It’s All in the Mind: Part 1

By Pastor Royston Smith

The way we think affects us both mentally and physically. Our thought patterns can very easily shape our belief system. This is in turn, will have a positive or negative effect on our wellbeing. High levels of stress and anxiety are often the symptoms of an underlying negative outlook.  

The book of Proverbs 12:25 states: “Anxiety weighs down the heart of a man, but a good word cheers it up.”.  

 Let’s consider two birds; the hummingbird and the vulture. Both live in similar environments, yet each one appears to have a different attitude. Vultures are always on the hunt for rotting meat, because  they are scavengers. On the other hand, hummingbirds take no notice of the smelly flesh of dead animals. Why? Hummingbirds are attracted to beautiful things. They delight in the colourful blossoms of beautiful plants.  While vultures are content with feasting on carcasses, hummingbirds much rather the nectar of colourful flowers. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We often do.

The way these birds respond to their environment, can be likened to the way we react to the circumstances around us.  Our challenges can be seen as opportunities for growth or a source of discouragement. If seen as the latter, the result will be a lack of effort.  If I think I’m just not good enough to advance in my career, then I have already decided on the outcome. If however, my thinking leads me to focus on career progression, the outcome will be different.   

A chaplain spoke with a soldier on his hospital bed. “You have lost an arm in the great cause.”  

 “No,” replied the soldier with a smile, “I didn’t lose it – I gave it.”  

Same incident, different attitude.  Similarly, Jesus did not lose His life. He gave it purposefully. He gave it for you and me. His mindset and action influenced our destiny. As a result of Jesus’ positive attitude our once bleak future, is now alive. The Apostle Paul encouraged us to have an attitude check.  Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4: 8 (Message Bible). 

Positive thoughts without actions have no power. However, positive thoughts can lead to helpful behaviour, which increases our chances of a better outcome. For example, even though a patient’s attitudes and beliefs are not measurable and therefore don’t appear on any medical chart, it is widely accepted that they influence the process of recovery. A patient with a positive attitude is more willing to cooperate and adopt any changes necessary to speed his recovery. Whereas, a patient with a negative outlook, will experience slower recovery.

What label have you given yourself? Does it need to be revised? Since Jesus was willing to die for you, what label do you think He placed on you? Nobody puts effort where they see no hope. Are you feeling discouraged/ downtrodden? All is not lost. Declare yourself victorious in Jesus’ name. Create a more positive label for your life. Surround yourself with ‘hummingbirds’ (positive, pleasant people) and avoid those with the ‘vulture-like’ tendencies of negativity and harshness.  You don’t have to allow any belief system to restrict your potential. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true. Adopt a growth mindset.

So what does a growth mindset look like? how does one adopt it? What part does Jesus play? 

Dear God, Thank you for placing such a high value on my life. Please help me to see myself through your eyes. Remove my doubts and fears. I want to have a victorious life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.