But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
Start observing your thoughts. In order for awareness to occur, in order to see the darkness that is guiding your actions, there must be light. Like the light that separates the dark, awareness is the separation of yourself from your thoughts. You first must think about what you are thinking about. The protective mechanisms originate in your mind. To remain feeling safe from the moment you were born, you imitated patterns of behavior to feel connected to the world. As time went on, some of these patterns remained habits, an automatic reaction based on what you saw others repeatedly do or say. The type of nurturing you received shaped your mind. Based on the level of healthy nurturing, it formed survival skills that were perceived to have served a purpose at certain stages of your life but that no longer serve you today. You must become aware of what thought patterns and behavior responses no longer serve a purpose. Your self-talk begins to change when you hear what it is telling you. Does the chatter softly direct you or does the chatter mutter quickly? What is your brain saying? Begin to talk back to your brain. Start speaking to the subconscious thoughts that surface when you are by yourself. Behind all the people and daily circumstances that occur in front of you is a repeated scenario or conversation playing in your mind. It is these repeated scenarios or conversations within your thoughts that either bind you or free you. Become aware of the fact that this isn’t “just the way you are”. Become aware of your thoughts. This is the first step of renewal, being able to build the habit of stepping back when in the midst of a situation. Observing your thoughts begins the awareness of any habitually negative thought patterns that needs to be washed out.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
The process of renewing your mind is to remember that there is worth in powerlessness. You have value despite people, places or things that are out of your control. You can’t control an environment based on what behaviors others deem as worthy, it is only your first internal response that determines the circumstances. You can not change what is outside of you, only what is within you. Giving God permission to begin laying the foundations of new perceptions means giving up your survival mechanisms. It means being powerless, standing back and paying attention to what He is trying to speak, teach or form in your life. During this transfer of power, you do not become less. You begin to see that your worth starts with words you let Him engrave in your mind. Interrupt your own made up conversations and in that space of interruption, listen. You do not need to jump through hoops in order to get people to treat you in a manner that helps you feel better about yourself. That is the power, which you thought you could contain, that you are releasing.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
Beginning a brain washing is not equivalent to being out of touch with reality. If anything, it is about finally beginning to live in the reality, being where your feet are currently placed and not habitually viewing the moment as a repeat of your past. You are filtering out the layers one at a time. The past protective behaviors and mechanisms that help you not feel vulnerable are actually the very things that keep you in a repeated cycle. Once you lay down these protections, God can step in to reshape your outlook to the point that when you think you are being thrown out to the wolves you actually have landed among new trails of growth. The new life that wants to be formed is already within you. Life (light) or death (dark) begins with your internal conversations. Let God change the conversations by letting him gently pull you back to the sidelines so that you are no longer in the middle of the battle scenario. You can learn to stop beating yourself up and choose the thought trail that leads to a beneficial outcome of acceptance. Acceptance means that not everyone or everything will go in a direction that you would prefer, including yourself. It is a continual process to step back daily and see your world exactly as it is right now- not exactly as it was in the past nor exactly as you imagine it to be in the future. Stop the trip ups that always seem to occur because you keep mentally tripping back to your mind movies of the past. Step into His power and Let God redirect. Release the old thoughts to Him, be still to receive the new as He gets rid of the old and be open to starting over. Wash, rinse, repeat.