“You have got to see the shot way before you hit it!” were the words of wisdom spoken to Brewer by his wise and helpful teammate Kyle Stanley at Clemson. This was the first time I paid attention to the term “visualization”. It was six years ago when our son, Brewer, was a freshman at Clemson and on the men’s golf team. Kyle has a tremendous work ethic and has had tremendous success. He shared some tips with Brewer that had been of great value to Kyle in helping him achieve success.
He taught Brewer about visualizing so that when Brewer was off the course he could play a golf course in his head. Kyle talked about seeing every shot perfectly to the point of thinking about what distance he would have and what club he would pull for each shot. But most importantly, Kyle would SEE the perfect shot in his MIND and go through all 18 holes. He would visualize every stroke he made, even putting and chipping. He made sure he saw “the true, the excellent, the commendable and the shots worthy of praise.” For him to go through this process was a discipline Kyle developed as he competed at a high level in golf. He talked about how important and powerful the mind was and how what you see affects your performance. What you see (or visualize in your mind), or allow yourself to see, or think on a recurring basis, can be strongly related to what you actually end up doing. I might add here that he has had much success to date on the PGA tour.
God has equipped some men and women with great minds and a passion to study the mind, its functions and dysfunctions. Technology, such as the MRI, has opened up a world of knowledge about how our thinking can directly affect our actions and even our health. For years there has been a stigma to mental illness. The brain is an organ just like the heart and it gets sick just like the pancreas, the thyroid gland, the lungs and on and on. Years ago people didn’t take the risk to saw open a head unless they could tell there was a problem. Our technology has advanced so much in what we know about the brain and how it works and its affects on the body that it should CRUSH THE STIGMA that surrounds mental illness. Today, advances in research and medicine can now address these illnesses and truly help.
I think of the power of the mind when it comes to eating disorders. Those who struggle seem to visualize and see incorrectly (especially girls). They get the wrong picture in their mind of what they see in the mirror. While they see overweight, others see thin and frail. It has been proven that the subconscious mind accepts thoughts that you often repeat. When it accepts them, it changes your mindset accordingly, as well as your habits and actions. The mind is a powerful thing and we can trick ourselves with wrong patterns of thinking that can disrupt our lives and thwart God’s best for us.
What you allow yourself to think, see, or visualize in your mind is a form of seeing. Do you ever think about what you are thinking about??? Or what you are allowing to run through your mind that you visualize?
For example, recently our middle son, Thomas, talked about working extra hard on the range. He talked about this past summer when he WASN’T hitting the ball great, thus NOT SEEING the ball flight he wanted to see. He had to spend extra time on the range hitting extra balls to “see a positive” ball flight. The more positive SEEING where he wanted the ball to go, the more confidence he gained. He had to work hard, make changes, and spend hours hitting SUCCESSFUL SHOTS to see POSITIVE BALL FLIGHTS. IMPRINTING THE GOOD STUFF through his eyes to his mind. He has learned to not spend time talking about bad holes or bad shots because he has learned how important it is to control, not only what you think, but what you repeat. He knew first-hand that the direction you allow your mind to go (positive or negative), your body often follows. Basically, in golf, he has learned to take “every thought captive”. What a great real-life experience that parallels with what Scripture teaches about “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” in order to live an authentic life in Christ.
So where am I going with all of this………………? Developments in science (and sports for that matter) continue to validate Scripture–its commands for humans and what it teaches about the mind. How and what we think is important…to the outcome of our lives.
Simply stated in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things.” Paul continues to encourage the reader with verse 9, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” YOU have to understand Paul is speaking to brothers (other Christians) about the power of what we think. We cannot accomplish this in our own strength.
This passage reminds us where our focus needs to be when it comes to our thoughts. It is very easy to listen to lies about what we can and cannot accomplish for God. The ability to apply Philippians 4:8-9 comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in the believer. As a believer, we have access to the power of the Omnipotent God who created the universe. He is all-knowing–past, present and future. When we choose to Seek Jesus and invite Him into our lives, He can change our thoughts and how we think, “A mind overhaul”. We can have the discipline and growing faith to “drop our hands”. Surrender our thinking to the “thoughts of Christ” and His “word”. It is a choice to seek, accept, and listen. It impacts our everyday lives. It starts with the mind and what we choose to “see”.
Too many times we often limit our lives to what we know and see in the moment. Our thoughts tell us that is what we should trust. “You can have faith or you can have control, but you can’t have both.” If you want God to do something off the chart, you have to take your hands off the controls. You have to give Him your MIND. God can empower and enable you to do much more than the human mind can conceive.
Let me be real up front and CRYSTAL CLEAR HERE. I am not saying you can POSITIVE think your way to success and a life of fulfilled dreams. God is not to be used as a “Genie in a Bottle” to make all our dreams come true. What I am saying is God gave you a mind and He gave specific instructions on how to use it. He is divine and has a divine plan. He desires our good and to fill our lives with purpose beyond what we can comprehend.
We have to know and understand Isaiah 55:8, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways my ways.’ declares the Lord.” Unless we abide in God, we cannot and will not understand His ways. It is a faith walk. The more faith we have the more we can see HIS supernatural power in our lives. 1 Corinthians 2:11 states, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own spirit.” Knowing God and giving HIM control of our lives can take us places we cannot even imagine.
Just like “imprinting and visualizing” in golf, accepting Jesus into your life allows the Holy Spirit to enable you to “SEE” the Great things God can and will do in you and through you. We must remember to take our thoughts captive and focus on what is true as Philippians reminds us to do—”practice these things”. HE is then given the freedom to “Imprint” Himself in Your life and give you “visualization” that you cannot even fathom.
He does have a perfect plan for all those who seek HIM.