Changing Thinking

By:  Staci Stallings

As most of you know, I grew up surrounded by a lot of speakers talking about Positive Thinking.  Think and Grow Rich.  As A Man Thinketh.  See You At the Top.  Yep.  I read them all.

I still believe some of what they taught but not exactly the way they taught it.  See, I’m not just a student of books.  I’m a student of life, and one of the things I have come to understand about life is that your thinking really DOES determine many things about your experience here.  It determines what things you will try and what things you won’t.  It determines what you believe is possible and what you don’t.  It determines how much effort you will put into something or not.

But where most of these positive thinking approaches go off the rails is that they put the thinking effort on YOU and they put the direction of the thinking effort toward you.

In other words, they say things like:  You are the one who determines your destiny.  You need to set goals and work to achieve them.  You are the only one who can stop you.  Prime your pump.  Think of what you want and go for it.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

Here’s where the positive thinking crowd goes WAAAY off track.

How do I know?  Because I lived that way for a lot of years.  I will tell you this about positive thinking that focuses on you–it will make you completely and utterly miserable.  Even when you find success as defined by the world, you will not rejoice.  You will not feel satisfied.  You will not feel any different than you did when you were flat broke, dreaming of what it would be like to have “everything.”

In one of my books a character who reaches the top, alone, says, “It’s amazing how much the top feels like the bottom if you get there with no one to share it with.”  Very true.

The major flaw in positive thinking is that thinking about yourself is NOT the answer.  Even thinking good things about yourself is not the answer.

The answer is to think of the ONE positive that makes everything else make sense–God.  To learn to trust Him.  To learn to count on Him.  To learn that even in the midst of horrible, He will be there to see you through.

A week ago, I heard this saying for the first time:  “To change behavior, you have to change the thinking.”  Of course, the positive thinking crowd would be quick to tell you what to think about that would change behavior:  set goals!  Work hard!  Give it 100%!

Sounds great.  It won’t work.

Oh, it may work for awhile, and for awhile it may even look really good… on the outside.  Problem is, scratch the surface and all you’ve really done is traded one misery causing way of life for another.

Instead, I want you to think of it this way for today:  “To change behavior, you have to change the thinking.  So instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I will focus on what God CAN do if I let him.  Instead of focusing on how much I have to do and how will I ever accomplish it, I will focus on taking the steps in this moment that God is asking me to take.  Instead of looking at the world and wondering how I will ever survive, I will focus on God who is my Strength, my Delight, and my Best Friend.”

I guarantee you, when you change your thinking like THAT, your life will change.  I know it did for me.

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