You have a choice of what to do with those words. Do you believe them to be true—because your mom or someone you love in your life said so? Or do you choose to treat those words like trash that must be taken out? You have the power to make that choice over the words spoken into your life because you have the authority over your brain. Too often we forget we have this authority. Some of you don’t realize you have this authority.
Too many people listen to what their brain says and they trust it. You actually believe that what your brain says is real! So when you try to imagine something different—like the truth of those words from your mom or your identity in Christ—this feels impossible because you are telling your brain something differently than what your brain has recorded.
Your brain chatters, mostly chatters regurgitated stuff. This is why you must guard what goes into your brain.
Most of what is in your brain is what you’ve inherited and recorded over time. And your brain doesn’t shut up. Try to get your brain to shut up. Set aside a place and time for quiet. As you are set away, maybe observing something beautiful, what does your brain do? It chatters. Your mind wanders. Your mind goes down some funny—or crazy—rabbit trails. Then you stop yourself down that crazy trail and wonder how you got there and that wondering leads you down another crazy trail of thoughts. Eventually these crazy trails of thought can lead you into deep revelation–or more often it is shame-filled thoughts that too often make you angry. This is another reason why you numb yourself with busyness. You don’t want to hear your brain’s chatter.
Your brain is a chattering machine that regurgitates stuff all the time. Everything ever said to you. Everything ever done to you. All the TV shows you watch. Every experience—good or bad. Every false conclusion you’ve ever come to.
This is why it matters so much what you put into your brain. This is why Paul taught this life principle in Philippians 4:8, Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Some of what you have received has been true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Some of what you have received growing up has not been…right?
You have been given authority over your brain. God-given authority. You are more than what your brain believes. You are a soul designed by God.
Philippians 4:8 makes zero sense if we don’t have power over what we think, this God-given authority. We do have this God-given authority.
2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches us, We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (NLT, what I always use.) The NIV more popularly says, We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. If we didn’t have this God-given authority, the Bible wouldn’t be instructing us to take captive our thoughts. We have this God-given authority.
You have been given authority over your brain. You do not need to follow your brain and believe what it is regurgitating is real. Your brain is able to follow the truth. When you recognize your authority, you can lead your brain. You know, such truth as worthiness is your birthright, Genesis 1:31. And Romans 8:1, So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And this list of truth can go on and on and on and on.
Romans 12:2 emphasizes this, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. See, you have God-given authority over your brain! The behaviors of this world is the garbage your brain is regurgitating. The default setting is to believe the regurgitation. That this is who I am… Don’t be conformed to that any longer!
All the new brain science also confirms this. Science has found that the brain can’t tell the difference between the thing you imagined and the real thing because the same network of neurons is activated. It is the same with our feelings about a real thing or an imagined thing. So when you think on such things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, your brain starts chattering that stuff back to you.
Most of this brain science that intrigues me so is complicated to read. I’m just going to give you this quote from this wonderful book, What Your Body Knows About God by Rob Moll, that breaks down this brain science into my reading language.
God has designed our brains with the ability to change, to be transformed. The apostle Paul exhorts believers to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). This isn’t just a nice suggestion. Andrew Newburg and Mark Robert Waldman write, ‘Intense, long-term contemplation of God…appears to permanently change the structure of those parts of the brain that control our moods, give rise to our conscious notions of self, and shape our sensory perceptions of the world.’ As our brains change–literally with neurons growing, adapting, knitting themselves together–the brain area that deals with anger becomes less active, and compassion for others grows. –Rob Moll, What Your Body Knows About God, p. 26
Wow oh wow is that good news to the soul!
The science behind the work called Emotional Agility found, “Traditional self-help tends to see change in terms of lofty goals and total transformation, but research actually supports the opposite view: that small, deliberate tweaks infused with your values can make a huge difference in your life. This is especially true when we tweak the routine and habitual parts of life, which, through daily repetition, then afford tremendous leverage for change.” –Susan David, Emotional Agility, p. 13. We have authority over our brains! You then can put yourself on that new street to walk down.
Stop you say. Stop with the psychobabble. You think I am saying that I can lead my brain to envision myself as a famous rock star singer. Your faith has to be based on what is true otherwise it is delusional thinking. Me as a famous rock star singer is definitely delusional. It is not possible to be true in my life (ask my family with the woeful genes we’ve inherited!).
What is true about you?
Do you trust your brain? That whatever is in your brain is what is real? Then you have just given authority to anything that has ever been said to you to define who you are. Your brain is regurgitating those lies which have been spoken over your life. When you give your brain this authority you are allowing those lies to become true. When they never were–your brain just regurgitated them! No wonder it has been so hard to imagine being the truth that God says you are. It is hard to undo that crap.
But we have authority over our brain! You are more than what your brain believes. You are a soul designed by God.
For me I choose the truth of what God thinks of me no matter what my brain regurgitates. If my brain doesn’t sync with this, I still choose to believe God’s word. I make these small, deliberate tweaks as I choose to give God more credibility than everyone else. I choose intense, long-term contemplation about God so my brain can permanently change.
My statement of faith here led me to remember a story from over 30 years ago. I was told that a guy I liked didn’t want to go out with me again because I had fat ankles. And I believed it at the time. Proof about the crazy stuff our brain regurgitates even all these years later.
I choose to believe God’s word, to think of whatever is true (like I do have fat ankles but what does that have to do with my date-ability), honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable and to capture other crazy thoughts (like my fat ankles make me unloveable).
This is what I choose. You can choose too. You have this God-given authority!
p.s. Do you know what else your brain can regurgitate on? Those words spoken over you by those people in your life. Those people who are living brave as whole people with boundaries willing to get their hearts broken and still be brave.
Such words like, The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain. Proverbs 10:11.
The words of the godly are like sterling silver. Proverbs 10:20.
The lips of the godly speak helpful words. Proverbs 10:32.
Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:8.
Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24. (May I be healthy and full of this honey!!)
Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. Proverbs 18:20. (May my meal be full of honey!!)
Find these kind of people to be in your life.
(Photo credit: http://theversesproject.com/verses/89/Philippians-4.8, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/38/3a/58/383a58ca477cf05fa7e5049c08e93092.jpg )
This is Part 1 of a series. Read the rest.