Not too many years past, a marketing campaign proclaimed, “You are what you eat.” The premise being that the food choices we make have a profound impact on our physical bodies and dictate to a large extent the quality of our health and well-being. I wouldn’t argue with that mindset.
Making an effort to eat healthy food can and does play an important role in the quality of our health, just as physical exercise can increase stamina, strength, and physical dexterity. As the book of Timothy points out, care of our physical body does have merit.
“For physical training is of some value…” (I Timothy 4:8, Amp).
Taking care of our bodies by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise is profitable. We need healthy bodies to carry out our callings in this life and run the race to which we have been assigned.
But such endeavors are, to some extent, limited. What we eat has a direct impact on the quality of our physical health…but our physical health is only a temporary aspect of our human nature. It has no long-term, eternal value.
Who we are, who we really are…is a much deeper issue than flash and blood. Made in the image of God, our physical body is but a covering for our inner self or spirit. It is the vehicle we have been given in this life that allows us to express ourselves in human form.
We take care of our bodies because it is a gift from God that allows us to express our spiritual selves in a carnal world. Such efforts have merit but fall far short of the value of cultivating our inner spiritual self.
Expanding on Paul’s admonishment in the book of Timothy, “For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds a promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” (Timothy 4:8, Amp.).
While care of our physical body brings benefit, such benefit is only applicable to our temporary status as “aliens and strangers and exiles,” on the earth (I Peter 2:11, Amp). We are, as Christ declared, “not of the world (belonging to the world)” just as Christ was not of the world. (John 17: 16, Amp).
Our calling, as believers, is that of an ambassador charged with the ministry of reconciliation “so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:20, Amp.). In short, we are so much more than our physical bodies!
What we eat may impact the quality of our flesh, but it does not make us who we are.
Who we are and what we become is a function of what we think and what we believe. If you really want to know what a person is made of, you must first know their thoughts.
As expressed by Solomon in the book of Proverbs, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, Amp.). In other words, regardless of the outward appearance or behavior, the true indicant of a man or woman’s true nature lies in what they believe…what they think.
If you think it, you will become it. You are what you think.
Often, clients come into the therapy room because some action or behavior in themselves or someone else is causing distress or discord in their life. They imagine the removal of the behavior will relieve their distress.
If only my husband would just stop drinking.
If my wife would just be less critical.
If we could just communicate better, then our marriage would be less conflicted.
And while these concerns are absolutely important and need to be addressed, if all we did were attempt to alleviate poor, lacking, or troublesome behavior, we would only be promoting a temporary reprieve which would eventually revert back to its original state.
You can’t fix an internal problem with an external solution.
While the alleviation of the external behavior might bring some relief, a more thorough plan is to identify the thinking, beliefs, and perceptions underlying the troubling behavior. Change the belief, change the perception, change the thought, and everything downstream comes into alignment with the new way of thinking.
Change the way you think about a situation, and you change the way you interact with the situation.
To a large extent, therapy is a process through which we develop a new way of thinking that becomes a new way of being with ourselves and others. Change the thought, and you change the outcome.
It is no accident that a significant portion of God’s Word is dedicated to instructions about our thought life. Right thinking (rightly aligned thinking) tends to promote right actions. If we choose to bring our thought life into alignment with God’s Word, our outcomes, in all areas of our life, will improve.
But to make better choices about what we choose to believe, think and focus on, we must first know what God’s Word says. It’s hard to change something if we don’t have a direction, idea, or mind picture/image of the change we want to achieve.
Paint the picture, and you will live into it.
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul makes a point of telling the congregation in Rome to “make a decisive dedication” of themselves to God. (Romans 12:1-2, Amp.). He continued his admonishment by instructing them not to fashion or adapt themselves to the world but to instead “be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude] so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.“
He didn’t tell them that God would miraculously alter their mindsets or behaviors…he told them it was their responsibility to bring their thoughts into alignment with God’s thoughts. If you think differently, you will be different. If you embrace God’s ways and God’s nature, you will become a reflection of His attributes, character, and nature.
God’s ways are not a secret, nor is the process of developing a new way of thinking. In Philippines 4:8, we are given a sizable list of things to think about. “…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence, and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” If we direct our minds, our thinking in uplifting, encouraging, empowering, and wise ways, our beliefs, perceptions, and thought patterns will become reflections of our chosen focus.
It is a powerful moment when we realize the process of change is directly related to our willingness to harness our thought life and bring it into alignment with God’s Word. It is exciting to know that a significant amount of the difficulties and distresses we are currently experiencing can be altered by shifting or embracing a new way of thinking.
Today is a great time to begin to reevaluate your thought life and make a decisive dedication of yourself to God. Choose to become better acquainted and come into agreement with God and God’s Word. The benefits in this life are limitless and eternal.
Remember…We are what we think.
We have the ability to direct our thoughts and change our outcomes.
“Brethren, do not be children [immature] in your thinking; continue to be babes in [matters of] evil, but in your minds be mature…“
(I Corinthians 14:20, Amp.).
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Walters or would like to begin your journey to a new way of thinking and being, you can call her direct at 317-760-6004. Dr. Walters is available in-person, online, and by phone. Schedule your new client consultation today!
Dr. Teres M. Walters Ed.D, MAMFT, LMFT, LAC, DTM
Chrysalis Connections, LLC
The Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast
618 E. Second Street
Madison, IN 47250