Revive Your Mind – Quit Blaming

When in Doubt, Project Blame

I work with people who have anger management issues. When someone starts a sentence with My wife…, My husband…, My boss.., or My mama…, I smile and wait. Then Ill say, Wow. So you have absolutely zero control over your emotions? Are you being completely controlled by external circumstances? People, aliens, the government, the president, the economy, your congressman, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, your mom, your dadit is all their fault?

The next automatic negative thought or stinking thinking trap is Them, Them, Thembelieving that other people or circumstances are the causes of every problem you encounter. Jesus had something to say about this. This particular one has been around since Adam and Eve messed things up in the garden of Eden. When God confronted Adam about his disobedience, he immediately blamed Eve. I do not know about you, but some people working as therapist make a pretty good living helping people find a way to blame other for their current condition. FYI, I am not one of those folks.

Sometimes we avoid dealing with our own stuff by evaluating and criticizing others. Jesus instructs us to look at our imperfections before we censor and condemn the faults in others.

My wife has a business that she really enjoys. She is with Premier Designs Jewelry, a home-based business that allows here flexibility to be a grandmother, wife, and friend. It has been a lifesaver for her because it has had a positive impact emotionally, mentally, and financially to our family. By working her business, she has courageously pushed back the negatives from her early family life. Her self-esteem, love for God, and her leadership skills have grown. I am so proud of what she is done. She works hard. She has a dream. She is a leader. She encourages other women to have a dream and to move beyond their past hurts.

In the direct-selling business lots of people get into a business, and they get excited, at first. They want to make a success in business. They ask a few people to have a home show or to invite people over for a party and nobody shows up, or maybe their spouse isnt supportive, so they decide to quit after a few negative responses. If asked why they dropped out, they typically say, Well, none of my friends will buy. Or nobody will do this or that. People are against me. The culture is against me. The economy is against me.

They find an external source to blame for failure. Weve become a society of professional complainers and blamers. If we find the right person to blame, we feel justified in blaming people for our problems. If you believe that other people or circumstances are the causes of every problem you encounter, then you need to look inward. That is right. Take that journey inside and ask yourself this critical question: How did I contribute to this?

If your life is not going well, then you need to determine what you have done to contribute to the situation. If you have problems with personal boundaries, then lack of boundaries contributes to other people taking advantage of you. If you never stand up for yourself, then your reticence contributes to your lack of success. If you do not do your job, then your boss may reprimand you or terminate your job. Look inward and discover how you contribute to the problem, and then begin to take some positive steps to stop.


There is good news in all of this, you have the power to change the way you think. The Apostle Paul writes, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT

Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind 3

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(c) 2013 John Thurman – Chalk Talk
Get Unstuck
By John Thurman

I shot this image a little over a year ago at a Living Free Service at Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Pastor Rick Bosh had just finished a message and he invited all of those who were attending to some write down some places where they were stuck? It was a powerful time, there was silence in a room for around 800 people with only the occasion sniffle of sadness or joy or the sharp and loud slaps of a man hug.

Do you ever feel stuck? Do some of your old thinking styles trip your up? Reviving your mind is tough work, but it leads to great rewards.

As we look at these styles, let’s review where some of our struggles originate.

What we believe is partially determined by the programming we absorb from our early childhood to the present. Our parents, siblings, peers, teachers, faith group, significant others, books, TV, and so on, all contribute to our perceptions about the world and ourselves. As mentioned in the introduction, there are two basic mindsets people deal with the “fixed mindset” and the “growth mindset.”

If a person is in a fixed mindset and something bad or negative occurs, the following things happen. He or she tends to think:

·      It is personal (it is all my fault)

·      It is permanent (it cannot be changed)

·      It is pervasive (it will affect everything)

Mind Reading

In Genesis chapters 11-25, one of the best-known couples in the Bible, Abraham and Sarah, serve as reminders of what happens when we presume to know God’s plans, and the plans of others. This couple often strayed from God’s will. Early on they gave into fear, dishonesty, and manipulation as they dealt with others. At times, they wrongly presumed to know God’s mind and plans before He had revealed them and then foolishly attempted to assist Him.

The good news is, over time Abraham, and Sarah got the lesson. They learned that a fresh start is always possible. They also learned that the fulfillment of God’s promises does not depend upon our performance, but rather on His grace. Finally, they learned it is dangerous to try to read God’s mind and to move ahead without first seeking His direction.

