Renew Your Mind

What you keep telling yourself is wrong

Trudi Griffin
6 min readJun 19, 2021
Photo by Giuseppe Patriarchi on Unsplash

Dear Sisters,

You are being transformed by the renewing of your mind and I am thrilled for you!

When I used to counsel people, we talked about negative thoughts a lot. People in this world are plagued by them. The therapeutic intervention most used and supported by psychology research is cognitive-behavioral therapy. We all learn it. Confront the negative thoughts that influence emotions and behavior to ultimately change those thoughts and thus the emotions and behaviors connected to them. Ironically, the basis of cognitive-behavioral therapy is essentially biblical. Not that any educational program aside from a Christian counseling program will tell anyone that.

But check out Romans 12:2 (NIV)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

Renewing the mind essentially involves exposing the thoughts that are not of God, such as those the world wants us to believe, and changing our thoughts to conform with God’s Word.

The second biblical aspect of cognitive-behavioral therapy that consists of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is Psalm 1:2 (NIV)

“But whose delight in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

By meditating on his Word, you replace the thoughts of the World with those of God, thus renewing your mind and remembering who he made you to be.

The negative thoughts that dominate us play like subliminal messages, and most of the time they are so familiar to us that we do not recognize them as foreign negative thoughts.

A big part of CBT therapy starts with naming them and exploring their origin. For example, the one that dominated me for most of my life was that I was not wanted. The exploration of the origin reminded me that my dad told me first, but my stepmother drilled it into me. She used it as a weapon. The original version was that my real mom didn’t want me so she gave me away. But it morphed in my head until it became a resounding general belief that I was not wanted. If my mother, the one who bore me did not want me, then there must be something inherently wrong with me and therefore no one would ever want me. Not as a friend, a wife, a mother, nothing. And so I lived my life ruled by that belief. I made decisions about whether others would accept me before they could resulting in superficial relationships and years of bad decisions.

But then we take the exploration a bit deeper. Is the person who wielded that thought as a weapon qualified to judge me?

When I heard the original words, I was a kid. The words were uttered by a woman who never met my real mom and therefore could not know whether my real mom wanted me or not.

As an adult, I learned the truth from my real mom and eventually from my dad as well. My real mom was 19 when she had me and she was messed up herself. Her history was more screwed up than mine and when she and my dad split, she felt I would be better off with my dad. After we moved to Wisconsin, she realized she made a mistake and tried to get back with my dad and to see me, but it didn’t work out. My dad was hurt and bitter towards her for screwing around on him and he thought it best that I didn’t know her. He gave me a new family and he thought it was the right thing.

As time went on, however, my stepmother abused him as much as me, mostly by keeping him away from me and making both our lives miserable if he gave me any special attention. So was she qualified to drill that statement into my head? Heck no she wasn’t.

Even knowing the truth from my real mom and my dad could not undue the damage. My mom told me she wrote to me my whole life, called my dad at work to check in on me, and every time she did, he told her I was fine. She didn’t know I never received her letters and I didn’t know she wrote to me until I was in high school.

When I found out, I blew up. The point is she did want me, but she made a mistake that she could not undo when she gave me up. Although we had a relationship when I was an adult, it still felt awkward and sometimes I felt angry that I didn’t get to grow up with her as my mom. I was welcomed into her family, but I never really belonged.

After she died, my sisters gave me her Bible. I found out through that and some of her journals that she struggled with her identity in Christ her whole life. Within the pages of her Bible was a version of scriptural declarations of who we are in Christ. I imagine she prayed them often.

After the Dark Times v.2, I prayed this daily. I read it out loud daily. I had a lot of mind renewing to do.

Clients would often ask how long it takes to renew the negative thoughts. It takes as long as it takes. Think of how long they have lived in your mind. Mine lived there almost 40 years. God is a miracle worker, but 40 years of conditioning needs some effort, dedication, and perseverance to reverse.

Think of the work as excavation and rebuilding. To excavate the negativity out, you have to name it, discover where it came from, pray away the stronghold that keeps it there, and then fill that empty space with the Word. If you only pray who you are over the negative thoughts without dealing with the stronghold, you’re building on a sandy foundation. Get rid of that junk and then lay down the rock of the Word.

The work of digging out the strongholds meant that I had to forgive both of my parents, my stepmom, and myself. My mom believed she did the right thing by giving me to my dad to raise. My dad felt he did the right thing not confusing me with another mom and he hoped that our new family would be a good thing for me. By the time he realized who my stepmom really was, he’d had three more daughters and did not want to break up the family. He endured her abuse for 19 years before he left and suffered for it for the rest of his life. My stepmom is one I cannot begin to understand. I can only imagine that I was a reminder that my dad loved someone else before her. She once told me she did the best she could for me and I think she really believed that. Maybe she did not have the capacity to show emotion or love. I think she showed it to my sisters, but not to me. I learned a lot from her and it wasn’t all bad.

My dad and my real mom met again in the early 2000s. I don’t remember the exact date, but my mom came to Wisconsin to visit and we went to breakfast with my dad. It was a nice visit and I got a photo of the three of us together. They forgave each other too.

It took me many years after that to unravel the junk in my head and it wasn’t until I repented, submitted to God, and prayed away the strongholds that I became free from it. I now know that God is the only parent in our lives that is infallible.

Moms and dads are human beings who make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes have lasting effects on us. They are not meant to fill God’s role and until we realize that, we expect things from them they are not equipped to give.

Only God is equipped to love us magnificently and without harm. His love is redemption, refreshing, totally pure and not reliant on anything we do. He loves us because he made us and we are his. Nothing we can do will ever separate us from him. And he wants to remind us every day what he thinks about us.

You are accepted. You are secure. You are significant. You are beautiful. From Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson

Do you have something to add? Strengthen your Sisters of Faith by sharing it. Email for more information.

Follow Sisters of Faith for notifications of new posts.



Trudi Griffin

Shining light in the darkness with words. Devoted to Jesus. Wife of a warrior. Small business owner.