Thinking; the ability to consider, ponder, plan, and solve problems is a God-given endowment that is so important to each of us. While some ” lesser” animals can problem-solve, none compares to the high levels of thinking humans are capable of. Neuroscientist have discovered that we humans have more highly developed frontal lobes in our brain than any other species.
Do you remember the Genesis story of how God created everything? The heavenly bodies, the earth, water, fish, and animals all preceded his crowing act. And, He created mankind in His image. Our thinking ability is a wonderful gift that sets us apart from the rest of creation.
Now, here’s something to think about. If politicians, pastors, teachers, and the rest of us have the ability to ponder, consider options, and problem-solve, why is our country and much of the world in such a mess? I have a couple of thoughts that may begin to explain some of the reasons we are where we are.
Wrong thinking, stupid thinking, prideful thinking, ignorant thinking, and the lack of common-sense thinking are behind much of what ails us. At different times, one or more of these has been the underlying issue in most of my self-made problems. And, I see these all the time in problems other people create for me.
I believe God wants us to use our thinking to learn how to have an abundant life that is marked by a reverence for Him and a healthy love for our self and others. While our thinking allows us to negotiate the problems and challenges life brings, its highest function is the development of our character, who we really are at the core of our being.
What do our thoughts have to do with kind of person we are? Biblical teaching on the power of our thoughts has convinced me that my thinking has a great influence on my character, and the way I act and feel. Jesus says in Luke 15: 19, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, false witness, blasphemies.”
My practice as a therapist for many years provided abundant examples of how messed-up thinking led to messy, often painful living. I also saw how the grace of God worked to heal emotions and correct dysfunctional living when a client learned to think according to biblical teachings about God, self, and others.
With very few exceptions, every client I worked with had an emotional component to the issues that brought them to see me. Without exception, the emotional issues were tied to problems with their thought life. Low self-esteem, wrong interpretations of events, and victim mentality were some of the thinking patterns behind the emotional issues.
Those who benefitted most from their work with me came to focus on the only person they could help fix. The work (therapy is hard work) shifted from the other person or issue to their role in the situation they had come in to get fixed. Part of the process was learning how their thought process was an integral part of the problem. How did they see life? Were they an angry person? Were they a perfectionist, a pleaser, or an enabler? How had they come to think of themselves and of life as they did?
I retired from doing therapy several years ago, and I am well satisfied with being a retired therapist. So, I’m not trying to be your therapist in this blog. My point is that way we think, the way we see life, greatly influences our feelings and the way we act and respond to different events in our life. Remember this: emotions (feelings) are a result of the way we interpret things that happen to us. The way we think influences the way we feel and how we act. Feelings follow thinking. Feelings are a good servant but a very poor master.
There are two kinds of thinking each of us does. We have unconscious thoughts that control much of the way we live life and respond to life events. This way of thinking has developed over time by the way we have interpreted various events and relationships in our life. Our conscious thoughts are a deliberate process of thinking through, meditating on a situation and deciding a course of action.
Takeaway: Biblical thinking is the key to good living. Is your thinking in alignment with how God thinks about you and others? When you have difficult feelings in certain situations, “follow the feelings” and discover why you feel the way you do. Take the time to consider, ponder, and discover how God would have you respond to the situation. Don’t simply act out the feeling, think before you act.
“Change Your Thinking, Change your Life” is the title of a chapter in my new book. This chapter tells how we form “maps” or ways of thinking that greatly influence our decisions and approach to living. Check it out at http://cosdavis.com/product/heavens-currency-investing-in-the-things-that-matter-most/