Although you may have been programmed to believe a lie about yourself and who you are, the truth is, you have the power to re-program your mind to believe the truth. Truly knowing and seeking to understand God’s word with all your mind and heart is the most important aspect to this. While many start with the intent to have healthier relationships with their children, parents can take on parenthood unaware and ill-equipped to deal with the pain and trauma that resurfaces from their youth. Therefore, they often end up falling short. Dormant pain tends to manifest when we least expect it.
A lie is a thought, belief, and/or notion that doesn’t line up with God’s loving, compassionate view of you and the goodness God has designed or purposed for you. You can often tell if a negative thought or lie is floating around in your consciousness by the feelings or emotions that often accompany it. You may experience a combination of fear, condemnation, judgment, guilt, hopelessness or unworthiness. These thoughts tempt us to identify with our pain, weaknesses and mistakes.
Once a lie has been detected and acknowledged, you replace it with a truth. The truth of who you are is that you were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14); you are a chosen race and a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Because God is the one who created us, He is the only One who gets to define us. It is crucial to have a deep understanding of this. Oftentimes we allow other people to define us by subconsciously accepting and believing what they think of us rather than what the Bible says. Jesus’ death and resurrection not only saved us, but it also reminds of who we are and whose we are. Our ability to connect to the truth of who we are is contingent upon our willingness to listen to and choose to believe the truth of what God says.
Know your weapons. Reading, learning and memorizing scripture is a powerful aid in defeating the lies. The more you fill your mind with the truths of scripture the less room there will be for lies to take root. The different storage areas in your mind can only hold so much at one time. If you think of those areas, (the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind) as having an ability to hold only so many boxes, you can see it this way:
Let’s say the conscious mind has room for 10 boxes, the subconscious has room for 20, and the unconscious has room for an infinite number. Visualize the boxes lined up as follows:
- The conscious mind has two rows of five boxes for its 10 box limit.
- The subconscious mind has four rows for its 20.
- The unconscious mind has rows of five boxes each but then the rows fade into infinity, where you can’t see them all.
When new information comes into the conscious mind, the oldest of the boxes there fall down onto the first shelf of the subconscious, which then pushes a box from the subconscious down onto the shelf of the unconscious where it gets stored forever. New material arriving into the unconscious mind causes older material to get pushed deeper into the recesses of it where the material isn’t as easily accessible, sometimes never accessed again. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, informing your beliefs, behavior and choices.
There are various ways of accessing the material in the unconscious mind:
- Journaling – Keeping a record of what is at the forefront of your mind may help the deeper thoughts to arise. You can see your thoughts, decide whether or not you agree with them, and identify where they came from.
- Free Association – If you try writing freely on a particular thought trail, you may arrive somewhere you didn’t expect.
- Therapy – For verbal processors, talking about your life often helps bring forth new realizations.
- Sleep Thinking – Before bed, try asking your unconscious mind a question and then expect an answer to present itself to you upon waking.
- Dreaming – Recording the dreams you remember and talking about them with a therapist can be helpful. Some therapists are educated on dreams and patterns within them. Dream symbols vary from culture-to-culture, so make sure you are researching based on your predominant culture.
Once you have an idea of what you believe or think on an unconscious level, you are free to decide whether you want to confront the beliefs with truth. One way to do this is ask yourself: “Do I believe this about other people, or is this just when it comes to me?” For example, someone who is struggling with the idea that God has their best in mind may have no trouble believing that for others, but struggle to believe it as a truth for themselves. This is because the belief doesn’t match ways of thinking already entrenched in their mind. The solution is to review and change the way you are thinking about that concept.
Stay in the loop because next session I will be sharing some tools on how to engage in an examination of the self.
Tracy T. Taris