Hey, before we jump in, I wanted to let you know that I’ve put together a podcast road map, so to speak, where I’ve clumped different podcast episodes together based on topic. So if you were looking for episodes that have a focus on anger or faith or suffering, I’ve grouped those together so you could easily identify them and go straight to those for that specific content. Of course, some episodes will be cross-overs into another topic, but I’ve made it into a checklist so you can just check the ones off that you’ve listened to. And don’t forget there’s a work-alone guide for each episode. Well, most episodes. There’s still a gap I’m working on filling in. The link to get the road map is triciazody.com/roadmap and the link to get the guide is triciazody.com/guide. I’ll put both of those in the show notes.
Okay, today, I want to talk to you about something that has been part of every one of my conversations with my coaching clients this week. Because, I figured that if each of them needed some guidance on this, my listeners probably do, too. And that is how to take thoughts captive and re-write the code your brain is operating from.
First, let’s just start by defining what that means exactly. Taking thoughts captive refers to the practice of intentionally controlling our thought processes and bringing them in line with God's truth. The concept is based on 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." We are to identify lies – lie-based beliefs – and bring them into alignment with God’s truth. And then re-writing the code our brain is operating from.
Now, we also must understand WHY we must take thoughts captive and re-write code.
I think this analogy is a simple way to understand how our brain works. Our brain is like a computer and you, by your will - your determination, your decisions, your desires – you create code, or thoughts, that become the input data. Your brain is the computer and you are the data input processor. You get to “write code” for your brain to then generate results according to that code. Your thoughts are the code. Or, another way to think about it is, your thoughts are suggestions to your brain, which then begins creating or generating what you’ve suggested – to prove that message or suggestion true. So, when you say to yourself, “I’m so exhausted” you are suggesting to your brain – or writing code – for exhaustion. Your brain just does what you tell it to do. And you’ve just told it to generate exhaustion.
Another example would be, if you’re thinking thoughts like, “I’m not good enough,” then your brain is using the Reticular Activating System (The RAS – we’ve talked about that before) to look for evidence that the message “I’m not good enough” is true. And, man, that would be a miserable way to live. Right? We don’t want that. God doesn’t want that for you. That’s why He says in the Word to take captive your negative thoughts and instead think on things that are true, honorable, and right. Think on things that are pure, lovely, and admirable. Think on things that are excellent and worthy of praise (2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 4:8 respectively).
So, with our thoughts, we’re making suggestions to our brain every day. And we know that some of those thoughts are going to be negative. They’re going to be ones we don’t want our brains creating or generating results to prove those thoughts true. So that’s why we need to take those thoughts captive.
And finally, we need to know HOW to do this.
We need a very practical way to renew our minds and transform our lives, as Romans 12:2 says, "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."
And these are the steps you will take to renew your mind so that you are able to live in a way that honors God and frees you to walk in your God-given purpose; To walk in His will for your life.
Step one: notice the negative thought. This is becoming aware, becoming a student of yourself, so that you can identify when you’re entertaining a negative thought. It’s so interesting – when I first start working with someone, it takes some serious intention on their part to notice what kinds of things they’re thinking. It’s not easy. I think this is because we are all so busy and our lives are consumed with noise. Even when we’re alone, we tend to fill up the space with music or talk radio, or even podcasts. But we don’t spend enough time with silent air around us to even notice that we’re thinking thoughts all along the way. Listen, your brain never quits thinking thoughts. That’s because part of its job is to make sense of your world throughout the day. It formulates thoughts and then creates perceptions based on those thoughts. So, gone unchallenged, the negative thought will take root and become our belief. And from that we live. So, we just need to slow down and be intentional enough to take note: that was a negative thought.
Then, Step two: decide if what you’ve just suggested to your brain to create is what you want in your life. Again, a thought is a suggestion to your brain to create or generating something to prove it true. And you get to decide for yourself what you what to entertain and create in your life. You get to decide if you want to allow it to stay and take root or if you’re going to challenge it. You’re in control of your thoughts.
If you don’t like the end results, then Step three: Take that thought captive by saying something like, “No, I’m not going to believe that any longer.” Or “Nope, that’s not me anymore.”
And finally, step four: Say, “Instead, this is what I want to believe,” and let your brain know. Create new suggestions for new results for your brain to begin working on creating. That’s what it’s programed to do; to generate results based on the code input. So make sure the code you’re using is what you want to see playout in your life. This is the exciting part, to realize that you have so much more say-so in what your brain is ruminating on and the results it’s creating in your life. You are in control of your thoughts.
Friend, I want to remind you that all your life you will have all kinds of thoughts, and some of those are going to be negative. It’s the nature of having a human brain. But what you can do is challenge your thoughts quickly enough that you’re always reinforcing the new positive neural networks of thinking. This is what helps us to align our thoughts more and more with God's truth, renew our minds, and transform our lives. By being intentional about noticing when we have negative thoughts and taking those thoughts captive and re-writing the code, we can overcome negative thoughts and live in a way that honors God and allows us to walk in newness and freedom…so that we can be and do all that God has called us to.
Alright, I know this episode is quite a bit shorter, but I’ve gotta run and go hold my new grandbaby that’s here for a visit from Japan.
Okay, have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life.