What if I told you, you could retrain your brain and have the best year ever?
A couple of years ago, I listened as several women in a drug rehab program talked about how their drug use had so altered their brain chemistry that it seemed physically impossible to escape the grip of addiction.
I’ve also sat across the table over the years from those who believed the tools for escaping depression, anger, and/or insecurity had been stolen from their toolboxes.
And I’ve battled those sneaky little self-righteous thoughts that slithered stealthily into the crevices of my brain hoping for a chance to hop the next nerve train to my mouth.
Now, I enjoy the Hallmark Christmas movies as much as the next girl, but if I’m home alone, I sometimes nerd out on documentaries. Don’t judge me! 🙂 This year, on my annual Christmas cooking day, I found one that caught my eye. The Brain That Changes Itself played while I cooked. It’s a thousand wonders I didn’t burn everything on the stove. I was mesmerized!
While I peeled sweet potatoes and boiled squash, I learned of a woman whose brain mechanism for controlling proper balance had been demolished by a medication she had taken. She continuously wobbled back and forth and described her confused brain as a constant chaotic noise. Her whole existence had become a frustrating, deafening balancing act.
Researchers studying the brain’s ability to retrain itself developed a device that, when placed on the tongue of the balance-impaired patient, could receive information from the body’s motion sensors. Proper signals then traveled to the brain. This resulted in amazing stillness and proper balance. They soon discovered that after using this device patients could maintain their balance for a short time even after the device was removed. With every session, this residual effect increased until the brain created its own alternate pathway for achieving proper balance. The brain rewired itself, and proper balance was restored.
It amazes me even more that Paul spoke about this rewiring even before anyone understood the meaning the words neuron, synapses, or electrical impulse. He told the Romans, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) To the Corinthians he said, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
I am convinced that every thought and action can be transformed when we choose to retrain our brains. God has placed amazing capability within us. So, don’t tell me,
“I can’t forgive.”
“I can’t stop smoking, drinking, using drugs, or eating way too much.”
“I can’t get my finances under control.”
“I can’t stop judging others.”
“I can’t stop complaining.”
“I can’t control my temper.”
“I can’t love people who don’t think like me.”
Have I hit a nerve yet?
Transformation is a process of planned steps. It rarely happens in an instant. God is in charge of the process, but the first step is up to you. I pray that your chains of captivity become so heavy that you decide to finally do whatever it takes to relieve your pain or the pain you’re causing others. 2017 may be the year you decide to change. You can change if you decide to retrain your brain.
Being in the Word every day and reading through the entire Bible with fresh eyes will become the biggest piece of your transformation process. You will slowly and systematically begin to change your perspective. You’ll begin to see things and people through God’s eyes instead of your own. I want to challenge you to find a Bible reading plan that suits you. If you do this I PROMISE you will experience more and more freedom with every passing day. By December 2017 you’ll be jumping out of your shoes with excitement over all God’s done for you!
Here’s a link to the plan I used in 2016: One Year Bible. This one includes a short devotional by Larry Stockstill, a passage from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, a Psalm, and a couple of verses from Proverbs. You don’t have to use this one. There are hundreds of ways to approach reading the Bible. You might find one that suits you by clicking here. It doesn’t matter which one you choose; just choose one! Day by day you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Every single addiction, negative emotion, bad habit, and/or blatant sin can be combated by dousing it daily with the Word of God! Give the Spirit a chance to do His thing.
The second piece of the process is time spent in prayer. Reading God’s words will help you become more aware of God’s presence. Talk to Him throughout the day. Consider writing out your prayers so you can go back and record how they were answered. This will boost your confidence in God’s power to change your heart and mind. If you need resources on prayer, click here or click here.
Decide today to take every thought captive and be transformed by the renewing of your mind! God did not give you a spirit of timidity. He gave you one of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20)
P.S. If you’d like to nerd out for about an hour, here’s a link to The Brain That Changes Itself: