Are you discouraged? Do you feel like giving-up? You resolve to do better, only to slip back into your default. You are in good company. Look at what Paul said.
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:19 NIV)
Apostle Paul, the man who had been Saul, the killer of Christians, the changed missionary evangelist, was frustrated because he kept failing. If you keep falling into the habit of worry no matter how many times you pray, I have some good news for you.
First some brain background:
You were born with a God-given temperament. (To read more on temperament click here.) Everyone came from the “factory” uniquely designed by God; then their environment began further “customization.” Since birth, every experience has altered the wiring of your brain. If your mind interpreted people’s reactions to you as loving, friendly, and safe, your brain is wired toward self-acceptance. However, if the world was scary and unpredictable you are wired to watch-out, to anticipate trouble, and to worry.
The good news:
Your brain is still changing. You can rewire your brain so you react in faith rather than fear. Contentment can be your default instead of self-pity. This rewiring is always happening. Every time you remember an event you alter it slightly, even without meaning to. This is one of the reasons it is so hard to get an accurate eye witness account. (Watch this for a humorous example of how concepts can get linked within our brains. Notice toward the end how idea of forgiveness and revenge intertwines the Bible story, “The Chronicles of Narnia” and the movie “Frozen”.)
Therefore, when you practice Paul’s advice: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV), you are training your brain to look for the good rather than the bad. However, did you notice I said practice, not memorize. Do not repeat the verse and then focus on revenge; repeat the verse, then focus on something praiseworthy. To rewire your brain, you have to actually change your thoughts.
I know what you’re thinking: “Great, this just gets me back to the opening with Paul not doing what he wants to do.” True, but I have more good news.
Mental work can have physical results:
In a study with violinists, there were three groups: Group A practiced 15 minutes a day, Group B thought through the music for 15 minutes a day without touching a violin, and Group C did neither. Amazingly, both groups A and B’s left pinkies got stronger.
The more we immerse ourselves in our relationship with Christ, the more Christ-like we will become. Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). As we choose to reflect on our new belief system, we become more like Christ. As we choose to submit our will and our actions to Christ’s control, our brains literally change.
I realize that we have an enemy doing everything he can to prevent our transformation. Click here for practical help in controlling your thoughts. Don’t give up.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)
The good news is that when you renew your mind, your brain physically changes, you are wiser, and your behavior will reflect that your heart is purer. So what do you have to worry about?
The following articles provided information in this post.
- “What You Focus On Is What Becomes Powerful – Why Your Thoughts and Feelings Matter”
- “CAN NEUROSCIENCE HELP US DISCIPLE ANYONE?” by John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California.
- “How Your Brain Is Wired For God”
- The Most Dangerous Word in the World
Jayna will be covering this material and “Policing Your Thoughts, Disarming Satan” in a break out session “Overwhelmed by Worry” at our first Women’s Conference.
We would love to have you attend our first Women’s Conference on June 24-25, 2016 with special recording artist Mike Weaver from Big Daddy Weave.
Meeting our readers would be such a blessing. We hope to see you there!
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