Bending Your Mind to Belief
by Julia Shalom Jordan
It’s been an interesting year of stretching myself as I was called to mentor Amanda, a mother of two who struggles with addiction. The situation is a bit over-whelming because although I have plenty of issues, addiction doesn’t happen to be one of them.
Through this experience God is teaching me to not shoulder burdens that aren’t mine and to establish proper boundaries. (Thanks for the prayers and tips, Lauren and Morgan!) As I walk alongside Amanda’s pain, reminding myself not to take on the role of healer but turn her towards The Healer; His Spirit pours wisdom, encouragement and tough love as needed.
Lifestreams is my happy place; it’s where I receive inspiration, encouragement and refreshment. Of course, our fall Lifestreams Regional Event did just that. Steve Backlund shared so many nuggets of wisdom my slow hand couldn’t write fast enough! I wanted to enjoy Steve’s humor and encouragement, (sans finger cramps!) and eventually, I got real about my ‘note skills’ painfully resolving my bad memory would have to suffice.
Until I noticed…Lori Obregon.
I was fortunate enough to sit behind this note-taking angel (Lori types faster than a court stenographer—high on Starbucks!) Feeling a touch of guilt, I asked if she would share her notes (I might be lazy…but I’m no fool).
Come Monday, during my devotional time, I asked the Lord if there was anything from Mr. Backlund’s teaching He wished to highlight. I sat there, tucked in my favorite chair, mug of tea in hand, worship music softly bellowing in the background…anticipating God’s answer. I waited. And waited. But…nothing. (Ah, the joys of being in a relationship with someone you can’t control!)
I began to wrestle thoughts of tossing in a load of laundry (just to multi-task while God was working on His answer). Then gently, in my mind’s eye, I saw Amanda, the beautiful woman with a shattered identity, struggling with walking out her freedom in Christ.
My mind drifted back to a phone conversation we had a few days before.
“God, forgive me! Please…help me! I need your help…again.” Amanda cried in sincere repentance.
“Oh, Abba is SO PROUD you gave back your heart to Him!” I happily cheered. Because…gosh darn it, encouraging people is how I roll.
But Amanda did not respond. There was no joy. No relief. Just silence on the other end. I tried mustering some ‘feel good’ verses but nothing penetrated Amanda’s deeply rooted shame.
“Jules, I’ve been down this road. Countless. Times. Before. What makes this time different from the others?”
Amanda was fighting major unbelief. I did what I could, praying over her weary heart, pulling out every ‘Christian’ tactic I knew; binding, loosing and casting out oppression but, it felt like an endless night of…nothing.
Then came that uncomfortable ‘nudge’. It was the Lord wanting me to speak up…to say…that hard thing. (Ugh. I hate it when He does that!)
“Amanda…you’re God’s treasure. Because He wants the very best for you, when He says something, you’ve got to obey. He’s been talking but you’ve…been ignoring. Breakthrough never happens when we keep choosing our way.”
Amanda mumbled a shame-filled agreement, curtly ending the call; and I was left to feel like the kind of jerk who kicks one-legged puppies…
When I committed to serving God, I didn’t imagine His work entailed me telling people stuff they didn’t want to hear! I was totally down with giving heaven’s encouraging words! But…this? Was I even making a difference? Was this wasting my time?
In my experience, I’ve learned God’s truth is not always encouraging but…for real growth and lasting change, it’s totally necessary. Perhaps my need to please (or to be a pleasing person) is preventing my full effectiveness for His kingdom. (Ugh. Now that’s some hard truth…)
I glance down at my copious notes from Lori. Then I hear the Lord. Not in an audible voice—but through a pressing, bubbling excitement.
“Personalize those notes so Amanda has an understanding of renewing her mind. Give her a framework for doing that.”
“Brilliant! Steve shared some major wisdom-- I’ll just do the old ‘Backlund pass’!”
So, I did…because when God puts something on your heart, I’m learning it’s better (for everybody) to just obey. In helping Amanda, I’ve come to realize that I too, struggle with addiction. Mine just happens to be the ‘people-pleasing’ kind. As I stretch myself, helping Amanda with her needs, the Lord is (ironically) providing for me through that stretching. Who wouldn’t want to serve a God like that?!
