Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have scrutinized the brains of my three children. My daughter spent two hours in an fMRI machine while they watched how her brain reacted when reading and doing puzzles. We have the images on CD which one day, my husband says, we must get printed, framed and hung on the wall.
The purpose of the study was to learn how the brains of children with dyslexia change when they read so advances can be made in teaching techniques.
Scientists used to believe the brain was fixed and hardwired—that the way you think could not be changed. Now they know the brain is like plastic meaning it has the ability to adapt. This is called neuroplasticity.
That’s good news, not only for people with dyslexia, but for all of us too.
It means we can change our negative thinking to positive thinking.
But, more than this, Caroline Leaf in her book Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health says: when we think negatively, the quality of the brain’s architecture suffers. Yet, when we think positively, the structure of the brain returns to normal.
Positive thinking is healthy thinking.
However, often I act as if I have no control over my reactions to circumstances and events. Something small happens, and I let fear and negativity flood my mind. It’s like my world is falling apart. I spend a few days on my own, and suddenly I’m the loneliest person in the whole world.
Or, I focus on my weaknesses rather than my strengths. I dwell on the things I can’t do rather than on what I can. I tell myself: “You can’t cook, Rachel, you’re hopeless at gardening, or anything practical around the house. What can you do?”
I tell myself lies. When my husband tells me I’m beautiful, I respond in my head with “no I’m not.”
Have you done the same? Please tell me yes, if not I’ll think myself a fool for being honest with you. You see how the negative thinking goes on? This is exactly what we need to stop.
Changing the way we think is not just a scientific truth; it is a spiritual reality too.
The Bible has many things to say about the mind:
Those who believe in Jesus are given new minds. There’s a positive thought to dwell on.
We are not in this battle alone against our negative thoughts, but we have God’s power in us to help and teach us to think positively and be at peace.
Minds controlled by the Holy Spirit are able to listen to God, and understand his word clearly.
Be encouraged. We have control over our negative thinking; the Spirit of God helps us to think clearly.
As I tore off yesterday’s Bible verse on my calendar, it revealed a new scripture for today. The words hit me between the eyes, God has a way of doing that. He said to me: I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.
Now, I could replace: “You’re on your own, Rachel” with, “I’m engraved on the palm of His hands.”
“You can’t do anything, Rachel” with“I’m engraved on the palm of His hands.”
“You’re not beautiful” with“I’m engraved on the palm of His hands.”
Every time a negative thought comes into my mind, I repeat God’s truth about me. And each time I have discovered a deep reassurance fills me.
I’ve taken that verse from my calendar and I’m keeping it somewhere where I constantly see it, to remind me how to think clearly.
Ask God to give you a truth from his Word that you can use to battle against your own negative thoughts.
1. Recognize your own negative thoughts.
2. Ask God’s Spirit to open your mind so you can think clearly.
3. Look for a truth from God’s Word.
4. Write it down and every time a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with the truth God speaks about you.