In the last blog article I wrote, The Psychology of Belief, we learned that behaviors betray our beliefs. Our actions are simply a symptom of our deep-rooted beliefs. If the belief is positive, then healthy behaviors result and become our default mode. But unexamined, false beliefs produce negative emotions that produce what can be life-long negative or even harmful behaviors. We can become so discouraged when we focus on a behavior we want to change. Often it feels impossible after we fail repeatedly. So how do we change our unwanted behaviors? That's what I want to talk to you about.
To change, we have to live like the beloved children we are, and to do that, we must confront our beliefs. Who tells us we are beloved? The world certainly doesn't, so we must consult our Creator about the lies we may have come in agreement with and believed. I have said it over and over, but it bears repeating: You must choose from where and whom you will get your truth, but then you must take it one step further and choose to believe it.
First, I want you to take some time to think about what your negative, default behaviors may be that are keeping you from being the real, authentic you. Go ahead - think about it and write them down. You can begin to identify them by paying close attention to your intense emotional reactions to seemingly benign situations, those where you react or overreact without cause. Anger, rage, sweaty palms, racing heart, and abject fear are all clues to situations that do not warrant those reactions. Do not gloss over the behavior with rationalizations; instead, begin to ask "why" of your Maker.
Next, it is imperative for you to examine any negative narratives to determine if they are clouding your identity and limiting your destiny. Ignoring them does not work. Think about any sentences you use about yourself that begin with "I am." A core narrative always begins with "I am" this negative thing or that positive thing. I want you, for now, to focus on the negative, self-limiting ones. Here are a few examples to get you to thinking about the negative tapes running in your own head. (Yes, these also run through mine!)
I am an embarrassment.
I am unplanned.
I am of no value.
I am unattractive.
I am unworthy.
I am unintelligent.
I am ugly.
I am an accident.
I am unlovable.
I am insignificant.
I am the problem.
I am a failure.
Do you see how any of these statements could bestow a false identity upon us if we come in agreement with them? When we come in agreement with a negative narrative, they become a belief. These negative and untrue beliefs produce strong emotions and feelings that we act out of by default.
Your behaviors will always betray your beliefs.
If you believe you are unlovable, you will feel unlovable and eventually act unlovable. If you believe you are unintelligent, you feel stupid and will act that way. If you believe you are ugly, you will feel ugly and begin to display ugly behaviors. If you believe you have no value, you will feel insignificant and invisible and begin to make choices that reflect that belief and those feelings. After a while, all those behaviors become second nature to you. They become your default mode. Are light bulbs going off? Any flashes of lightning? Is the haze clearing?
Also, pay attention to statements you make that begin with always, no one, and never, “No one will ever love me." "I will always be overweight." "I have never had a friend.” Sentences containing those words can provide clues to negative programming. If you are stuck staring at the blanks, consult anyone you are in a close relationship with to help you identity any negative or irrational behaviors. Those very behaviors may be hurting your relationships, and those who love you will cheer you on when they discover you want to include them in your journey of purpose. When they give you truth about yourself, especially if they give you that truth with love, guard your heart and don’t make them your enemy. You are not looking for flattery. You need truth.
“What has happened to your joy? I can testify that at one time you would have torn your eyes out and given them to me if I needed them. How have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:15-16)
Let truth be your friend, not your enemy. Truth that is poured over lies and untrue beliefs has the power to change your negative core narratives, irrational emotions, and the adverse behaviors they produce. I am willing to bet those very same behaviors are linked to lies about your identity that are keeping you from discovering and fulfilling your world-changing destiny. Pursue truth!
Sit still for just a moment, take a deep breath, and ask God’s Spirit to testify to you about who you are. Quiet your mind and ask your Abba Father to reveal any agreements you have made with a lie. Then replace them with the truth -- the truth that only God can bestow:
You are chosen..., You are dearly loved..., You belong to Me..., I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you..., You are beautiful in my sight..., I made you just the way you are..., You are forgiven and redeemed..., You are free indeed....
These are God's truth about you, my friend. It's time to find purpose and take the journey of faith in finding you. Email me at email@example.com and let's get started.
P.S. A good place to start your journey is to grab a few friends or group at your church (or go through it alone if you can't find anybody to join you). Dedicate yourselves to working through my workbook, Uniquely You. It will change your life and start you on new adventures you could never fathom. To order your copy, click HERE.
How Belief Impacts Our Emotions and Actions
If you are interested in starting a journey of purpose for a small group you would like to host, contact Jenny directly firstname.lastname@example.org. She can help you get started. To order workbooks, go to Amazon.com.