In case you’re interested, here are the notes I personalized for Amanda:
AMANDA, you call yourself a BELIEVER. This means, when you hear the good news, you BELIEVE it!
*Do you know that your past does not have the power to block you but…your current beliefs do?
*Do you know that God is releasing a long-term thinker in you? (Long-term thinkers have a healthy vision for their future).
*Do you know whoever has the most hope has the most influence?
*Do you know God loves to partner with unreasonably optimistic people?
*Do you know that transformation comes when we surrender our beliefs and give them to God?
*Do you know that being conduct focused leaves you spinning your wheels and that staying free happens by believing like Jesus?
*Do you believe your words are powerful? (Proverbs 18:21)
STOP SAYING: "I’m tired. I don’t have much to offer. I’m poor. I’m not a good mom.”
DO THIS INSTEAD: Bend your mind to believe, think, talk, and act higher than the environments you’re in. (You were called to be a thermostat—a person who sets the room temperature. You were not meant to be a thermometer—something that reflects what already is!)
Empower YOURSELF by declaring: “I am a high-level influencer of my family and my future.” (Does an apple have to grow before you call that tree an apple tree?) Identity comes from what you’re created to do.
If you don’t say it, it will probably never happen because there is GREAT power in our declarations.
*DON’T SAY: “My family’s future is doomed because of my past mistakes.”
*SAY: “God is moving in our home because He is my Redeemer.”
The enemy’s channel is: “I’m a failure, it’s too late, I’m too old.”
Change the channel to: “I’m a great leader, I’m a loving mother!”
If the channel you hear does not empower you to grow and conquer, change that channel!
* Speak God’s promises out loud; it gives God something to work with!
*Saying something is necessary to having something. Where do you want to be in 5 years? You’ve got to say something to get there (because without a vision people perish).
Read More of Steve's great truths
Here are 5 ways to NOT have your children trust you.
1. Use others to reach your goals instead of valuing the dreams of others.
2. Focus on your image (by being a perfectionist, reckless, volatile & unkind.)
3. Never admit your mistakes (It’s much better to say: “I was wrong, I am sorry, please forgive me and I have a plan not to do that again…”)
4. Don’t follow through on what you say you will do. Saying what your committed to & following through are crucial for belief in yourself for others to trust you.
5. Don’t look for or help develop the gifts in others. Biblical leadership is: Being OTHERS focused instead of SELF focused. It is serving, equipping, and taking limitations off of people. I will serve the dreams of my children by listening and asking great questions. I will ask, “How is God speaking to you today? Or, “How can I help you with that?”
DECLARE OVER YOURSELF:
*I am being healed of disappointment & fear of disappointment. (I am becoming hope-filled with occasional disappointments!)
* I take risks and believe in God’s plans for my children and look for ways to steward their growth.
* Dysfunctional parents deal with things when they’re mad; I am a functional parent. I decide ahead of time the wisest time to deal with things.
* Who will my children become because of the seeds I sow in them today?
*Empowering my children launches them into success.
*My kids can tell when I actually believe in them and when I’m committed to their total well-being.
*Unconditional love is risky but it’s what Believers are called and equipped to do.
* Empowerment is a culture of HONEST feedback. I will Be willing to take and receive wisdom for growth. (Feedback that comes out of concern not control.)
*I cannot consistently do what I don’t believe I am. (If I BELIEVE I’m a drug addict—I will SIN by FAITH!)
* God wants me to see myself prophetically. My future looks nothing like my current state.
* I will create a culture of empowerment in my home; I will help my kids see what God sees in them.
*I will celebrate progress, not perfection (in myself & others!)
*The Lord believes in me MORE than I believe in myself.
You’re one belief away from a tipping point in the right direction!
*God is Delivering me from pessimism over yourself.
*God is Delivering me from being addicted to anything other than HIM.
*The gates of hell will not prevail against His future for me.
*I am a key player in world-wide revival, starting with my own household.
*I will do things I never thought I could.
*I am entering a season of great breakthrough!