Tuesday, October 28, 2014

15 Ways of Thinking That God Wants to Transform in You

On Friday of last week I gave a "healing art prompt" on my Facebook page - did you see it?  It was really a journaling (writing, not art journaling) assignment that I use frequently with clients.  You can find it at my "Paths of Healing" section on the navbar up above.  (Click the link or copy and past this address in your browser search bar:  http://12tribesministries.com/find-the-path-that-will-work-best-for-you/recognize-reflect-and-releasing-emotion-through-journaling%20/).

That journaling exercise will help calm and move you through intense emotions...but it doesn't change your thinking.  It CAN help you identify thoughts, and then ultimate belief structures that drive those thoughts.  Of course the Lord is already working on the needed healing, but He won't do it without your partnership - He wants you to recognize the structures you have built in your mind that are not of Him.  If He just removed them instantly at salvation, you would keep repeating the same patterns with the same unhealthy results...this partnership in the healing process is part of what "transformation" means in Romans 12:2:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Distorted thinking is at the root of most relationship problems.  Distorted thinking usually is a result of a sense of shame.  We won't go indepth into this issue, but shame is NOT from God.  It is a sense of inadequacy, of being defective, bad, not enough.  It can create chaos in your inmost being, where you long for peace to reign!  Even though shame may seem an elusive foe to "lay hold of and defeat", it does show up in predictable ways of thinking.  And we CAN identify these ways of thinking!

I have included a worksheet titled "Fifteen Styles of Distorted Thinking" to guide you in uprooting a sense of shame. ( Click here to download it or copy this link in your browser: http://12tribesministries.com/fifteen-styles-of-distorted-thinking/.)  And when you are done with that exercise, be sure to download the companion guide: Changing the Fifteen Styles. (Copy and paste this link: http://12tribesministries.com/changing-the-fifteen-styles-of-distorted-thinking/).  Later this week we will look at different verses that talk about God's Identity in you, and how we can use that list to confront this distorted thinking as well. 

Come on over to my facebook page and let me know what you are discovering!

Take you time on this!  Deep emotions may get stirred...pause and do some self-care if needed.  Go through the first worksheet in one sitting.  Then follow the instructions there to go further.  Take a full week to let yourself understand how your particular styles are affecting your life.  True change takes at least 6 weeks - that long to develop new, healthier habits.  Get started now, but pace this process because "slow and steady wins".  Fast and furious burns out!  Consider creating some art in your art journal in response to what thoughts and feelings you are uncovering.

Here is the first portion...


Problems in relationships (even finding peace within your own heart) are often caused by faulty thinking – and generally, our own particular style of “faulty thinking” can be found in the following list.  Rate each of the following statements of a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 10 being “strongly agree”.  Rate using 5 if the statement is true “some of the time”.  Rate 0 if the statement doesn’t apply at all.  At the end you will have identified your own personal style of distorted thinking – and once identified, you can begin to change it with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Take the top two or three problems areas and invite the Lord to help show you how these styles of thinking are in your life.  With this companion list of “Changing the 15 Styles of Distorted Thinking” (click here or copy and post this link into your browser: https://db.tt/HOz3fkLI) begin a daily practice of recognizing that particular thought pattern and then actively use the “Changing…” worksheet to partner with God in changing your thought life!

1.                  Filtering – You take the negative details and magnify them while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation.

2.                  Polarized Thinking – Things are black or white, good or bad.  You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.  There is no middle ground.

3.                  Overgeneralization – You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence.  If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.

4.                  Mind Reading – Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do.  In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you.

5.                  Catastrophizing – You expect disaster.  You notice or hear about a problem and start “what if’s”:  What if tragedy strikes?  What if it happens to you?

6.                  Personalization – Thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you.  You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, etc.

7.                  Control Fallacies – If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate.  The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you.

8.                  Fallacy of Fairness – You feel resentful because you think you know what’s fair but other people won’t agree with you.

9.                  Blaming – You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem or reversal.

10.              Shoulds – You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act.  People who break the rules anger you and you feel guilty if you violate the rules.

11.              Emotional Reasoning – You believe that what you feel must be true – automatically.  If you feel stupid and boring, then you must be stupid and boring.

12.              Fallacy of Change – You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough.  You need to change people because you hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them.

13.              Global Labeling – You generalize one or two qualities into a negative global judgment.

14.              Being Right – You are continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct.  Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness.

15.              Heaven’s Reward Fallacy – You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score.  You feel bitter when the reward doesn’t come (according to your expectation).