Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. — Romans 12:2

The stories we tell ourselves all too often become self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s almost as if we are internally convinced that what we have experienced and how we got to where we are, will determine where we end up. The Bible, however, is filled with redemptive stories of people whose personal stories changed midstream…mid-course… mid-life, because of an encounter with God. An encounter with grace. An encounter that empowered them to reject the internal narrative that had played over and over in their minds and left them stuck in their past.

Think about it…Abraham thought he was too old. Jeremiah thought he was too young. Moses thought he was unqualified because he had taken the life of an Egyptian and all he had was a stick and a stutter. Joseph thought he was overqualified. David thought he was a moral failure. Gideon had a serious inferiority complex. Jonah had a superiority complex. Peter made too many mistakes. Paul consented to murder and had a thorn in the flesh.  Yet ALL these characters encountered grace and didn’t allow their past, their issues, their labels, their mistakes, their failures, their experiences to determine their destiny. The story they told themselves changed because they met the God who is a master at changing our stories; the story that constantly plays in our minds.

The stories we tell ourselves create well-worn pathways in our brains, like deep grooves in vinyl similar to what we used to call “records” or “albums.”  Once the record player needle falls into a groove, it plays the same old song, or story, until it is finished.  When we have an encounter with grace things change.  Grace smooths out all the grooves so the needle can no longer play the same old tune. As we encounter His love, absorb His Word, and hear His voice, new grooves are produced and a new song is played in our minds. The chief battleground.

Romans 12:2 states, “we ARE transformed by the renewing of our mind,” where renewing literally means a “renovation, to remove the old in order to build the new, a complete change, to make new.”  When we, like the heroes in the scripture, refuse to play the same old song/story in our minds and choose to embrace what He says about us, change begins. Change continues when the story we tell ourselves, is no longer based on what we have done, but on what He has done for us.

Exercise: Pause and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. How is He ‘renovating’ your thought life?  What does He need to remove so He can give you a new story? Are you able to embrace these Biblical realities?

— I am child of God.

— I have been justified.

— I have been bought with a price.

— I am redeemed and all my sins are forgiven.

— I am complete (made whole) in Christ.

— I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.

— I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

— I am a member of Christ’s body.

— I have been adopted as His child.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit I invite you to come and change the story I keep telling myself. Come and smooth out, by your grace, all the mountains and valleys, the grooves, that play the same old tune when certain things happen to me. Please help me to renovate my thinking, to embrace what You say, so I can experience true transformation. I embrace your story for my life.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:18-19