The essential question isn’t difficult to state: How can I, a person who has absorbed so many years of mediocre thinking, change? How can I, like a caterpillar, move from squirming in the dirt to enjoying the sweet nectar in God’s creation? As in the caterpillar’s case, a radical metamorphosis must occur. It is a process that will be difficult, demanding, and lengthy—but, oh, how sweet the results! If you are really serious about conquering mediocrity (which, remember, starts in the mind), then I have three words to offer—memorize, personalize, and analyze.
Memorize. In order for old defeating thoughts to be invaded, conquered, and replaced by new, victorious ones, a process of reconstruction must transpire. The best place I know to begin this process of mental cleansing is with the all-important discipline of memorizing Scripture. I realize it doesn’t sound very sophisticated or intellectual, but God’s Book is full of powerful ammunition! And dislodging negative and demoralizing thoughts requires aggressive action. I sometimes refer to it as a mental assault.
Personalize. Here’s where the excitement intensifies. As you begin the process of replacing old, negative thoughts with new and encouraging ones, put yourself into the pages of the Bible. Use I, me, my, mine as you come across meaningful statements.
Analyze. Instead of continuing to tell yourself you are little more than a helpless victim, take charge! As soon as you catch yourself responding negatively or defensively, think—analyze the situation. Then ask yourself a few tough questions. ‘Why am I getting so hot and bothered by this?’ Or ‘Is there something I’m afraid of?’ Or, maybe, ‘Am I reacting negatively because I have a reason or simply because I’ve formed some bad habits?’
Maybe the challenge to memorize, personalize, and analyze seems too simplistic to you. Perhaps you expected something else. You really expected some high-powered ‘secret’ to success. No, I have no quick’n easy secret, no overnight-success pill you can take. Perhaps the best single-word picture is visualize. Mentally visualize being on a higher plane. Then once you ‘see it,’ begin to believe it and behave like it!
Excerpted from Dear Graduate: Letters of Wisdom from Charles R. Swindoll, Copyright 2007 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.