Just a few minutes ago I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a picture that read, “Attract what you want by being what you want.” Eight years ago I would have enthusiastically thought, “What a great quote! Let me retweet that!” So why not now?
Almost a decade ago I began reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The Secret, originally published in November 2006, instantly became a best seller, selling over 19 million copies worldwide and being translated into 46 languages. The book is based on the controversial “natural law” of attraction, which claims that positive proclamations and positive thinking, when put into action, can make you happier and increase your health and wealth. This idea has rolled over into all sects of society in American culture, including Christianity.
Now, as a communication major, I am not denying the power that positive affirmations and self-talk have in the short term capacity. But, I think it is important that we look at where it comes from and address the truth that lies within this concept. For the sake of blogging purposes I must be brief in making these arguments.
BACKGROUND: Ten years ago, after eagerly reading through The Secret, I began to apply the principles day in and day out. I loved the Lord, and when I read scripture in the book it jumped off the page and I clung to it. I thought, “Wow, I have never thought about that verse in that way.” The verse at hand was Matthew 21:22, which reads: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” You would think it was a good verse to use to drive Bryne’s point home to the faith-based community, specifically Christians. It was for me, but I couldn’t get settled with it and I didn’t know why. Either way, I thought I was reading too deep into it so I continued to apply the principles built on this verse that was misrepresented in her book.
As time went on I began to see one of the big issues with this “law of attraction”; it used God’s words as God’s words to implement quantum mysticism (a set of individual beliefs and practices used to relate ideas of consciousness, intelligence, and the world to the functioning of the universe in our lives) as the primary means by which we achieve our goals and dreams. Please note, my goal here is not to discuss this book at any level of depth. Rather, it is to break down the ideas and concepts that are so prevalent to our culture today, especially within the new age movement, due primarily to books similar to this one.
One reason, in three steps, that I don’t want to “attract what I want…”
Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that”an idol has no real existence,” and that”there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many”gods” and many”lords” — yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (ESV, emphasis added)
“The angel said to the woman, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.'” (Matthew 28:5-6)
When you and I try to “attract what we want by being what we want” we are implying that we are looking for something. We are looking for what cannot be found in this world. It is a joy and a peace that can only be found when we quit trying to manipulate the universe for our pleasure and begin falling the feet of the one who made the universe.
It is at this point that we will be able to fulfill our purpose, to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything [Jesus] has commanded…” (Matthew 28:12-20).
Victoria is a wife, mom, ambassador of Jesus, and a lover of all things that involve learning.