A Better Way to Think, by H. Norman Wright (Revell, 2011)
Our minds can be a scary place to dwell, but that’s where we live—and often not with the kinds of thoughts we were designed to entertain. A Better Way to Think does a good job of helping readers stop and notice our thoughts. When we notice, we can evaluate. When we evaluate, we can see where we need to intentionally change our thinking.
The book’s subtitle is “Using positive thoughts to change your life,” and it offers biblically-sound advice on how to do just that, with both thoughts and self-talk. One of the key points it raises is that we can’t change our thinking in our own strength. We need to rely on the power and help of God. And we need to give it time.
I was challenged by Dr. Wright’s statement that talking to ourselves is
“a habit you’ve cultivated… hundreds of statements you can play at will… The more these play, the more we begin to believe them. We think, This is reality! This is true!” (p.79)
The early chapters prompt us to pay more attention to our thoughts—our self-talk—to discover its origins, observe the damage it’s doing, and decide to change. The biblical mandate to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) is difficult at the best of times, but it’s impossible if we’re not aware of those thoughts.
I found these early chapters clinically sound, but I kept wanting to see faith-based strategies for addressing the problem. Those come later in the book, so if you have the same reaction, read on.
The author uses brief case studies to reinforce what he’s saying, and they make the concepts much easier to understand and remember. Just recently I was driving, late for an appointment, and I remembered his illustration of two men in the same traffic jam and how each one’s thoughts affected their individual experiences. That helped me choose calm thoughts instead of berating myself for not leaving earlier.
The case studies also reflect how one person’s negative thought life can affect his/her relationships. Later chapters focus on defusing this, specifically in marriages.
As the author points out, our negative self-talk has been building up for a long time, so it will take time to replace it with healthier thinking. Time and prayer.
This is one of those books I’m glad to keep on my shelf, and I’ve found myself talking about it in numerous conversations. God has been challenging me about my thinking, probably most of my life, but in the last year or so I’ve finally been ready to hear Him. A Better Way to Think is one of the tools He has used in my life for growth and healing, and I highly recommend it.
[Review copy from my personal library.]