Today we’re talking about the power of asking ourselves questions. God uses questions in the Bible to help people think. And we can follow His lead and ask ourselves questions.
Biblical Affirmations Episode: https://ashleyvarner.com/biblical-affirmations
Victim Mentality Episode: https://ashleyvarner.com/victim-mentality
The Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset
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Highlights From the Episode:
Did you know there’s a surefire way to stop your brain from figuring out any kind of solution or being creative at all? We’re going to talk about how to avoid that today. Let’s get started.
Hey there my friends! Welcome back to “The Renewed Mind.” As always, I am your host, Ashley Varner and I am so happy to be here today.
I’m going to talk to you about a mindset shift I made that really completely changed the way that my brain operates and thinks and comes up with solutions. And this is all about the power of asking questions.
God uses questions in the Bible to help people think.
So our brains are set up to want to answer questions. If you want to stop your brain from coming up with any kind of creative flow or coming up with solutions. Then I encourage you to really speak to yourself in ways that end with a period, right? If you want to expand your creativity or learn how to problem solve on your own. Then I encourage you to start asking your brain questions.
So this is something that God actually uses in the Bible. That Jesus uses in the New Testament as well. It is a way that we can learn how to think and how to respond to questions. Because really if you think about it, our entire lives are all about asking other people questions, right? In school, we ask our teachers questions to get the answer. At work, we ask our boss questions to get the answer. But what if we started asking those questions to ourselves? If we do that, our brain goes into overdrive to start to answer those questions.
Let’s talk a little bit about the power of asking ourselves questions. Because God uses questions in the Bible to help people think. This is a perfect example right from the beginning in Genesis three. In the Garden of Eden, God asks Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” Later he asks them, “Who told you that you were naked?” right after they sinned.
God knew the answers, but He asked because His questions brought out the truth.
It wasn’t that God didn’t know the answers, he knew the answers. But he asked because his questions brought out the truth. And whenever we follow his example. Whenever we start to ask ourselves questions, we can start to see the truth come out in our own lives.
The same is true in the New Testament in Luke chapter eight. Jesus is walking with the people, and a woman who has been sick touches the hem of his robe. And he asks, “Who touched me?” In Matthew 16, Jesus is talking to his disciples and he asks them, “Who do people say I am?” The disciples answer by saying things like, “Well, they think maybe Elijah or John the Baptist, some prophet.”
And then he says, “Who do you say that I am?” He wants to question them, he wants to hear the truth come out. He wants their brains to naturally come up with the answers, right? Simon Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus knew the answers too but he wanted them to come to the answers on their own.
Our brains are wired for solutions.
The reason why questions work so well whenever we are asking questions of ourselves is that our brains are wired for solutions. Whenever we’re asked a question, our brains go into overdrive to figure out the answer, to overcome the problem, to problem solve, right?
Several years ago I was driving, and I saw a bumper sticker on the back of the car in front of me, it said, “Who is John Galt?” G-a-l-t. And so I started thinking. I was trying to figure out who it was, maybe it was a political figure. Maybe it was, I don’t even know, an athlete or something like that. But the bumper sticker said, “Who is John Galt?” It didn’t say, “I love John Galt.” It didn’t say, “John Galt for president.”
So now ow my brain was in overdrive trying to answer the question. I was trying to figure out who John Galt was. Whenever I went home, I actually Googled who it was. I found out that he’s a character in the book “The Atlas”. And I didn’t know that. But if I had seen this bumper sticker and it said, like I said, “I love John Galt.” I wouldn’t have thought anything else about it. I wouldn’t have been questioning it, I wouldn’t have Googled it. But because it was a question, my brain wanted to naturally know the answer. And because my brain had to answer the question, it really propelled me to find the answer.
Everything begins with your thoughts, right? So if you want to problem solve. If you want to come up with solutions or be creative. Come up with questions versus statements about the things that you want the solution for. In the case of John Galt, I actually even thought about buying the book to find out who this guy was.
So how can we use this in our thought lives?
So really, how can we use this in our thought lives? On this channel, I really work to teach women how to handle their emotions, change their mindset, renew their minds. How can the power of asking questions really work in our day to day thought lives?
Whenever you find yourself stuck in negative thoughts or even unhelpful thoughts, I want you to make the conscious choice to change those thoughts into questions. Now often it’s easier to change from an “I can’t” statement to an “I can” statement. But if your brain doesn’t think it’s true, it’s not gonna have the desired effect.
So if you are struggling with shifting your thinking from like negative to positive, I really want to encourage you to use this in the middle of that step and ask yourself a question. So instead of saying something like, “I can’t”, I want you to change that to, “How can I?”
This is really where I teach in Renew 180, it’s this six-month program that I teach and women go through all of the lessons and we have coaching sessions, but I really teach this idea of bridging your thoughts.
So you start with, “I can’t”, and then you add from there. So the first rung is, “I can’t”, the next one is “I can”, the next is “I will”, the next is “I am”. And this is really a great stepping stone for you to be able to come from a negative kind of thought life to a positive one.
