad search. It is just created to find the answer to what you typed in. If you tell your brain something, it will also find all the proof of why that is true.
If your interest is piqued, keep reading. If not, look…I get it. This is a huge responsibility to know that we have the power and authority to live an amazing life. But I want to challenge you with this…if you can’t have a better life by changing your thoughts, that means the whole world needs to change for you to be happy. That is a much harder task.
So now you have decided or maybe just a little curious. Great! Let’s talk about what you’re signing up for.
The second step to changing our thoughts is to actually become aware that our thoughts are sentences we tell ourselves about something. It’s not going to come naturally to change your thoughts and that is ok. This step is just about recognizing the fact that you are thinking about things and we can choose to change them at any time. I am by no means thinking the opposite thought and “faking it till you make it”. I don’t believe that is helpful. Pay attention to what you are thinking about your life, people, events, circumstances you’re in. Do you like these thoughts? Are they serving you? Are they in alignment with what God says about you and who you are created to be?
The third step to changing your thoughts is to take responsibility. By doing this, you are being a good steward over your mind. We get a choice. Free Will. We can control our reactions to anything. It does take practice but what freedom, right? You are free to decide how you want to focus your attention and ultimately the function of your brain. The idea of this is simple but it isn’t always easy. We have never really been taught to think for ourselves. For the most part, we adopt our parents’ thinking, school education, and our social communities. So, if you are like…Tamera, yeah…all sounds good but how the heck do I do this. Don’t worry, I got you! I have created a list of questions to get the juices flowing. These questions will help you to really see the thoughts you are thinking and then you can decide which ones are serving you and which ones are not.
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