We all have a core set of beliefs, which influences the way we process information, react to life circumstances, and interact in relationships with others. These beliefs are shaped by our experiences, environment, and the influences upon us, especially as a child, but throughout life as well.
While some of these beliefs are true, in that they are consistent with God’s truth (John 17:17), others are lies masquerading in age-old sayings, pop culture, and spun out from the Father of Lies (John 8:44). When our beliefs don’t line up with Scripture, our emotional and spiritual health are compromised. We will find ourselves in inner turmoil and external conflict with unsatisfying pursuits and unhealthy relationships.
Changing our thinking is really the only way to transform our living. We need to inventory our thoughts, uncover core lies and replace them with the truth (2 Corinthians 10:5). It takes discipline and time to form new patterns, but the result is the joy of experiencing life transformed (Romans 12:2).
The first step in a mental makeover is to identify core beliefs. Dr. Chris Thurman, author of “The Lies We Believe,” accomplishes this task through using a series of statements that reflect typical beliefs in order to assess your own beliefs. Below is a modified version of his inventory. Mark each statement according to your gut, not your head or what you think you should feel, ranking (5) Strongly Agree to (1) Strongly Disagree. Avoid using 3 as an answer.
______ If it feels right, then it must be what I should do.
______ The destination is more important than the journey.
______ I can only feel good about myself if I do it perfectly.
______ If I can’t win, why bother?
______ I hate it when everyone isn’t happy with me.
______ I won’t move ahead unless I know they’ll like it.
______ If only they would change, I know I would be happier.
______ Based on my past, nothing will change.
______ I am the way I am.
______ Things never work out for me.
______ I won’t be happy unless they do it my way.
______ I know it is always my fault, even if they don’t say so.
______ Why doesn’t anyone ever consider me?
______ People never thank me for what I do for them.
______ If only they would take better care of me.
______ A person should have it all, no matter what.
______ I don’t think you should have to wait for what you want.
______ How well I do something really determines how good I feel about myself.
______ God’s love must be earned.
______ Life should be fair.
______ Life is supposed to be relatively easy.
______ People are basically good.
______ God should always be fair.
______ Relationships should meet my emotional needs.
______ I’d be happier if they acted more like me.
______ If there is conflict in a relationship, then it isn’t meant to be.
______ I need to be sure this will work before I…
______ It is just so hard to trust anyone.
______ I know exactly how this is going to turn out.
______ People like that will always disappoint me.
______ All my problems are caused by my sins.
______ God should protect me from all pain and suffering.
______ Some people are favored by God over others.
______ God doesn’t have time for my problems.
______ I don’t feel good enough to go to God on my own.
______ A good Christian doesn’t get angry, anxious, or depressed.
______ I tend to either over-generalize or exaggerate things.
______ I either magnify or minimize the importance of things.
Highlight any statement over 4. These statements that you agree with the most reflect core lies. The higher the number, the more deeply rooted it is in your thinking. You’ll need to start with focusing on these lies first, changing your thinking to line up with Biblical truth.