If you are stuck in negative thinking about a situation, it can be really tough to immediately have positive thoughts about it. So just like I said, moving from “I can’t” to “I can” is a big step. And if you have that problem in these cases, asking yourself questions can really help you.
Example 1: I can’t afford that.
Now, I wanted to take a second and look at a couple of examples in today’s teaching because I wanna give you real-life scenarios so that you know how to use this.
One of the biggest examples that I can give is whenever I have clients who come to me and they say, “I can’t afford that.” Maybe it’s they can’t afford to quit their job or they can’t afford the car that they want, or whatever it is, right? And I want you instead to ask yourself, “How can I afford that?” Or even, “Do I want to afford that?”
Sometimes we think that we have to afford things and maybe it’s not even something that we have to do. So you can ask yourself, “Do I want to afford that?” And if so, “How can I afford that?”
Just listening to those two statements of, “I can’t afford that.”, it’s just the end of the sentence, it’s a period, it doesn’t make your brain work at all. If you switch that to, “How can I afford that?” Now your brain is going to work to see how you could afford that item or afford to change jobs or whatever it is.
Your brain starts looking for expenses to cut out, it starts looking for ways to make more money, things like that. And whenever you become a problem solver instead of falling victim to a victim mentality, you start to empower yourself to do the things that God has called you to do.
So if that means that you have to forgive a person, or that means that you have to step out in faith in a certain situation, knowing that you can ask yourself a question and that your brain, the way that God made it, your brain is going to now start coming up with solutions to answer that question.
Example 2: I can’t stand her.
Another example might be a phrase like, “I can’t stand her.” So we’ve all had thoughts like this, right? There’s always someone that we don’t mesh with or someone who’s hard to get along with. But remember that your thoughts lead to your emotions. Your emotions determine your actions. And your actions determine the outcome that you’re gonna have, right?
So you have to ask yourself, “What kind of outcome do I want?” “What kind of result do I want?” “Do I want to have a better relationship with this person?” Because if I do, then I have the ability to make that happen by taking my thoughts captive, by changing my thinking. That person doesn’t have to necessarily change at all for you to have a better relationship with them.
You might not be able to get to the point where you can say, “I enjoy being around her.”, or, “She’s my best friend.” but you can ask yourself questions like, “What is one thing that I like about her?” Or, “How can I be kind despite not liking her?”
Another question, if you really wanna get deeper into this is to ask yourself, “What kind of person do I wanna be?” “How do I want to act towards her?” Because once you start bringing it back to your thoughts, you can begin to change your emotions about the person.
So you go from, “I can’t stand her.” to, “How do I want to act around her?” Whenever you change that thinking, it changes everything.
Example 3: I’m so tempted to… (fill in the blank)
The last example that I wanted to share is the idea of, “I’m so tempted by” and then you can fill in the blank, or, “I always give into temptation around” whatever it is, food, whatever.
So just like our brains are wired for solutions, they’re also wired to collect evidence to prove what we believe. If you think that there’s no way to withstand the temptation that’s in your mind, then your brain is going to look for evidence to support that. If you want to change this, like change the cycle of this, I want you to practice thinking and overcoming thoughts like, “I can choose God over” such and such.
Now, you might not be there yet, remember, it’s really hard to shift from an “I can’t” to an “I can” statement, so you can start by asking yourself questions. You can ask yourself things like, “Is this something that I would be proud to tell other people that I did?” Or, “How would I feel about myself if I gave into this temptation?”
You can really take a moment in the middle of a difficult situation to sit back and ask yourself if the thoughts that you’re thinking are really what you want to think or not. Sometimes we think that everything that comes into our mind just automatically has a place there.
But God’s word says that you can take your thoughts captive. It says that we have the ability to demolish strongholds and anything that holds itself up against the knowledge of God.
So if you are struggling, say with temptation, then I really want you to think about what you’re thinking about, right? Temptation is just in your mind, and so if you can start taking those thoughts captive by saying, “How would I feel if I gave into this temptation?” that can lead to, “I don’t want to give into this temptation because it will make me feel horrible.” or whatever the case is.
So in these three examples, you can use questions to ultimately change your actions and your results. If you are changing your thinking, it will change the way that you feel about the situation, it’ll change the way that you respond to questions. Just like the bumper sticker I talked about at the beginning, it changed my actual actions. I went home, I Googled this person. It changed my actions because my thoughts changed. I was asked a question and it got me motivated to find out the answer.
I know that that’s a silly example. But through these other examples, I want you to see how asking yourself questions can ultimately help you grow closer to the Lord. Because that’s what this is all about, right, renewing your mind is all about transforming the way that you are living to be more like Christ. And so if you can take your thoughts, if you can start changing them and bridging them to be more like Jesus, to be more like the word of God, you’re going to see transformation in your life.
Next week, we’re going to be talking about how to change your life, and it’s from a Christian perspective. I really hope that you enjoyed this episode, I will see you next time. Thanks for watching.