In all the years of doing what I do, helping people become who they actually are, the single most powerful concept I teach is “taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ,” and “being transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And ultimately in 2 Cor. 5:17, we are told, “we are new creations.”
But in my own experience, I found that it wasn’t automatic. In other words, just because I became a believer, it didn’t automatically and magically transform me into someone new. That would involve my thought life, what I believed, and basically, the stories I told myself. Because for many years I told myself a lot of things:
- I am a loser
- I will never make anything out of myself
- Others can do it but I can’t
- I am excluded
- I am an idiot
- I am afraid
- I am unqualified
- I can’t …
- I’ll never….
- On and on and on
Not only this, but the evidence of my life seem to validate my beliefs.
- I was a drunk
- I didn’t go to college
- I was a failure
- I had nothing to show for my life
- I had no experience in anything
- I wasn’t good at anything
- I wasn’t qualified for anything
- On and on and on
The reality was, God always had a plan for my life, I just needed to get in on it. Once I started to take my thoughts captive, eradicate the childhood scripts in my heart, start being transformed by renewing my mind, and begin believing what God said about me, more than the stories I had kept telling myself, (and what the devil had likewise convinced me I was)… which was all I listed above.
In my 30’s I had a failed marriage, had and lost money, but finally stopped drinking and drugging, and given my life to God. I started following Him, though I initially disqualified myself with Him too, but by allowing the Truth to replace the lies I had been believing, I started to become who I was meant to be. It wasn’t too late. I joined a great mission to the poor in NYC, where I remained for 27 years, got ordained as a pastor, was a staff pastor and missions pastor in a church, got married, had kids, all the stuff I had believed I was exempt from due to all the stories I had told myself.
God had a story too. Here is a part of it: Jeremiah 29 (The Message)
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.
I’ll turn things around for you.”
I traded my own story for His. I am not any different than anyone else. At any time you decide to get in on God’s plan for you, He will welcome you home in His heart, and His plan can be activated in your life too. Now my story is re-written to reflect the truth, and not the erroneous stories I once believed.