How do our thoughts create our reality? This question has often sat at the back of my mind as I listen to my trail of thought or observe the conversations of others. I find myself reminded of a principle I learned in my university years which stated:
Our perception is our reality
This may have been a principle used in psychological counseling to teach me and other students the value of diversity and authenticity. Although Carl Rogers probably wasn’t a Christian, his theory towards psychology really is phenomenal and laced with Christian principles. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a long lesson in psychology or counseling. What I do want to do is dive deeper into how our thoughts define the way we live and view the world.
What is my reality?
Have you ever wondered how our thoughts create our reality? When was the last time you had a close listen to your thought patterns?
I find that the more I listen to the thoughts whirring through my mind, the more discerning I become and the quicker I can go to Jesus for his perspective. Perhaps this is why the Bible often talks about renewing our mind and the helmet of salvation. The battlefield in which we engage in spiritual warfare is largely in our minds. The battle lies in the choice we make in which thoughts we are going to believe:
For example, I have several unhealthy and unhelpful thought patterns that frequently move in. They are akin to unwanted guests or family members that you know you really shouldn’t entertain but out of family “honor” you humor them. Toxic, toxic, toxic. Ugg. So these thoughts that I have are along these lines:
I’m failing as a mom and wife
You are not looking very good. You need to exercise more and eat less. Oh, and your body is just too damaged after three pregnancies to be attractive.
You don’t have any value to give to the world. The world has heard it all before and it’s not going to be interested in what you have to say. Besides, there are so many other people who love Jesus more and give way more value than you.
As you can see these thoughts are so not my identity in Christ. These aren’t the thoughts that God would have me or you think about. Imagine saying this to a friend or family member? Yikes. Yet we regularly talk this way to ourselves and what’s worse is we often believe such thoughts.
In turn, we start to experience insecurity, self-doubt, fear of rejection, loss of purpose and value. We lose sight of God’s perspective and heart towards us. Yet in those moments, these thoughts that we believe have become our reality. They become filters through which we see the world. When people treat us a certain way, our filters often confirm these thought patterns thus reinforcing them until our minds and hearts are held hostage by strongholds and other lies from the enemy.
Is my reality false or true? Does it matter?
Do our thoughts create our reality? Yes. Is this reality false or true? That depends on the reality or the person you speak too. If you were to tell me that you believe the sky is purple whereas I believe the sky is blue, I’m not going to give you a hard time on wrong or right. You see, the only place where reality becomes false or true is in the area of your God-given identity and God’s viewpoint. Life is too short to worry about rights and wrongs or who is right. The only opinion that actually matters is God’s.
How do our thoughts create our reality? At the end of the day, what you choose to think and believe determines your reality. We can argue until we are blue in the face, it won’t change that reality until you choose to believe differently. So, no, it doesn’t matter whether it’s false or true…it’s your world. You and God are the only ones who can shift this reality into alignment with his opinion of you and what the Bible says. The same holds true for how you see yourself, your relationships, your life, and your purpose.
Consider this verse:
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7a (NKJV)
How do our thoughts create our reality?
We all have negative thought patterns that we need to sift out of our lives. Understanding these thought patterns help us answer the question: how do our thoughts create our reality? Psychologists have categorized these thought patterns into the following:
- All or nothing thinking – I can’t afford to make a mistake, it has to be perfect.
- Negative self labeling – I’m such a failure
- Catastrophizing – expecting the absolute worst to happen to you. Similar to foreboding
- Pessimism – Life is always hard and cruel, we must just accept it. We aren’t going to get out of this situation, we must just get used to it.
- Dwelling on pain – thinking about past pains or current situations in the hopes that they will change
- Constant need for approval – The only way I can be happy is if people tell me they like me. I really need to know they are happy with me.
- Should have statements – I should have said… I really should have done…..
The first time I read these categories of thought patterns was a couple of years ago when I went to a psychologist for a few months to help me work through my rage and anger issues (a dark time in my life, thank God for protecting my family). No, it wasn’t as bad as it may sound. I just needed someone to talk to and I needed some tools to deal with life. Anyways, I realized that I needed to work on believing who God said I was and renewing my mind. I had to ask myself: how do our thoughts create our reality? and learn the ways to change my reality into God’s plan for my life.
The problem with toxic thoughts is that they lead to many physical and emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, insomnia and much more. We have been given power in Jesus to take captive each thought and bring it into his light for clarity, perspective, and truth. We don’t have to believe every thought that runs through our minds. Part of knowing our identity in Christ is to know that we have the mind of Christ. We are empowered, free, and joy-filled.
Realigning my thoughts with my identity in Christ
Now that we’ve answered the question: How do our thoughts create our reality? we can move on to aligning our thought life with our identity in Christ. Here are a few ways to filter out those toxic thoughts and start believing who God says you are (Yes, you are that wonderful):
1 Take each thought captive – casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…2 Corinthians10:5 (NKJV)
2 Think good thoughts and God’s thoughts – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
3 Ask God to show you what he thinks of you – my favorite question to ask God is: God what do you think of me? (Happiness is knowing his heart towards me and you)
4 Believe what God says – For some reason or another, we all struggle to believe the amazing things God sees in us. I believe it is because religion has taught us that we have to earn such acceptance and approval. This couldn’t be further from God’s heart. (Subscribe to my email list and you’ll get 21 Scriptures on how God sees you. This is his view of you.) He rejoices over you with singing and dancing. Yes, he knows you and I are sinners and humans and yet he still loves us first and unconditionally. Amazing. What good news!
5 Talk to a trusted friend or confidant about those areas that are keeping toxic thoughts in your life. Healing is key in renewing our minds and walking in our identity in Christ. Facing pain is hard but the freedom it brings is worth it in the end.
6 Feed your spirit and soul with healthy, positive food – Assess what you are reading, watching on TV, listening to. Look at your relationships and what is being spoken of in conversation. Do you need to make some changes here? What about putting in some healthy boundaries? In some cases, you may need to distance yourself from certain things or people. We need to guard our hearts:
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
With practice and diligence we can begin to move from how do our thoughts create our reality towards a thought life that is overflowing with God’s thoughts towards us. We can enjoy freedom, joy, and purpose without fear, insecurities and doubt for companions.
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