October 5, 2018
Have you ever texted someone, not heard back, and been offended by their lack of response?
This happened to me one time. I texted somebody important in my life and they didn’t respond. Within a couple of days, I began to build a case in my heart against them. I argued their side, and then I argued my side in my mind. I won every argument, and little by little I got more frustrated with them. Soon I was really spinning. I decided that they were very angry with me about things I never did wrong.
Just when I was ready to cut them out of my life, they texted me back. They let me know that they had been out of cell range for a few days and went on to tell me how much they love me and missed me.
I was shocked by how I reacted. It made me wonder how many other times I developed virtual evidence in my mind and became offended for no reason.
Wrestling with ghosts and made-up stories is exhausting and self-defeating. It demands all of our attention and terrorizes our imaginations.
Has something like this ever happened to you?
I’ve learned that sometimes my perceptions of things that happen in my life aren’t always reality. As we grow with God, we become transformed into His likeness. So could it be that the things that constantly trigger negative feelings in you are actually areas of growth for you to transform your mind?
What if the way you’re perceiving things in your life, whether it be relationships, your perceived success or even the way you perceive God, isn’t the full picture? Maybe there’s more to the story than what you’re interpreting it as. I know that sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re thinking clearly, so today I want to give you 7 ways to identify a transformed mind so that you can gauge just how real your reality actually is.
Your Experience of Reality Is Not Always True Reality
We have to realize that sometimes our thoughts, or the way we interpret our experiences, are not always the truth. So sometimes what we feel is true is not actually true at all!
Here’s an example that helps explain this concept so well. I went to flight school when I was younger (but never completed it because I would vomit every time we went up. Yikes!) However, in ground school, they focused on something called spatial disorientation.
This is the feeling that pilots get that they are upside down and climbing when they are actually right side up. It happens when they lose sight of the horizon, like, for example, if they are in a storm. This causes pilots to crash because they turn the plane upside down.
Here is the kicker: every plane duplicates a few key instruments that indicate which way is the right way up. The reason is that when a pilot is experiencing spatial disorientation, they can look at their gauges and realize both gauges can’t be wrong. It’s when they choose to make a decision based on their feelings over trusting their gauges that they end up turning the plane upside down and crashing.
This example proves true in many of our lives. Often the way you feel, even if it’s upside down, is not what’s actually happening in your life.
Truth Disorientation Amongst Christians
This phenomenon of disorientation is so prevalent even among believers. The Lord has given us His gauges (through the Word and Holy Spirit). He even provides people to help us recognize truth if we allow them to speak into our lives. And yet, we often believe our feelings or false realities instead of watching the gauges, and then we end up wrecked! Not because God didn’t tell us the truth, but because we didn’t believe Him.
John 8:31 says, “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’”
You can’t change your life, but if you change your mind and align it with the truth, God will change your life.
7 Signs of a Transformed Mind
It’s easy to talk about having a transformed mind and much more challenging to know what life actually looks like once you’ve begun to think the way that God thinks about things. I love this quote from my dear friend, Bill Johnson: “I can’t afford to have thoughts in my head about me that God doesn’t have in His.”
So, if you’re just beginning your mind-transforming journey, then hold onto this list as hope for your future.
If you’ve been on this journey for a while, then take these as a litmus test to check in on yourself. I hope that it will bring clarity and helpful information for you to move forward with Holy Spirit. (I also want to mention that much of this I learned from Bill Johnson.)
Here are 7 signs of a transformed mind:
1. You live in hope. Any thought in your mind that doesn’t inspire hope is rooted in a lie. So, when something goes wrong a transformed mind thinks, “Oh, that’s going to work out!”
2. The impossible seems reasonable. When God says He’s going to do something that’s never happened before, you believe it will happen.
3. You live in peace and you don’t worry; your speculations are positive. 2 Corinthians 10: 5 says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Speculations are the negative “what ifs” in life. Someone with a transformed mind does not entertain negative speculations. What could that look like? If your wife comes home late from work, where does your mind go? If your mind is renewed, even your speculations are hopeful. So you’d think, “Maybe the boss kept her late to give her a promotion,” instead of, “maybe she was in a wreck.”
4. You like yourself and rejoice in your weakness, knowing that when and where you are weak He is strong. I don’t have a perfect life but I actually like who God made me. My personhood is not just my strengths, but it is also my weaknesses. I have things I’m not good at that are a part of who I am. When I’m weak, and where I’m weak, God is strong. In other words, my personhood is more affected by where I’m weak because that’s where I tend to lean on God more to help make me strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). So what I want you to know is that it’s okay to like you!
5. You are quick to forgive and freely give others grace and mercy. In other words, you don’t hold offenses and know how to confront in love.
6. You are confident and thankful. Thankfulness shows that you realize you got something you didn’t deserve. So, the difference between arrogance and confidence is gratitude.
7. You believe in others and give them the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know other people’s motives. Half the time you don’t even know your own motives!
Behavior Modification is Not Transformation
So, what does that all mean for you? Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Much of what is being taught in culture today is behavior modification and not actual transformation. You can try to manage the symptom of your behavior for only so long, but getting to the root of the problem is what actually brings change. Your thoughts are the roots of your behavior patterns. So if you want to transform your life, then a good place to start is in your mind.
Here’s one step you can take today towards transformation: review the above list and pick one that you would like to work on with Holy Spirit (this is probably the one that convicted you the most when you read it). Ask God to reveal His truth about that behavior, and one thing you can do to renew your mind in that area. Is it replacing hopeless thoughts with hope? Is it practicing gratitude in areas where you may struggle with arrogance? Is it accepting your weaknesses as a beautiful part of the way you can lean on God in trust and intimacy? If you feel comfortable I’d love to hear what He highlights to you and how you’ll be actively renewing your mind in the coming week! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!