Paradigms and Doctrines

Jonathan began teaching this week about how our doctrine (belief system) directly impacts our paradigm (lens, worldview, etc.). He spent the majority of his time trying to help lay a foundation for what he will teach in the upcoming weeks to come. His major focus was to communicate the importance of a right belief system, or doctrine!

I would dare to say that your core beliefs impact every aspect of your life (career choices, finances, relationships, physical health, etc.). I would even go as far to say that your core beliefs have a greater impact on your life than anything else in this life!

You Are What You Eat...

For the past twelve months, Casey and I have drastically altered our lifestyle when it comes to nutrition and exercise. We have both struggled with managing our weight throughout our adult life. We have tried numerous diets and have logged countless miles, either on the pavement or on the stationary bike.

At times, we have seen results (In 2012, I lost nearly 45 pounds by cutting carbs and doing tremendous amounts of cardio). However, we have struggled to keep the weight off (I went from 191lbs in 2013 to 249lbs in 2015). My weight has been a roller-coaster for years, a pattern that I know could possibly lead to major health issues.

I was determined that 2015 would be the year that I took the weight off for good. I set SMART goals monthly from January to May, focused only on my exercise routines. I logged as many as 450 miles in one month between jogging and cycling. No matter how hard I hit the cardio, my weight remained the same.

All of this changed in October 2015, when Casey and I made the decision that something had to change! I had finally come to my breaking point, at which I knew that I needed help from the outside. We joined one of our local gyms and signed up for a personal trainer.

We spent the next six months allowing our personal trainer, now a close friend of ours, to teach us about proper nutrition and exercise. More than anything, he has changed our core beliefs in this area of life. I have learned now, more than ever, that you truly are what you eat! The countless miles that I was logging in each month would never counteract the terrible foods I was putting in my body!

Twelve months later, it is easier to choose to fuel my body with the right nutrition. Notice that I did not say it was easy! It is not easy. I have to make the choice every day to follow the plan that will lead to the results that I desire! However, I can honestly say that most of the foods that I used to crave no longer have as much of a hold on me (Ice cream is still the exception). Instead of looking to food as a source of comfort and pleasure, I rightly view them as fuel for my body! And because I have changed my core belief, it is now easier to make better choices around what I eat and how often I exercise.

The Never-Ending Cycle…

What we truly need to embrace in this teaching is how our life is impacted by this cycle of beliefs, thoughts, words, and behavior. Jonathan shared yesterday that the paradigm (worldview) was and is formed by your doctrine (core beliefs), that is, the way that you think of and view life is determined by what you believe.

Jonathan went on to teach that our doctrine has been forged thru many sources, such as where we went to church and what our parents and grand-parents taught us. To further complicate this matter, our doctrine is formed not only by what we were taught, but also through what we observed and experienced. Remember the adage, more is caught than taught. Therefore, the habits we observed in our parents regarding their marriage, finances, career choices, faith, etc. has as much of, if not more, an impact on our doctrine as what they said.

Jonathan also shared the importance of guarding what we allow in our lives. You truly are what you eat! What you consume, physically and spiritually, has a tremendous impact in your life!

What you believe determines how you think. How you think affects how you speak. How you speak determines impacts your behavior. Your behavior determines the results you experience. And your experiences in life impact your core beliefs. The cycle is never-ending.

Breaking the Cycle…

Most people believe you have to change your behavior in order to alter your experiences in life. While it is true that you have to create new habits to see lasting change, I do not believe that is the first step.

To change what you are experiencing in life, you must go directly to the source, that is, your core beliefs. Focusing primarily on better habits leads to temporary change. Focusing on altering your belief system leads to permanent change.

So, how do you break the cycle?

Honestly, you don’t break the cycle, nor do you want to. You have to embrace the power of the cycle. Allow the cycle to work in your favor, instead of against you.

Once you have adjusted your core beliefs, you begin to think differently. Different thought patterns lead to different patterns of speech. By speaking your new beliefs, you create new experiences in life that align with your new belief system. There truly is power of death and life in our tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Above All Else…

I close out this week’s post with this challenge from one of my favorite Scriptures, Proverbs 4:23.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

We have the responsibility to guard our hearts and to choose what we allow into our lives. Remember, you are what you eat! So choose wisely!

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