I haven’t posted anything in quite a few days. I’ve been processing a lot of thoughts during this sabbatical, and hopefully changing a lot of my subconscious thought patterns. I’ve realized that there are things that we know (intellectually, consciously), that we haven’t actually internalized as part of our being (emotionally, spiritually).
Here is an example. “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” are lyrics from the song Jesus Loves Me. Intellectually, I have known this statement my whole life…I sang it from the time I could speak. But when did I know this to be true? When did it become part of my being/heart? When did I start feeling this security that Jesus loves me unconditionally? This love is part of my being now, and I daily experience the freedom and peace that comes with it. However, it didn’t move from my head to my heart in one instant. I think there are many “Christians” out there that still haven’t completely internalized the love of Jesus. There are a lot of subconscious barriers that can keep us from understanding and internalizing this love. For example, some of us were not raised to understand unconditional love in our home environments. If you are “good” at home, behave well, do well at school, sit quietly, and so on, then you get positive loving results from your parents and teachers. However, if you do not perform these tasks well, you get negative, or sometimes angry, results from those caretakers. In a young, developing mind, a child can quickly internalize this unwritten “rule” that one must be good to be loved. But this is not true when it comes to our Heavenly Father. He loves us unconditionally, in a way that our human minds struggle to understand – in a way where nothing we do WELL can make Him love us more and nothing we do WRONG can make Him love us less. Seems too good to be true, huh? Learning and internalizing this unconditional love changed my life and my perception of our God.
There are other thought patterns that I am currently re-learning during this sabbatical. I’ve had many negative, subconscious thought patterns, and some of them were buried very deeply. I believe that only this period where I have completely removed the responsibility associated with work/career/job could expose some of these patterns. Here are some of the “lies” that I subconsciously internalized along the way:
- If I make a mistake, I am a mistake (or a failure)
- If my house is messy, I am a messy person
- If I am not working, I am a lazy person
- If I don’t have a job, I am not valuable
I did not consciously think or tell myself these things, but these lies lurking below the surface triggered certain reactions and behaviors on my part. I believed these things in my heart because of unhealthy patterns that I internalized along the way. And now I must re-train myself in a healthy direction:
- I will make mistakes, and I can apologize and move on
- If my house is messy, it’s because I focused my attention on people instead of tasks today
- It’s okay that I’m not working today
- I am valuable, just for being me
I don’t have all the answers. I’m still working on changing negative patterns into healthy, positive ones. A lot of these things are still only known in my head, and I cannot get my heart to understand and internalize them.
You may struggle with different lies and subconscious thought patterns; these may be the easy ones for you. But I believe it’s worth the time to figure out what is driving our actions and behaviors. Because at the root of all of our anxiety is some type of fear, which was probably created by a lie that was internalized along the way.