A year ago I read Celeste Headlee’s great book We Need To Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter. In it, she tells of an experiment that has stuck with me.
A group of people were taken into a room and told a piece of news the leaders had literally made up themselves. It was the epitome of “fake news,” they had just invented it. The day progressed. A few hours later, as I remember, the leaders confessed how they had created the piece of news. They confessed to the group it was fake. Even though the people who had created the news confessed within three hours, still 75% of that group preferred to believe the original fake news. They would not change their opinions.
When I read this, I was struck with our current world situation. It does not matter what the “truth” might be surrounding the virus, the governmental restrictions, the lockdowns, the ongoing economic devastation. For, all of us have adopted beliefs and will hold to them no matter what. Indeed, we will look for evidence which corroborates our opinions! That was kind of a frightening thought for me!
Then, a couple weeks back, I came upon a post by Nicki Koziarz on instagram which approached the same subject from another direction.
nickikoziarz instagram post 12/7/2020
You have something within you called confirmation bias. It’s defined as this: the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.
It means what you see inside of you is what you will look for all around you.
If inside your soul it looks gloomy, hopeless, fearful and full of doubt, that is what you will see in your world.
But if your soul is filled with the Spirit and Truth, your world will look more like an opportunity than opposition.
This is why wishful thinking and Biblical hope have to be discerned each day.
Wishful thinking wakes us up with spirit of skepticism. It says, maybe God will come though. And we start to look for evidence that He might not.
Biblical hope wakes us up with a confidence. It says, God will come through. And we look for evidence all day of God’s faithfulness.
Take a minute before this day goes any further and call yourself to a higher place. Decide you will seek and find the faithfulness of God today. And watch your life unfold a story declaring just that: God is faithful and my life reflects this.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13link — emphasis mine.
Confirmation Bias. That’s what Celeste Headlee’s story about the experiment illustrated as well. The “fake news” aligned with previously held beliefs. So, some participants refused to adjust their opinions even when confronted with truth.
Our beliefs determine what we see and experience in our lives. We will look for confirmation of what we already believe. This relates to all aspects of our lives. So, it is well worth our time to discern what we are believing. In this era of propagated fear, how do we find our feet on the firm soil of trust? What do our actions and attitudes put on display about what we are believing?
I’ve asked this of myself. I find that I can track my beliefs in God’s provision over decades based upon how I viewed and paid bills. For years I operated with a scarcity mindset toward money, until I discovered how to walk in abundance — God is in charge and will provide and does. I liked Nicki’s reminder and directives:
Biblical hope wakes up with confidence.
Decide you will seek and find the faithfulness of God today.
Watch your life unfold a story declaring just that: God is faithful and my life reflects this.(Nicki’s 12/7/20 post)
I got into my car a week ago, to discover the small water leak had created a three inch lake of water where my feet normally would go in front of the driver’s seat. I got three large towels to soak up most of the water, and a fourth towel for the carpet under my feet to soak up the rest. “There shall be showers of blessing,” the line from an old hymn, floated through my mind. I left for errands. “Someday,” I said, “I will be able to get a different car, Lord.”
I found my water situation comical, and was telling the story to our daughter Grace the next night when she arrived for dinner. She looked at me and said, “Dad! I can give you my car! I’m getting one to replace my current one on Wednesday.” I was flabbergasted and a bit undone. “You just said you planned to sell it,” I objected.
I had not asked God for a car replacement. I had not thought of this possibility. Yet, in the faithfulness of God, who knew the desires of my heart to drive a stick shift again and to again drive a VW, God moved.
Decide God is faithful. Watch for God to move.
Grace insisted. So, on Wednesday I accompanied her to get her new-to-her car, and drove away in the car that was and is new to me! And on Thursday morning, as a Christmas gift, my other car sold. All this in a few days.
So, I keep glancing within to ask, “What I am believing? What am I expecting?” The God of abundance we serve is never short of blessings. I want to live with an expectancy of encountering this God today. Are you believing this as well?