Dear Friends --
Karen, my wife, had written this great article for Canby UMC, and so I asked if I could share it with you over the next two Sundays.
Ponder this here:
“The conversation at our Sunday night family dinner table comes back again and again to the power of the mind, the power of affirmations, the truth that what we say to ourselves and to others often, if not always, comes to pass. There are three simple things to remember about words of affirmation:
• Positive affirmations are always in the present tense. Not “I will” or “I’m going to” but present tense: I am the best dad. I love my body. I am wholehearted.
• Positive affirmations only include positive words. It takes your brain a lot of extra work to get past the negativity of “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “I’ll never be like…” or “I’m exhausted.”
• Positive affirmations are spoken as words of truth. Use words like “I am” or “I do” rather than “might” or “could.” Be sure of what you are affirming.
Our brains are set up to do what we tell them. So we have powerful influence over the flow of our thoughts and the subsequent actions that follow those thoughts.
It seems like the apostle Paul had some insights along these lines (without the proof of brain research, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit ;-). God is always ahead of science by millennia).
He wrote this to the Christians at Philippi,
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8)
Paul repeated several words that seem almost like the same thing. He must have known what research has revealed. Our brains are creatures of habit and the more we repeat something, the more likely it is to happen or come true.
What about saying things that don’t feel true?
Maybe we want something that isn’t true right now and maybe it feels like it will never be true. That definitely creates a tension and discomfort. Most of our life is spent avoiding discomfort and so these positive words spoken into a hard situation create tension. This is all the more reason to embrace that intention and that affirmation. The truth is we will either change the affirmation so that it feels comfortable (someday I will lose weight) or we will change our behavior and habits so that the affirmation is true: I eat healthy foods, I exercise regularly, and I get plenty of rest.”
That’s the first part of her article. So, what do you think?
How do you speak? What do you say to yourself? How do you narrate life in your own head? How positive or negative is your language?
I know that mine has been so negative in so many seasons! Catching ourselves is key! I’ve been choosing new, positive, clear statements instead!
Years ago Catherine Marshall (author and then wife of the Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall) heard the Lord speak to her heart not to speak anything negative. She agreed thinking it would be no great thing. But found she had to remain silent for three days for she was so in the habit of speaking negatively! She literally could think of no positive thing to say!
Have you ever been warned not to make vows for they are self fulfilling in the opposite direction of the vow? So, if you say: “I’ll never be like my dad.” Your brain won’t process the negative and only records “like dad” and positions you to become what you believe you do not want to be. With brain research, this makes sense.
This week – create some positive affirmations to speak over and into your own life. Can you envision a hope and a future? “Think on these things,” Paul wrote.
Keep walking together into this transitional Journey!