By Marnita Coleman
Special to AFRO

Have you ever self-examined your heart? No, not your physical heart that pumps blood throughout your body, but your spiritual heart where thoughts are produced and habits are developed? As you probably know, self-exams and annual checkups are highly recommended as a preventative health maintenance approach. However, what is the application for self-examination of your spiritual heart, specifically the mind? Since mental concerns are on the rise in our nation, let’s do a quick self-exam to know what is going on in our mind.  

The mind is a critical component of one’s life. A person’s life flows in the direction of their thoughts. King Solomon determined, “For as a [man] thinks in his [mind], so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) In other words, if you continually think negatively, it is because the essence of your thoughts are produced in negativity. Here’s what happens: when a person chooses to consistently think negatively, their brain rewires itself to gather neurons so their negative thought process flows easily and does not work hard to produce the types of thoughts they predominantly think. It skips over the neurons that transmit positive, happy-go-lucky thoughts to hone in on the negative.

1983: This AFRO archive shows Catholic Youth Organization baseball players Quentin Maye, left, Ben McConnell and Ryan Wright with their manager and coach David Wright Jr. who are three of the five young men who were chosen from the St. Ann’s 12-14 team.

In order to self-exam and detect what is going on in your mind, I endorse the spiritual and moral compass of the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the [mind].” The word of God will help you locate where you really are by the words that you speak. Rude and foul remarks are an indication that something is wrong, but not necessarily an urgent care need.

Years ago, Dr. Cindy Trimm, a well-established preacher and empowerment specialist, stated that everybody has “issues.” Well, of course they do, but you never hear preachers make such declarations publicly. Oftentimes, folks in church assemblies act as though they are perfect without blemishes, which is very misleading. I am even guilty of that behavior, but the truth is that we all have some form of “stinking thinking” that could be adjusted.

Our Heavenly Father’s desire is for us to have an abundant, overflowing enjoyable-to-the-last-drop kind of life. But there is a formula, and every self-help guru knows the importance of aligning mind, words, and actions to get the desired outcome, but, if you are oblivious to your own funk, spotting your flaws will be a real task. That is why the word of God works so well to initiate the process because it pierces even the most deceived soul with truth and love. A pastor profoundly stated, “Don’t listen to the word of God on Sunday morning so you can correct others. Listen so you can correct yourself. God is speaking to you.”

Why is this important? Can’t a person just be who they are without self-examining the deep recesses of their mind? Sure they can, but their behavior affects their environment. The funny thing is, you don’t always notice dysfunctional behavior in yourself because you have camouflaged it for so long, but when you see it in your children, it horrifies you.  

When we seek the Lord to help us shine a light on ourselves, He addresses it. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a candle and place it underneath anything as to conceal it. Instead, they put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. The light represents the positive behavior having a positive effect on the environment of the home.  

When your mind is healthy, your whole body is filled with light, but when your mind is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. If, in fact, the light you think that you have is actually darkness, how deceived are you? People will not see your bright light shining, they will see your disgusting attitude and will cast you to the side. 

Therefore, the goal is to be transformed by meditating on God’s Word day and night to retrain the neurons in your brain to attract positive neurons. Then we will be prosperous and successful. When our perceptions are off, meditation is the prescription to get back on track. 

“Stinking thinking” doesn’t just show up. We have allowed negative environments and bad experiences to shape the way we think. Individual attitudes have taken us in the wrong direction, where we live beneath our privilege. With determination and persistence, old patterns can be broken, and new behavior can emerge. A self-examination of the mind is a holistic approach to living a more fulfilling and purposeful life. It’s up to you. The question is: how bad do you want it?

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.
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