Master Your Mindset

Welcome to Positive Life Principles with Karol Ladd. I’m glad you are here. My desire is to encourage your heart and strengthen your faith through the truth found in the Bible. For the month of January, I have asked my friend Candace Gray to share her wisdom and insights on starting the year off in a positive direction. I know you will enjoy her blog. You’ll find more info about Candace at the end of the blog.

  • Numbers 13:33 “…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” 

Many success gurus talk about the importance of mindset. Mindset refers to strongly ingrained patterns of your thoughts, attitudes, assumptions and beliefs. You may have good days with a positive mindset and discouraging days when your mindset is negative. But, just like establishing healthy eating practices, the issue is not what you do for a day or two, but your prevailing habits over time.

Mindset is incredibly crucial because if you have a faith-filled mindset, it can propel you toward great achievements and give you the ability to persevere despite significant obstacles. Likewise, if your mindset is negative, it can derail you from accomplishing what you desire or it can prolong the time it takes you to get there. Some believe that mindset is simply what you believe about yourself, but what you believe about yourself is directly related to what you believe about God.     

As God was preparing the growing nation of Israel to take possession of the land He promised them, they had a pattern of negative thinking. They routinely looked at their circumstances and dismissed God. They consistently displayed a lack of faith in Him and belief in His promises.  The result of their stinking thinking was a grasshopper mentality. They viewed themselves as small and powerless in the face of their enemies. They felt they would be crushed if they attempted to take the opportunity that God wanted to give them.    

We may wrestle with questions about God’s intentions toward us: Are His plans for me really good? Does He really care about the affairs of my life? Is He really at work in my life? Does He truly want to work through me to bless others? Does He truly have a purpose for me? Is my life going somewhere or is it just randomness and minutia? Is He willing to act powerfully on my behalf? Will He show up for me?

Don’t be afraid to take your questions to God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” If you struggle with a grasshopper mentality, ask for His help.  He loves to strengthen our faith, since our faith is what pleases Him.  He will help you develop a faith-filled mindset that boldly pursues purpose throughout the year.

Questions for Reflection:

  • When have you viewed yourself as a grasshopper in your own eyes? 
  • How can you become more aware of the pattern of your thoughts?
  • How can you strengthen your faith in God?

About Candace: Candace Gray is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to www.candacegray.com 

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Photo by Jonathan Leppan on Unsplash

The Power of Practice

photo-1474224017046-182ece80b263
It’s easy to assume that every star athlete is naturally gifted, and yes, to a certain extent that may be true. But there is typically a more important secret to their success. It’s called practice. Take Michael Jordan for instance, the year he returned to the Bulls after his brief stint in baseball, the Bulls were eliminated in the play-offs. Jordan learned a valuable lesson, saying, “You can’t leave and think you can come back and dominate this game. I will be physically and mentally prepared from now on.” Michael Jordan realized he couldn’t coast when it comes to being a basketball champion. He resumed putting in the hard work and practice, and the next three years the Bulls won the NBA title!
Yes, Jordan may have a natural bent or inclination toward being a basketball star, but he backed it up with hard work and dedicated practice. The same is true for you and me. As much as we wish gifts and talents would just kind of show up in our lives (or in our kids’ lives), success is built through hard work and determination, not simply natural giftedness.
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “I believe ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there….It’s so easy to…begin thinking you can just ‘turn it on’ automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there.” Solomon put it this way, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
Take some time this week to consider where you need to improve your skills, whether in business or with a hobby or even in a relationship. If you want to encounter excellence, it begins with hard work, perseverance and doing more than the average person is willing to do. Ask yourself, “What are my goals and what am I willing to do to achieve them.” Remember it doesn’t just happen.

The above quotes by Jordan and Wooten are found in the book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

 

What’s Growing in The Garden of Your Mind

IMG_6859

Every spring, my husband Curt creates a beautiful arrangement of flowers for our table on the back deck. He always chooses a lovely variety of plants that simply make me smile when I look at them. Isn’t it amazing how colorful flowers can lift your spirits?  I can’t help but draw a simple analogy for us personally – just as Curt has a choice of what he will plant in the garden, so each of us has a choice of the thoughts we will allow to grow in the garden of our minds.

Neuroscience now tells us that the brain is able to think new thought patterns and shift from old destructive thinking. That’s good news!  We don’t have to stay in the rut of thinking thoughts of despair or anger or bitterness. We can choose to shift our thinking and plant new healthy, hope-filled, life-giving thoughts instead.

This may be a new discovery for science, but the apostle Paul wrote about these same concepts thousands of years ago. In Philippians we read, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Obviously, Paul seemed to understand the power of the mind. He wrote to the Romans, “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.”

We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds! So let’s get rid of the weeds of fear, doubt, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger and despair, and replace them with faith, hope, love, grace, joy and strength.

Gardening is not easy. It takes hard work and constant care, but the end result is a beautiful bouquet which is a blessing to others and brings glory to the Father. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can change our thinking. Just as it takes 21 Days to form a new habit, it takes about 21 days for neurons to form new pathways.

Let’s begin our gardening by recognizing the negative thought patterns that need to go, and begin the process of asking the Lord to give us faith-filled thoughts, through the power of His Spirit and the reading of His word. This is another reason why I believe scripture memory is so powerful, because it fills our mind with what is true and good. (Click here for a short video on Scripture memory).

Let’s each ask the question personally, “What am I allowing to grow in the garden of my mind?”

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Romans 15:13