This mind-reading trap assumes that you know what the other person is thinking or expecting, or that you expect another person to understand fully what you are thinking.

 Mind reading often happens when we know or think we know the other persons well. After forty years of being married to my wife, she is learned she cannot always read my mind.

The way to avoid the trap of assuming you know what another person is thinking is to ask questions. Getting answers is the easiest way to see if what you are thinking matches what the other person is thinking. It takes courage, but it can work.

Here are a few questions to ask:

·      Did I express myself?

·      Did I ask for information and clarification?

·      Am I sure the other person is not holding anything back in fear of my reaction?


Feel free to leave a comment.
(c) 2014 John Thurman

Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind 2


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(c) 2014 John Thurman – Feeling beat up after climbing to the top of Nimrod’s Fortress in the Golan
Go for a Growth Mindset

by John Thurman
Have you ever had a season in your life when you felt like the biggest loser in the world. I know I have pulled more than a few “no brainers” in my life. While I am not the brightest build on the Christmas tree, I am learning new ways to psi against the “Six Big Stinking Thinking Patters.”

One of the principles for reviving your mind is personal responsibility and agency, which simply means you are an active player in your individual recovery. It is important for us to focus on responsibility and to be forward-looking. Seeing ourselves as perpetual victims of childhood or adult trauma tends to make us a prisoner of the past and gnaws at our sense of responsibility. All successful counseling has two things in common: It is forward-looking, and it requires assuming personal responsibility.

A person with a growth mindset begins in a different place. When you have a growth mindset, you see yourself and others as more flexible, adaptable, and hopeful. Way down inside, you see the potential for growth and development. With the right motivation, effort, moral compass, and concentration you believe you can become better at almost anything. A person who has a growth mindset does not take failure so personally. That individual tends to see failure as an opportunity for growth. If one path does not work, then the person will try another.

As a Christian therapist, I believe that the Bible continually teaches the benefit of being growth-minded. I believe God is active in time, space, and history and that He has an active, life-fulfilling purpose for each of us. The Bible gives us truth, hope, and stories of those who have gone before us and have found such meaning.

From my struggle with depression, I know that working toward a growth mindset in the middle of depression may seem close to impossible. However, the truth found in the Bible is, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT). This confidence is not some magical incantation or mystical, spiritual event, but it is a process or a journey.

In the next few posts, you and I will begin our journey of understanding these negative approaches and taking strategic, kinetic steps to replace these with more productive thinking styles.

I am very grateful for the work of Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, I highly recommend her materials for your reading plan. 


(c) 2014 John Thurman

Renew Your Vision, Revive Your Mind 

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Revive Your Mind: It is Cheaper Than Therapy
by John Thurman

Your future is not defined by your past. Your thoughts can change, and consequently, so can your future. Stinking thinking corrupts your brain and triggers harmful neurochemicals and dangerous mental states such as anxiety, anger, and depression. One of the proven ways to revive your mind is to get a grip on your “stinking thinking” styles and make the necessary adjustments. Unless you are willing to do some constructive re-engineering, your thinking becomes automatic, impulsive, and often wrong by bending, deleting, distorting, and exaggerating the truth. Over the next few posts, I will show you the secrets to renewing your mind. 

The first shift is to move into a “growth mindset.” Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, spent her life researching the origins of mindsets, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes. Her findings give us two options, a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The Bible contains numerous other passages that deal with managing our thoughts. For starters, I’d suggest reading the New Testament book of James 1:1-8

A fixed mindset is one in which you believe you are born with a changeless set of talents, abilities, and intelligence—all of which are unchangeable. Some people with a fixed mindset may find it more difficult to experience life change and growth. As a result, a fixed-mindset person fails to develop his potential and is more likely to give up or become distracted and feel depressed when he fails to make the grade in his own eyes.

One of the ways to engage these thoughts is to give you some descriptions of how stinking thinking works. Knowing that, you will be able to push back the lies and replace them with the truth.

Stinking thinking traps undermine mental toughness and performance and lead to an inaccurate understanding of the situation. You can use some of these critical questions I’m going to talk about in these thinking traps to help you clarify a situation. In the following blogs,  we’ll talk about developing resistance, resilience, and getting stronger.

In the next few days you will begin to revive your mind with the new truths that you are beginning to implement. Let me know how you are doing.

To learn more about the “Stinking Thinking Traps,” read Chapter 4 of Get a Grip on Depression.
It may also be ordered through Amazon


(c) 2014 John Thurman