Eric, me, our three kids, and significant others took up an entire row at our church Tuesday night. The sanctuary was full of excitement. What would cause people to rush into a church on a week night at six in the evening? As I was asking myself the same question, in walked the answer; an exact Christian replica of Elf played by Will Ferrell. He stood in front of us with a huge watermelon sliced grin and introduced himself as a belief coach. He talked to us about the power of our confessions, with childlike innocence that could believe for the moon and stars. His smile and joyful countenance was so genuine it affected the whole audience with exuberant laughter. Watching him talk about life in such a new and positive light made you simply happy your alive.
He explained when people come to him with addictions and problems he doesn’t reprimand them but asks them what are they believing. He teaches people to search out their core beliefs about certain subjects in their lives, and how to replace the negative beliefs with positive ones. The great thing about him being a Christian is he taught scriptures to back up our new beliefs about ourselves. Aligning our beliefs with truth leads to a powerful outcome.
So what is a belief?
A belief is a strong feeling of certainty. Beliefs define who we are and what we are capable of. They have awesome power to shape our destiny. The strength of our beliefs comes from our references or experiences, what others tell us repeatedly as well as what we keep telling ourselves. Like thoughts, beliefs are positive or negative. They are constructive or destructive. And yet most of our beliefs are not chosen by us consciously, rather handed over to us by our family, friends and the immediate society we live in.
According to Dr. Richard Davidson, who has made a life’s work out of studying “happy brains.” at the University of Wisconsin, people with positive brains can contribute a large extent of this to their parents for loving childhoods. Studies have also shown that angry or critical parents can actually alter a child’s happiness levels. This is usually solidified by the age 16.
This finding does not mean that as we mature into adulthood we can no longer change our fate. The bible writes that, “We should renew our minds” and, “Whatever is true, good, and praise worthy think on these things.” It also declares that if we believe what we are asking for we shall receive it, and what we think about ourselves is what we will become.
Can we test the power of belief?
Researching this subject I found a broad range of testing done from a scientific approach using a skull-cap containing 128 sensors which studied the activity in the left prefrontal cortex, to the inspiring stories like Terry Fox a one-legged young man from British Columbia, who started to run across Canada to raise money for the Cancer Society, or the same sort of belief that Rick Hanson a wheel chair bound Canadian who wheeled around the world to raise funds for spinal cord research had when he started his man in motion tour. Absolute belief in their ability to do what they set out to do. But it is the following experiment conducted in the United States schools that I would like to highlight as a tested theory of the power of positive beliefs.
The teachers heading up the experiment broke the large class of students into two smaller classes. They placed the poorer performing students into one class and left the average and above average students in the original class. The average and above average class continued as usual. The new teacher told the under performing students that they took them out of the class and placed them into this special class because they were the brightest students. The teacher was going to give them special assignments to prove to everyone they were especially intelligent. They were instructed not to discuss their school work with the other students because it would make the other students envious. They were then given the same work as the other class. Throughout the year the teacher continued to praise the students and tell them how bright they were. By the end of the school year, the former under achievers were performing better than all the students in the other class. This has been experimented several times in different schools around the country and the results were always the same. When people are told frequently they are smart, good and can do exceptional work, they always start performing to that level because frequent repetition of praise makes them believe in their ability to perform at a high level.
What do you believe in?
What do you believe about yourself?
I’ve gone to church services before that have made me feel like a failure, and I’ve gone to movies that have made me believe in my dreams again, and vice versa.
My hope is to inspire you to search out the amazing truth about who you are, and out of that you can change the world around you.