Belief Series: (Part 1) – Belief Overview
THE Different Beliefs Encountered in TPM
In TPM we will encounter many different types of belief. A common mistake made by the “mentoring” facilitators is: failing to differentiate one from another. When this occurs, the facilitator may misread the situation, miss cue and prematurely offer up beliefs to the Lord for truth, resulting in no truth being received. A proper understanding of the different types of belief is essential for effectively applying this ministry process and avoiding unnecessary mistakes.
For example: if a facilitator thinks he has identified a core/heart belief, when in fact it is an “assumption or conclusion,” and then proceeds to offer it up to the Lord, it is probable that nothing will occur. This may leave the person being prayed with —the Mentee— confused and frustrated, and the facilitator bewildered.
To avoid unnecessary confusion, it may be helpful to provide a general glossary of terms before we begin. The list that follows is only a brief definition of each of the different types of belief that we may encounter in the context of TPM. Please read over this glossary several times so that you have a general knowledge to draw from throughout your TPM journey.
Definition of Terms
What follows is a list of the primary terms that will be used in our discussion. Each of these will be defined in greater detail over the course of the next several articles. They have been supplied here so that you have a chance to familiarize yourself with them as we begin discussing “belief” in the context of TPM.
- Experiential Belief: This is what we remember to have happened in a particular life experience or the belief of what we experienced; the content of our memory. It is the mental recording of what we believe has happened in a past experience. For instance: a person might have the memory of a family vacation to a national park. His memory of the experience is his experiential belief. Experiential belief does not produce emotion when it is remembered since memory is not the reason that we feel anything that we may feel.
- Intellectual Belief: This is informational belief, it does not produce emotion and is comprised of three subsets which are: general knowledge, assumptions and conclusions, and solution beliefs.
- General Knowledge: This is working knowledge, such as “two plus two equals four” and “exercise is good for you.” “The coffee shop is located on Fifth Avenue and Main Street.” General knowledge does not produce emotion.
- Assumptions and Conclusions: These are our explanations for why an event or experience has happened, and for why we believe that we felt as we did. However, these beliefs are not the reason for why we feel what we feel, but rather the conclusion that we assumed to be so. For instance, such statements as “The other kids thought I was stupid.” “My dad hated me.” “I was always left out.” It explains what we believe to be the reason for the emotions we feel, but these assumptions and conclusions do not produce emotion. We are each making assumptions and conclusions every day as we come up with what we think are logical and reasonable explanations for why we feel what we feel in any given moment. This is where we find ourselves saying thing such as, “I am just having a bad day,” “You make me so mad!”, “You never listen to me.”
- Solution Belief: This is a belief that a certain behavior will solve a perceived problem, such as, “if I eat ice cream, I will feel better,” “My anger keeps me safe,” “Suppressing what I feel keeps me from being overwhelmed by my feelings.” “Blocking out my memory keeps it from being real.” This belief does not produce emotion, but actually is often an attempt to keep from feeling what we feel.
- Heart/Core Belief: This is the heart-felt belief that results from the interpretation we ascribe to what we remember as happening and why we believe that it happened. Heart belief is what we come to believe about ourselves and/or what we believe about God and who He is God. Because heart belief is either about ourselves or about God, it will consistently fall into one of two types; Self-identity or State of Being. How we view our state of being or situation says much about who we believe God is and to what extent He is involved in our lives.
Heart belief overrides intellectual belief if and when there is conflict between the two. For example, if I remember my dad slapping me when I was a child (experiential belief) and hearing him say I was worthless, which I may then assume means that I could not make him happy (assumption/conclusion), then I may interpret all of this to mean “I am worthless” (core/heart belief). Years later I may come to intellectually realize that my father was acting like a typical alcoholic, he was controlled by his drinking and that his opinion of me did not determine my worth.
Nevertheless, even though I come to know such truth (intellectually,) when I think about the memory I still recoil in pain because of my heart belief. I continually feel less important than the rest of my colleagues at work, and my wife’s criticism goes deep, stirring up feelings of worthlessness. My lie-based heart belief remains and rules over my intellectual assessment. Intellectual belief can never override what my heart believes. Even when my intellectual belief is clearly the more logical and reasonable posture, heart belief will still determine what I feel and to a great extent what I do. This is why we sometimes say things like, “I know (intellectually) that I shouldn’t feel this way, but…”
Some of you reading this may be thinking, “Core, what?” “experiential, when?” “solution, how?” “assumptions and conclusions!!! Oh Me, Oh My! What shall I believe?” It may seem confusing and overwhelming at first. Take the time to re-read what you do not understand. The concepts and ideas presented in this series that are essential and are worthy of your time and consideration. As with all of the training, “completion” is not a term that we will be using. Rather, “competence and comprehension” are our rally cries as we press ever forward to becoming excellent in applying this training to our lives. Remember, “One time through will never do.” Just because we read all of the articles and watched all of the videos does not mean we are trained, but only that we are becoming better equipped.