Every day we make choices. We choose whether to get out of bed, what to wear, what we will eat, which activities we will participate in, and how we will respond to others, just to name a few. However, upon closer examination and just under the surface of all of our actions lie the murky waters of what we believe—what we believe about ourselves, about other people, and about the world we live in. These fundamental thoughts hold the power to either unlock the proper mindset needed to keep us moving toward our dreams or to stop us dead in our tracks.
Have you ever thought about how your thoughts impact your dreams? Have you ever considered the domino effect of how your dreams then affect your actions, which in turn determines your future and ultimately defines your destiny?
There is a direct correlation between how we view ourselves and how we live out the dreams God has called us to. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Essentially, you are what you think.
Let’s face it: we live in a very negative world that focuses on what’s wrong, what’s ugly, what hurts, and what can’t be done. But if you take time to observe successful people, you will see that most are positive and enthusiastic. I don’t think you will find them obsessed with negativity and what they can’t accomplish. Quite contrarily, successful people know who they are and are comfortable in their own skin. How much more should we as Christians have confidence in living out our dreams? After all, we have God abiding in us and working through us. What more could we ever need?
Here’s the key to relinquishing our insecurities and embracing a healthy confidence—knowing it’s not about WHO we are and it’s all about WHOSE we are. Knowing who we are in Christ is powerful, for it can break the bonds of insecurity, fear, and even failure, which often hold us captive and keep us from attaining our dreams.
If you look at Proverbs 31, you will see a woman who knew who she was and had the confidence to live it out. You don’t have to read very far to be even a little envious of this industrious lady! Everything she had her hand in turned out to be successful! Her family revered her and called her blessed; her husband praised her; and she was known all throughout the city for her impeccable integrity and her undeniable accomplishments. What I find interesting is that not once do you read about her second guessing herself, questioning her giftedness, or giving up in defeat. Not, it is quite the contrary. This woman never stopped using what God had given her to live out what He had called her to.
All throughout the chapter, this amazing woman selects wool, works with willing hands, brings her food from afar, rises while it is night, provides food for her household, evaluates and buys a field, plants a vineyard with her earnings, draws on her strength, knows that her merchandise is good, extends her hand to the spinning staff, reaches out to the poor and needy, is not afraid for her household, makes bed coverings and clothing in fine linens, sells garments in the city, delivers belts to the merchants, opens her mouth with wisdom and instructions, and watches over the activities of her household. How does one woman accomplish all of this? She accomplishes all of this because she doesn’t waste time standing around wringing her hands on what she does or does not have; instead, she is confident in how God made her, how He gifted her, and how He will use her.
Imagine if we really embraced the fact that we are children of the King. I have a feeling we would think, believe, and live differently. Everything rides on finding our confidence in Him, so it is so important to nail it down in our hearts once and for all and apply it to our thoughts each day.
The reality is at some point we can all struggle with negative thoughts and the lies the enemy sends our way. And I think it is important to remember that just because we have a thought doesn’t mean that it is true or that it has to stay in our minds. We have a choice of what we choose to dwell on and what we choose to discard. Here are some ways to change our unhealthy thoughts:
- Recognize unhealthy thoughts using Scripture as our standard.
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8
- Choose to Replace the lies we believe with the truth.
Since God’s Word is the source of all truth, that is where we must go to replace the unhealthy thoughts that have wallpapered our minds.
- Choose to Repeat the truth.
None of us became the way we are overnight, so it is going to take time and practice before we can experience real change.
- Choose to Repeal negative self-talk.
When we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, at that moment, we are probably right because we have already made the decision that we can’t. Instead of telling ourselves we can’t, we can replace that internal dialogue with Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Here is a resource from iBelieve.com with some common self-defeating thoughts we often tell ourselves and some verses to refute them. I absolutely love this:
- Choose to GUARD your mind.
When was the last time you took an inventory of your thoughts and beliefs? This is so important for all of us to do, for even when we are firmly grounded we can let our guard down and before long have our thoughts go awry.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.
Although our enemy doesn’t hunt us down physically as a lion would, I believe he is ruthless and ferocious in how he attacks our minds. Just as he planted the seeds of doubt and uncertainty in Eve’s mind in the Garden of Eden, he still works overtime doing the same to us today. It is his mission to infiltrate our thoughts and cause us to question, doubt, and give up on our dreams. In doing so, we are stuck on the sidelines and kept from all that God has for us.
Now, don’t think for a second I am ending this blog with us fearing lions and flaming darts of Satan. Here’s what we must never lose sight of no matter what the enemy tries to bring our way: We already have the victory in Jesus Christ our Lord!
“Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4
So, the next time your thoughts threaten to submerge you and keep your dreams at bay, hold your head high and choose to believe who you are in Christ. Here’s what you can hang on to: You are created in God’s image, you are His child, and He loves you fiercely and has a phenomenal plan for your life.
Let this be your mindset and let this be your mantra—God is for you! He is for you when you feel unworthy! He is for you when you struggle to believe! He is for you when you doubt your future! He is for you when you want to give up on your dream! So, let go of negativity and the thoughts that hold you back, and boldly chase the dreams that God has placed in your heart! The future ahead is bright for those who know who they are and who make the choice to be positive and believe!
*Most of Today’s Blog is taken from Dare to Soar, 75-87. Dare to Soar is available at Pauladunnministries.com, Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and iTunes.