How do we as men stay positive, upbeat and ready to conquer the challenges before us? How do we stay “in the ready” – for all of the half-truths, stereotypes and assumptions that seem to meet and greet us on a daily basis?
We keep our head up! We must stay alert to what is happening around us but, more importantly, what is happening within us. In other words, be on guard, brothers, to what’s going on in your head. This is important for positive self relationship.
There’s a war going on. The Apostle Paul reminds us about the nature of this war: “…for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
The Enemy uses “mental conditioning” to spiritually “de-condition” us as men, the leaders in our homes and community. And the key is that this conditioning is happening in very subtle ways, with people and experiences we don’t really view with any degree of suspicion.
We are being conditioned just about every day of our lives. Some of it is positive but most of the conditioning we are bombarded with is negative. The bottom line is that it’s happening at a level we do not comprehend and, unfortunately, it’s been happening all of our lives.
Here are five sources of negative conditioning and what we can do about it.
Source# 1: Family and Friends
Family members can be potential dream-busters when it comes to ambitions. They may be well-meaning, but they can also become roadblocks. How many times have you been told ‘you can’t or ‘you’re wasting your time’ by a friend or family member?
Solution: The best thing to do is keep a healthy distance (since some of these people may be in the same house!), stay focused and keep believing in your dreams.
Source#2: Local News
Television stations are in a constant war for ratings and to get the most viewers, they must report on what viewers like most: murder, scandal and violence. The real reason the media has made my list, though, is because of the proximity of late local news to bed-time. The sub-conscious mind is most permeable in the minutes before we fall asleep at night. Going to bed with all of the internalized, mostly negative news does nothing but seep down into our deeper mind while we’re asleep.
Solution: In the hour or minutes before bed, try reading a book, doing light exercise and stretching or watching something comical on television.
Source#3: Bad Theology:
As a minister of the Word, this one bothers me the most. I grew up in the church and I relish some fond memories of that time. But truth be told, when you hear over and over how bad you are and how unlovable you appear to be, it takes its toll on your psyche at some point. Not all religious traditions serve parishioners a steady diet of damnation, but far too often we hear about a merciless versus merciful God.
Solution: The good news is you don’t have the fire the preacher! Read and interpret your religious text yourself. Draw your own conclusions. Seek God for guidance within your own personal time with Him.
Source#4: Reality Television
Who knew the advent of reality television would present such convoluted images on a daily basis? Reality TV makes the list due to that one word: images. The conditioning we experience in this regard is the blurring of the line between right and wrong. This is not only bad for the individual, but for society as well – namely because it makes us less emphatic to do something about it. Although images can be a good thing, the kind we see on the tube every day is not so good.
Solution: This is where the power of turning off the television comes in. Just like anything else, watch reality television with moderation.
Source#5: Social Media
Look at social media for what it is: connecting. The question is who and what are you connecting to? Herein lays the issue. It would be great if every person on your Facebook page was an idealistic, positive-centered up-lifter, right? Well, they’re not! Most people Facebook their issues instead of FACING them. That negative energy feeds right into your spirit on a parallel track.
Solution: ‘Un-friend’ kindly or, at the least, take a break from social media.
We must become vigilant to the negative conditioning taking place in our lives and realize that this conditioning happens very often and with great subtlety.
But we are more than conquerors!
Pastor W. Eric Croomes is a motivational speaker and author. You can reach him at PastorCroomes@Outlook.com or
Facebook at Pastor W. Eric Croomes.