As a Man Thinketh
November 18, 2021
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
If you’ve never heard this quote before, really take a moment and read it again. Let the words sink in. This quote really embodies the saying “…for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). You remember that feeling in dental school when you doubted if you could get a high grade on that dental exam or pass that competency? Or now when you do not believe you can get an exceptional outcome on that new dental procedure you have on your schedule next week? As dentists who are also human beings, we think about all the things that can go wrong, such as the dental equipment malfunctioning, the assistant’s inability to find the right instruments we need, poor lighting or that uncontrollable heme obscuring our vision. We verbalize our fears to our colleagues and/or others, and we limit our actions of researching better techniques or ways to execute the outcome we desire. We develop a habit of “winging it,” giving our minimum to the practice of dentistry, which ultimately is a better reflection of our values than what we recite to our patients. This is the slippery slope of our beliefs driving our words which can eventually drive our destiny.
The Bible has many references to the power of our words:
Proverbs 16:24 – “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (NKJV).
Proverbs 15:4 – “A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit” (AMP).
Proverbs 11:17 – “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel” (TLB).
Notice these Scriptures refer to the impact our thoughts, words and actions have on our souls. Growing up in Sunday School I heard a lot about being kind to our neighbor, not gossiping, etc., but have we thought about the words we think to ourselves and, worse yet, speak to ourselves? We are our own biggest critics. This is why Scripture is very clear on “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b, NKJV). It’s not that we won’t have self-deprecating thoughts at times, comparing ourselves to others or doubting our abilities, BUT we have to choose to have the truth of God’s Word speak louder than those thoughts. What we believe, think and say to ourselves affects every area of our lives, including dentistry, the way we interact with our family and friends and the lens through which we view life.
For almost two years, I’ve been wanting to wake up early in the morning to start my day in the right frame of mind to be the best I can be for my husband, for my patients and for all my daily obligations. I couldn’t gain any traction until I changed my belief about not being a morning person. I affirmed my thoughts and speech that I was committed to making this change so my productivity, efficiency and energy could soar through the roof by waking up with purpose and intention. Slowly I noticed my actions starting to change, which has led to a healthy habit of executing my morning routine of spending time in God’s Word, exercising, prayer, reading for self-development and doing a Spanish lesson. This change in thought doesn’t mean I am free from the desire of not wanting to get up early when snuggled under the warm sheets, but I have formed myself into a person who values that uninterrupted morning time for personal growth.
This example is specific to what I’m learning on my personal journey, but the same principle applies to losing weight or becoming a better dental professional. Consider deliberately writing affirmations about what you want to get better at and visualizing the goal you are working toward. Then actually say these affirmations out loud with emotion daily. Bonus points if you say it looking at yourself in a mirror. Don’t underestimate the power of your words!
Below are some short ideas of affirmations that can be incorporated in your day:
Dentistry: I leave every person that sits in my dental chair better than I found them because I genuinely care about their dental health and what is happening in their lives. I always look for opportunities to pray for them and share the love of Christ.
Finances: I surrender my finances to the Lord and am willing to be a good steward of the money God has given me. Money is a tool, and it takes on the characteristics of the person who uses it. I am dedicated to honoring my monthly budget, paying off all my debts and being a part of helping financially in the advancement of the work of the Lord.
Parenting: I am committed to parenting the children the Lord has entrusted to my care by treasuring their unique personalities and fostering their unique talents as I spend undistracted time with them daily.
Weight Loss: I am 100 percent committed to losing ___ pounds and weighing ____ pounds by ____(date) so that I have more energy and set an example of health and fitness for my family. Or To ensure that I lose ___ pounds, I am 100 percent committed to going to the gym ___ days per week and running on the treadmill or doing weights for a minimum of 30 minutes each day from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Overcoming Sin: I accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sin of ____, therefore I am not the same person I used to be. I do not (insert sin) because I am a new creation in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Stress: I surrender my anxiety to God by choosing to read his word for 15 minutes every morning, reflecting on what I read and reminding myself that His peace will guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).
May you enjoy the journey of truly thinking and saying all the wonderful things your heavenly Father already believes about you.
“Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them;
They are more than can be numbered” (Psalm 40:5, NKJV).