A Change of Mind. Day one...
“How did you feel about …?” Have you ever asked that question of anybody? Of course you have. You have, I have, we all have. Maybe you were comforting a friend after a death, an accident, an illness, a business failure, or some family drama. Or maybe you were just talking to somebody with an interesting story and wanted to know, “How did that make you feel?”
Here in the United States, we are obsessed with how people “feel” about the unexpected events in their lives. Reporters want to capture the emotion of newsworthy events because emotion sells. But there's little interest in investigating the thinking behind those unexpected events.
It's as if we measure the health of a person by how he or she is “feeling” rather than by how he or she is “thinking.” But this is a dangerous tendency.
Feelings aren't based on truth. Feelings are based on perceptions.
Please note: Even feelings based on what would appear to be an obvious truth are based on our perceptions of that truth. The feelings associated with the death of a loved one, for example, change over time because our perception of that loss change over time.
Perceptions pretend to be truth and then persuade us to engage in useless or destructive behavior. Back when I operated a furniture factory, I had employees call in and tell me they couldn't get to work because of the snow, when I knew full well that the roads they had to travel on were perfectly clear. Maybe the snow had piled up against their bedroom windows—I don't know what they saw to persuade them that they couldn't get to work—but I do know they never bothered to check out the roads. They just saw snow and thought: “Day off!”
Perception said, “I can't get to work,” and the destructive consequences of destructive behavior followed. Production suffered because of absenteeism. Employees came to me for loans because their paychecks were short from their “snow days.” Employees lost their jobs because their “snow days” put them in violation of our company's attendance policy. I even made calls like: “Charlie, you know I'll have to suspend you if you miss another day of work. Can I send someone out to pick you up and bring you to the factory today? I'll forgive the tardy.” And I was still turned down on occasion.
When the devil can get us to believe a perception based on how we feel, he can get us to bypass the truth altogether. And truth then becomes an irrelevant factor in our behavior.
What happens when truth becomes an irrelevant factor in our behavior? We become blown about by our feelings like leaves are blown about by the wind. On a windy day can you count on a pile of leaves to stay in one place? You certainly know the answer if you have any trees in your yard.
If we base our lives on perceptions then we be will all over the place, and no one will be able to count on us. No one will be able to predict how we will react in any given situation because we become unstable in all our ways.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double‐minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5–8 ESV)
To live by our perceptions is to kill any chance we have of living by faith. Faith requires an absolute conviction that what we believe but cannot see is absolute truth. I cannot have faith that God will help me meet my needs if on one day I feel like God has abandoned me and on another day feel like He is right there in the trenches with me. That is instability based on being double‐minded.
My challenge in this series is to convince you that investing in transforming your mind will yield amazing short‐term and long‐term returns. I have some stiff competition—with a world that promises immediate emotional gratification, and no long‐term consequences. Let's have a go at it.
Have a good day,