Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs

Dutchess is a beautiful Christian and describes herself this way:
I am a woman on a mission to bring glory to God in everything she does. I am far from “there yet,” and I stumble and fall more than I would like. Yet,I continue to press on.

I have spent most of my professional career as a mentor, coach, advisor, and instructor to college students as a higher education administrator and adjunct professor. I have also spent time as a behavioral counselor and as executive director of a non-profit ministry.

My formal credentials include a B.S. in Psychology, an M.S. in Sport Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Education. But most importantly, I am a woman who desires to love God and love people – and who wants to make a difference in the lives of others. Life is short, and I want to live mine in a way that matters for Christ – and for eternity. This blog is a small piece of that puzzle.

Go with me back to 1954. Up until this point, no human being in recorded history had ever run a mile in less than 4 minutes. In fact, many believed that it was impossible. But in 1954, a man named Roger Bannister just that – the seemingly impossible. He ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Within 46 days, this record was broken. This thing that everyone thought was impossible was clearly, very possible.

And you know what happened? Others started clocking miles at under 4 minutes. Since Roger Bannister’s record breaking run, well over a thousand others have done the same. So what was going on here? How is it that once Bannister shattered the myth, others began to do what once seemed impossible for all?

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I believe it’s because of a little thing called self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs are exactly what they sound like – thoughts or beliefs that limit us. They cause us to create boxes that we don’t step out of – and barriers that we neither move over or around. They keep us locked in self-defeating, sabotaging patterns and cycles. In short, self-limiting beliefs keep us stuck. But they don’t have to.

The truth of the matter is that we are capable of more than we think we are. But we can’t just say that. We have to believe it. So here’s my question – do you? I mean, do you really believe it – and does your life reflect it? Or, is it possible that self-limiting beliefs are keeping you from fully embracing the truth? And if so, how do you overcome this?

I’m glad you asked. We could go to many places in Scripture for an answer, but I love what Romans 12:2 says about the matter:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and
acceptable and perfect.”

If we are to be transformed, we must experience minds that have been renewed. We must develop new ways of thinking. Because here’s the thing – everything you’ve ever done started as a thought. Everything. No matter what it is, good, bad, or in between, we think it before we do it. So what we think about matters.

Have you ever been in a store, and a song was playing over the speakers, and it wasn’t even a song you particularly liked, yet later that day you found yourself singing that song? That’s because our minds are like sponges – soaking up whatever is in the atmosphere we place ourselves in. So, we must be careful to place ourselves in the right atmospheres – around the right people.

So, we overcome self-limiting beliefs by renewing our minds. We renew our minds by flooding them with the truth. The truth of Scripture. The truth that we find in positive environments – around positive people. If we’re consistently putting the right things into our minds, the truth about who we are, the truth about who God is – then, in time, our thinking will change and (hopefully) our self-limiting beliefs will begin to subside. But I have news for you. This isn’t enough.

Taking in positive, accurate information isn’t enough. At the end of the day, we must challenge our beliefs by testing them to see if they’re really true. In other words, we have to get out there and try. We actually have to do the seemingly impossible, to see if it really is impossible.

What if Roger Bannister had never even tried to run a mile in under 4 minutes? We might still be sitting around thinking it’s impossible. But we now know it’s very possible because someone actually tried. And that’s what we must do. Try. Put your life to the test. Give it your all and see what happens. Like the man with the withered hand, we must stretch it out even though it feels impossible, and we’ve never done it before. Like the lame man, even though we can’t walk, we must pick up our mats and walk. Like the priests crossing the Jordan River while carrying the ark, we’ve got to go ahead and put our foot in the water in order walk across to the other side.

So how about you? What self-limiting beliefs are keeping you bound? What lies might you be holding onto – either consciously or unconsciously? It’s time to break free. It’s time to move forward. It’s time to do away with the self-limiting beliefs. Are you in?

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