How To Overcome Negative Patterns By Creating New Thoughts
I love walking in the forest. Sometimes I decide to go rogue and off trail! When I get into the dense area the pathways are non existent. It’s tiring. I have to watch for poison ivy, tree stumps and bending branches that slap you if not careful.
There are lots of circumstances in life are like being in that forest, off trail. Difficult navigate. Confusing. Painful.
But it’s really what we think that makes or breaks the situation.
I really began to see this when I got married and had children. These close relationships reveal what I really think and my default reactions! They showed me that I had a real problem with my thinking.
My first response when my husband or one of my kids would disagree with me was to get angry, tell them why they were wrong and raise my voice to do it. Ok….I would yell, sometimes….ok maybe a lot.
Eventually they learned to just avoid talking to me about anything that might get this reaction.
Through reading good books like; Who Switched Off My Brain by Dr. Carolyn Leaf and speaking to counselors and mentors I started to understand why I had these reactions and where they originated.
Every action starts with a thought.
Through experiencing rejection in various ways growing up (as does everyone) I began to believe I had to defend my opinions, strongly. Controlling the conversations would help me get what I wanted, in that moment at least.
But inevitably it caused disconnection from the ones I loved. Not what I wanted.
The amazing thing is that we can change the things we do by changing the thoughts we think. We can re-create them. Romans 12 says Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
That basically means we can change our minds.
I started practicing changing my mind. It’s hard work and takes time but it’s possible.
To track where you are right now answer these couple questions: What kind of pathways have you created in your life? How do your thoughts impact your beliefs about yourself and others. Do you see negative patterns of behaviour that cause disconnection? How does God equip you through His word to change your pathways?
4 Steps to creating new pathways:
- Journal about what negative pathways you see in your life.
- Pray and write for each one about where they originated. Was it a situation when you were a Child? Was it a learned behavior over time? Take time with this one. Let it be a prayerful time. Allow God to reveal things. Only go with what He shows you.
- Forgive people who may have hurt you and ask for forgiveness from Jesus for any behaviour that was wrong and hurt others or yourself. Forgive yourself too!
- Decide how you want to respond differently for each area and write that down. Ask God to give you a scripture that speaks the truth into the area. Declare this scripture every day for a month out loud. Write it out and put it in a place you will see it every day.
- Practice with Gods grace and help to respond in the new way that lines up with truth. Maybe ask someone to help you be accountable for the month. Be very gracious to yourself. You will fail. That’s ok. Get up and keep going.
I personally have used this method for many years and have seen great outcomes! I continually struggle and need to take out my journal again. But that’s all a part of the process. Don’t worry my friend Father loves that you are trying!!
Have fun creating new thoughts!