Mental Health & Renewing your Mind (Part 1)
We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you think” or the well known “you become what you gaze upon” – right? How often do we do a stock take on our thought life? Wait what are you saying Renché? Haha you heard me! Do you take time to think about what you think about?
Every time we think, we build memories. Literally! Every thought builds branches on the nerves of our brain. Imagine a tree – a nerve looks quite similar. Nerves also have a stem/trunk and branches. The more you think a specific thought, the more branches will grow on that tree (nerve). This is not my opinion! This is real biological facts – proven by doctors and scientists.
The more you think about the same things / meditate on the same thought, your hypothalamus (part of your brain) generates an electric wave that pass through your existing memories in your brain – and it actually re-activates the thought. This cause pre-existing memories to come to your mind (conscious) again. Let’s illustrate it by an example. Let’s say you have had an argument with someone a while ago. During and shortly after the argument you might have felt anger or resentment towards that person. The feelings/emotions later on subdued. And then after a while – when you see that person or someone else speaks about them – you immediately feel that same emotions you felt during / shortly after the argument. Have you experienced that before? I’m pretty sure we all have!
Both good and bad memories form in the same manner and function the same way in the brain. Just like a good memory gets triggered and you get the same warm and fuzzy feeling when you think back of the memory – those memory (nerve) branches get reactivated in the brain and it grows stronger. Same thing goes with negative thoughts. Dr MK Strydom calls them the poisonous thoughts. And that’s exactly what they are! Imagine the memory trees in your brain. The good memories are filled with pretty blossoms at the edges. And the negative memories are full of thorns / fangs.
Every single thought you have, releases a substance in your brain or creates a chemical process. Ever wondered why the Bible places SO much attention on the renewal of our minds? It’s pretty intense! That’s why!
When we renew our minds – by getting rid of toxic thought patterns, we are literally uprooting the thorny trees in our brain. And what’s also important is that when we uproot the thorny trees – we have to replace them with memory trees of life! We do that by finding our identity in Christ. Meditating on who we are in Christ and thinking about good and positive thoughts – we literally re-activate the electric wave in our brains. But since we are thinking good and positive thoughts – we are no longer causing toxins to be flushed out into our brains. But instead – we release healthy and life giving (more commonly referred to as “happy hormones”) in our brains.
I want to leave you with a few Scriptures regarding the renewal of your mind:
Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2 Corinthians 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things!
Proverbs 23:7 – For as a man thinks he is, so he becomes.
Don’t you think God is trying to give us a message through these Scriptures? If our thoughts and thought patterns did not matter or didn’t influence our lives – why then would He take time to mention any of the above?
God said in Deuternomy 30:19 – I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse: therefore, Choose Life, that both you and your seed may live!
We literally have the ability to change our reality by simply shifting our focus! You become what you gaze upon!
Today I want to encourage you to do a little “stocktake” on your thoughts! Are you meditating on life giving thoughts? Or are you making your body sick (mentally and physically) by constantly thinking negative thoughts that cause toxic chemicals to by flushed into your body?!
In the end it comes down to the fact that we have the responsibility to cleanse and renew our thought patterns. We all have to make the decision for ourselves to actively renew our minds – there is literally no one who can do it for you.
We are created in God’s image and His likeness. And thus in order for us to renew our minds – we have to start by finding our true identity in Jesus Christ!
[Part 2 coming next week]