Sometimes we humans seem to act unpredictably or irrationally. But, every action has a purpose, rooted in an underlying or “core” belief. Our core beliefs are what guide our behavior.
The way core beliefs are formed is complex. Our environment, the media, our peers, and mostly the homes we grew up in are the major contributors to the things we believe about ourselves and others. Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about this, but the beliefs are there regardless and contribute greatly to much of our behavior. Core beliefs deeply affect our parenting. For example, if conflict was treated as a problem and swept under the rug in the home I grew up in, then I will likely feel very anxious about conflict and will work hard to avoid it or put a quick stop to it in my children. My core belief may be, “People should be nice and not have conflicts.”
The funny thing about core beliefs is that they become almost imperceptible, repeating “tapes” that play over and over again in our minds. When we learn to say them out loud they sound almost ridiculous, but they hold power over us until we can replace them with new “tapes” or phrases that grow from truth.
Read more about core beliefs in our book, How to Grow a Connected Family.
An important key to maturing in life and faith is to examine our core beliefs and consider which ones are true and helpful and which ones are not. As we do this we can invite God to keep transforming our beliefs to align with truth. We can learn to live by the new truth phrases and not the old false beliefs. Below is a list of six common unhelpful and even untrue messages many of us grew up with that have become core beliefs in many parents:
Below is a list of truth phrases and corresponding Bible verses that we’ve seen help parents replace their unhelpful, untrue core beliefs with helpful and true ones. Bookmark this page, or print and post this list where it can serve as a frequent reminder of your value as God’s beloved child. Then join Lynne and I in the ongoing work to let God replace our faulty thinking with his truth!
1. Each family member is beloved and treasured by God, despite failings or imperfections.
Romans 8:1 & 37-39, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Ephesians 3:16-19
2. What matters is what’s real, the things rooted in faith and love, not pretense.
Galatians 5:6, Psalm 51:6, Luke 11:39
3. My children are responsible for their own behavior. I am responsible for my behavior. (The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not control of others!)
Matthew 16:27, Romans 14:4, Galatians 5:22-23, Galatians 6:7
4. God is present and working even in our worst situations and will guide and counsel us.
Psalm 73:21-25, Isaiah 43:1-5, Philippians 1:6 & 2:13, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
5. Women are first and foremost disciples, partners with men to serve God’s purposes.
Luke 10:42, Phil 4:3, Genesis 1:27
6. Learning obedience is a process—for us and our kids! (When we are first-time-every-time obedient to God, our children will gradually learn to do the same.)
Ephesians 6:4, Phil 4:9 (modeling obedience), Colossians 3:20-21
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