Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changing Thinking


I just realized something the other day. I went to the bank to pay my phone bill. I pulled the Bolivianos out of my pocket, paid the bill, and came home. Then it hit me. I no longer do conversions in my head.

Here is what I mean. For the longest time, I have been a walking calculator. Every time I pay a bill or buy something, I convert the amount into dollars so that I know how much it really costs. Bolivianos were like monopoly money. I had to convert the figures to real money for comprehension. When we first came, 100 B's was equal to about 13 dollars. Now it is equal to about 14. So...I would do the math. 200 B's for gas...I just spent 26 dollars. Denise ran into this in the States in the reverse. She would see a dollar value and convert it to B's. :)

Now...200 B's for gas means that I spent 200 B's. I have changed my thinking. I am no longer an American spending Bolivian money. I am a person living in Bolivia spending money. I think (I can't wait until this happens in the language) in terms of B's not $'s. We were told in cross cultural training that this is part of the process. You begin to think like the new culture without forcing it to happen. Money and language are the first areas that this happens....so I feel good about it!

As I thought of this, a Spiritual application came to mind (surprising isn't it). As Christians, this is really what ought to happen to us as we go through life. We are cross cultural after giving our hearts to Jesus. Our home is in another land and our spirits are of another culture. However, we still live here. Our thinking should go from thinking like the world to thinking like Christ (we have the mind of Christ). As we encounter things, we think something from either the wrong perspective or even sinfully...then we stop, convert it into Biblical thinking including getting forgiveness, and think it again. Our thoughts are being taken captive by Christ.

I believe that there is a process.

First of all, we don't even know that we need to convert our thinking.

Secondly, we realize that our thinking does need to be changed, and it is a hard and constant process. (Stop here and ask yourself is you have ever spent long periods of time, day after day, bringing your thoughts into the light to see if they need to be convereted. If not...you are probably still on step one.)

The third step is when our thoughts automatically line up with Scripture. Honestly, I don't think that many Christians are at this level. Personally, I am still on step two...constantly taking ideas, thoughts, and emotions to the cross for correction, forgiveness and restoration. However, I do think that I am becoming more fluent at thinking God's thoughts than ever before.

So...how are you doing cross culturally....are you adapting to your heavenly culture or thinking like the old one?

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