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: https://db.tt/DGvnMtoO.)  And when you are done with that exercise, be sure to download the companion guide: Changing the Fifteen Styles. (Copy and paste this link:  https://db.tt/HOz3fkLI).  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...


15 STYLES OF DISTORTED THINKING

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).



 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

“Writing the Vision”, the Law of Attraction and God’s Incredible Design



"Then the LORD answered me and said,
    "Record the vision

And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run."
Habakkuk 2:2

Vision is specific. It is goal-oriented and undeniably tenacious. Vision investigates and delineates what is currently practiced and seeks to tweak it to produce qualitative results. Vision personified walks in the Spirit of Excellence, aggravates the status quo, and frustrates any attempt to perpetuate mediocre performance.                                Marcus Mason

             Type these words into your favorite search engine - “Creating a Vision Board” – and top returns will invariably have references to the mysterious “Law of Attraction”.  Even Psychology Today has published articles about this trend (and I recommend this article for the serious research it contains) and cites where the idea got its recent momentum:

                Vision or Dream boards have achieved notoriety in the past few years with the release of
the book, The Secret. An endorsement from Oprah also didn’t hurt. Vision boards are based
on the Law of Attraction. The idea that your mode of thinking directly affects what the
universe gives you. If you put positive mental energy into the universe, you’ll be the
recipient of positive outcomes.1

The idea of the vision board is to get very specific with what you want to accomplish: whether it is in your life as a whole, or a particular project for work, or even something more personal like “I want to learn a foreign language” or “I want to lose twenty pounds”.  Making that goal statement is just the beginning…you need to get very specific.  Let’s use the “losing weight” statement as our example.  What additional “vision elements” do you need to add to your board to realize your goal/vision?  You need to:



       a)   set a realistic time frame to reach the goal,
b)   think through the steps you need to implement to move you in the direction of the goal:
*stop eating sugar
* eat more raw foods
* exercise at least 20 minutes 5 days a week
c)    note when I crave “comfort foods”
d)    make a list of alternatives to eating when I feel sad, upset, lonely, etc.

Do you see how being very specific will challenge old patterns of behavior as you develop new habits rather than being general and vague?     


             Counselors and life coaches know that “getting specific” plays an important role in people being successful in achieving their goals.   It helps us to understand the many small steps needed to reach that larger goal.  “Vision Boarders” say it is due to the “Law of Attraction”.   However, research in the field of neuro-science leads us to a less nebulous yet no less amazing reality.

God's Design for Focus
 
The reticular activating system ( or RAS) is the portal through which most information enters the brain.  It also filters the information, selecting what to pay attention to, how emotional you will be about the information, and what information is going to be simply swept into your subconscious awareness. The RAS helps us consciously focus attention on something and dampens down the effect of repeated stimuli such as loud noises, thereby preventing the senses from being overloaded.2  Simply stated, each of us has this RAS, and it functions as a type of radar – zeroing in on information that is assessed as important and actively placing unimportant information where it won’t clutter up our thinking.  In our example, getting specific with the steps to achieve the goal of losing twenty pounds gives importance to those activities, resulting in a sort of “calibrating” of the RAS.  We have in effect, programmed our mind to pay particular attention to those actions and to disregard anything that doesn’t line up with those goals.  God’s design within our mind is simply incredible!

I am thinking even of how often the Scripture tells us to meditate on the Word of God, to set our minds on the things that are above and not on the things of the earth, and to guard our thoughts.  These things help us to live a life of peace and blessing because they help to “calibrate” the RAS to focus on God’s ways!

 "Write the Vision" as the Best Calibration

Similarly, the Biblical instruction to “Write the Vision” acts as a “calibration” of our minds (the RAS).  But that isn’t the only way that “writing the vision” leads to better outcomes than the “Law of Attraction” (as it is presently promoted).  Following Habakkuk’s plan takes into consideration the reality that goals, vision, promises and prophecies don’t always come to pass in some fixed time frame that fits our typical 6-month, 2-year, and 5-year goal strategies.  What happens if it takes more than 25 years for God’s plan to come to pass as in the case of Abraham receiving the promise of his own child?  If you subscribe to the “Attraction” theory, you are to blame by not having positive enough thoughts or by not wanting these dreams enough.  You might even decide that “the Universe” is against you.  This sounds so much like some Christians who might believe God is against them because He isn’t answering their prayers the way they want or because they aren’t “good enough”.  This is faulty thinking no matter if you are trusting “the Universe” or trusting (your mistaken concept of) God !

Secondly, The Law of Attraction emphasizes thinking about the items placed in or on the Vision Board.  God’s command to “Write the Vision” includes a “call to action”…things are written so that the reader can “run”.  That word “run” means to escort, run to meet, run as messenger, guard, and even (in a figurative sense) the activity of a prophet!  I LOVE that in a sense, we are prophesying to ourselves by escorting, running to meet, guarding, and keeping the message!  

Finally, HOPE permeates every aspect of God’s vision for us.  In Habakkuk, He declares that “even though it tarries, wait for it, it will certainly come.”  In another spot of Scripture we are promised that “His Word doesn’t return empty, but accomplishes that which it was sent to do” (Isaiah 55:10-11).  I want this hope.  I want my mind to be set on the vision that God has for me, because THAT is what He is championing and working towards in my life.  And if I set my mind on those things, then that God-given radar of the reticular activating system will help weed out distractions and help me focus on activity, thoughts, words and deeds that will move me along on the path of this purpose and vision.  

This, coupled with the Holy Spirit’s power working in and through me, is a truly dynamic and powerful combination!  This is just one of the ways that I can “do all things through Him who strengthens me.”



1. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-blame-game/201205/throw-away-your-vision-board-0
2.  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-reticular-activating-system.htm



Other articles in the series can be found here:
 What the Bible Says About Creating Vision Boards + Healing Art Prompt

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Don't Go Yet! God's Heart Cry for Us -

I just can't wait to post this!
Nothing that God does is by accident. I know you know that, but I just HAD to say it...

For all those who still carry the feeling that God is mad at them, that they might just do that last, final thing that will make His anger roar against them...THIS is the Holy Day He made to take away that fear...

You know how we are in the season of the new year in the Jewish Calendar?  Well, at the end of the  seven-day celebration of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) we are to add an extra day (see Leviticus 23:39). While this eighth day is designated as an "assembly," it may also be translated as "abiding or waiting."  
"You may compare it to a king who had a festival for seven days and invited all the nations of the world to the seven days of feasting. When the seven days were over and the guests had gone, he said to his friend (Israel), 'Let us now have a small meal together, just you and I.'" (Bamidbar Rabbah 21, Sukkah 55b)
 Today, for the year 2014 in our calendar, is the EIGHTH Day of these feast period...


It is as if, even after all the wonderful fall Holy Days, God himself is pleading with his people to stay in his presence just a little longer...such is the purpose of Shemini Atzeret (the name of the day after the Feast of Tabernacles).

Our incredible God prepares such a 
wonderful, abundant life for us!  
He desires to speak with us, to be a part of our lives, 
to lavish His great love on us...
He finds us desirable...

Hear His heart for you, 
Before we have entered into His presence, 
He invites us to "Come!"

After we have spent some quiet moments with Him, 
He invites us to "Stay!"


He said to them
"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."  
Mark 6:31

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What the Bible Says About Creating Vision Boards + Expressive Therapeutic Art Prompt





This topic of vision boards is SO important!

I have really been praying about and considering how to address this topic because I didn't want to seem harsh and critical, or on the other hand, leaning towards New Age philosophy.  But, part of my mandate from God in this new season is to RECLAIM His original intention with the healing arts and RESTORE the full truth about certain practices so that His children can REAP the insights and growth He provides for!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

After You Press the “RESET Button” - What Happens Next…



Hello everyone!

Last week I made a video about being in “The Days of Awe” and how to take advantage of these days, (which are part of the New Year in the Jewish Calendar) to reset our own dreams, goals and vision. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdk69ih447I&feature=youtu.be
(You can watch it here - or click the photo to go to youtube...be gentle, this is my first ever video) 


In that video I promised I would share my own journaling – and here it is!

A little background:

I have been hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart, encouraging me to “get serious” about my online presence for a some time now.  The teenager is getting more independent, her schooling day changing and allows for me more time to focus on other things.  One season is transitioning into the next!  The Holy Spirit brought one of Sandi Krakowski’s classes to my inbox – and her business sense has come at the perfect time. 

So, what did my “reset” reveal?
(Not necessarily in order of priority!)
One
Over the spring and summer months, I have seemed to be saying the same things, over and over,  to my clients, and I was getting the idea that I might need to make a teaching available for them, one that could be easily accessed for the online world.  After all, if I am saying the same thing to so many people in my “in person” life, how many more outside of my neighborhood may need the same message?   I believe the Lord wants me to share this – so I will begin working towards an “in a box” class for this issue.  Join me in praying for a name?

Two
When I was full time in counseling, I longed for the churches I was affiliated with to have Bible Studies and groups that I could send my clients into to get the in-depth, targeted spiritual help they needed AT THAT VERY MOMENT, so that we could spend our counseling session more on the issues than simple life and communication skills.  I had even developed an entire 2 year program (at 1 class per week) that would take a potential client through the basics – my goal was to start training people to run the classes/Bible Studies/Groups myself.  That goal got put “on a shelf” (homeschooling makes it really challenging to be available in a professional way for hurting people!)  I am going to resurrect this two year program and put it into an online format.  Excited?  Interested?  What would you want to have in such a program?  Let me know!
  
My journal - Twinkle H20 play -

Three
I have two books cooking in my heart!  This is really scary/vulnerable to step out and say this publicly.  That inner critic that says "who are you to be so presumptuous to think you should write a book that anyone would want to read" guffaws around in my brain at times.  But yet I KNOW I am not a presumptuous sort of person; and if God has placed these things in my heart, then it will please Him to use my gifts.  Time to write!

Four
I need to devote 15 to 25 hours a week on business – a lot of this time online and writing articles.  Art needs to be done as well, but not during this focused time.
  
Five
Don’t neglect the Essential Oils business (He just confirmed this again this afternoon!)  I believe the Lord really wants people to be physically healthy, and using therapeutic grade essential oils is a simple and powerful way to help our bodies natural ability to fight disease, viruses and bacteria, and environmental toxins.
  
Six 
 Create one Christian themed healing art directive a week.  I have some things on the website already, and this goal will insure there is a strong body of online knowledge for His children who need to heal emotionally and spirituall.  Looking forward to this!  Let me know what you want to address first!)
  
Seven
He audibly said “Don’t change the name.” Ok, that is a topic in the class, but I didn’t know it when He said this!
 
With a little more embellishment

Eight
I keep hearing, in my spirit, “Arise!”  Arise, Jerusalem!  Arise, sleeping bride!  May God arise!  Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me…!  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you!  Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song!  When I hear things like this in my heart, I tend to take it for intercession for the church at large, intercession for others.  But He whispered this, “YOU are part of my church; speak this over YOU!” Oh my, what those words did to me!  What receiving those words are doing in my heart!

And look at this!  Eight points to my “reset” time…the number of “new beginnings” – I think He is having fun with this!

I have another step – one that will be our artistic prompt to carry us through the next Feast days of Succot, The Feast of Tabernacles.  I’ll be back with that on Thursday!  In reality, this is the first Healing Art Directive.

Shalom,
Cindy