I had a nickname when I was younger. I was called “worrywart” because I worried about everything. I worried about EVERYTHING little or big, weather or sports, sickness and health, future and past. The thing I worried most about was my own life and what was going on inside of me. I had a real uncertainty about my past, present, and future. As I am now older I believe that being adopted has something to do with this, the uncertainty of everything. What got me the MOST worried was when I upset someone and they were angry with me. All I wanted was for there to be peace.
Have you ever experienced anything close to this kind of worry? How about your finances? Ever worry about your kids? How about worry about present-day politics or whether you will get cancer or not? We are worrying people, always have been. You might experience the cousins of worry such as fear, anxiety, even anger. Anger, you see, is an expression of feeling out of control and directing it at self or others often with very little positive consequence as a result. We fret, worry, fear, blow up, criticize, get defensive, or maybe balk at these and go hardline contempt which is the arrogance of a perfectionist looking down their nose at anyone who struggles.
Worry is faith turned inside out. Faith is believing even though you don’t see, taste, touch, or smell. Worry is the inside out version of this where you have seen yet you still don’t believe, you have tasted, you have touched, you have smelled yet you still worry. How is this even possible? It is possible because your brain is a phenomenal instrument that can be used for good or harm.
Every time you worry you create a rut in your brain called a neuropathway. This rut turns into a full-blown gully if traveled often. A gully in your brain is an easy path for a worrisome thought to travel especially if it has been rehearsed for years and years. The opposite is true. If you think something life-giving, true, or faith-driven accompanied by belief, you form a rut. A healthy rut well-traveled over time creates a gully that is easily traveled when a worrisome thought crosses your mind. Now your brain has a fork in the road. The simple difference between producing the action of worry or the action of faith is as simple as taking the right road when the opportunity comes.
Try this: say one healthy thing about yourself out loud. Try it, say one thing out loud that is healthy. Practice this every day for the next 10 days. What will have happened during this short period of time is the phenomenon of changing your mind. The bible calls this the renewing of your mind. By renewing your mind you actually develop the capacity to begin to experience the reality of healthy thinking which leads to healthy behavior, which leads to healthy choices, which leads to better outcomes in your life and world. When worry comes visiting it will find a deeper gully than the worry gully and will travel the faith gully.
What would your life look like if you worried less? How might your anxieties and fears decrease if you were to apply the one healthy thought for 10 days activity? Imagine going through your Sunday night full of faith rather than worry! How about imagining the difficult challenge you are facing in your family when approached by faith instead of worry. How might this change your life? I dare you to try this out for 10 days.
Don’t worry about it!
I get so scared when I write these blogs. Putting a piece of yourself out for the world to see is both exhilarating and exhausting. I would much rather hide and be safe. We are like this you know, you and I. We have the primitive part of our brain called the Lizard Brain (look it up I’m not lying). Apparently this area of our brain is responsible for telling our body that something is about to eat us so be safe. The problem is there are very few things that are going to eat us today yet the Lizard brain still thrives.
If nothing is going to eat us and the Lizard brain still thrives, what does it thrive on? Your Lizard brain and my Lizard brain thrives on anything it perceives as scary. For some of you simply leaving the house feeds your Lizard brain. Others of you the thought of applying for a job, or asking her out, or getting a different haircut feeds your Lizard. Even deeper, the thought of quitting your job to step into a calling, or leaving an abusive relationship, setting boundaries with a controller all feed the Lizard brain.
God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Take that you Lizard Brain!!! With God we can defeat the Lizard brain once and for all right? I wish it were that easy. May I offer you a few practical things to help you defeat this?
Start by identifying the thing you are most afraid of. By merely identifying it and calling it to your conscious mind you weaken the power and make it changeable. There is something powerful when you are fully aware of something. The power lies in the ability to shape and change. God has given each of us a mind to be renewed and this only happens when you call something out of the depths of your mind to the aware part. Once you have it fully in your mind you then have power over it. Find something true that speaks to the fear. If you are unable to find something true, simply google, “what does the bible say about….”, then you can research and fill your mind with something true.
Once you are aware, then fill your mind with what is true, repeat for no less than 28 days. I know I just lost you there. This is how long it takes to cover over the dirt road tracks that have been formed in your brain and to begin to carve out new pathways. Scientists called this concept neuroplasticity, people of faith call this renewing the mind. I promise if you will do this you will begin to see action happen.
Once you have practiced this, you will literally have changed the physiological structure of your brain to where it no longer goes down the old dirt road of Lizard like fear and instead travels the new dirt road of truthful belief.
I had to practice this over and over just to write this blog and publish it. I have a very strong Lizard brain that I have been feeding for years. The only way to defeat it is to run straight at it. Don’t run until you have done your work on the inside first. Do you dirt road re-work, mind renewal then run straight at the fear. Guess what happens when you run right at fear, it dissipates like cotton candy on the roof of your mouth. Then maybe you will begin to step into the future meant for you as you confront fear with truth.
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Benjamin Franklin
If I had one wish I would wish for a map telling me exactly where I am in my life right now. Why this wish? Because if I know where I am I can chart where to go next. How about you would you like to know exactly where you are in your life right now? I don’t mean physically, we are talking about your stage of life, are you where you want to be? If not why?
God teaches us in his book of Proverbs chapter 3 verse 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” How can this help me know where I am? God wants you to trust HIM with all your HEART. You heart is referring to your mind, will, and emotions in other words your innermost being. Trust in HIM with your innermost being such as how you think, choose, and feel.
God wants us to trust HIM and lean NOT on our own understanding. He wants us to think of Him in every situation then HE will direct our path. We don’t have to do life alone, we are to lean on Him in everything. Everything that matters to you matters to Him.
Choose right now to trust God with everything you care about. Tell him about it. Tell Him about your co-worker that bugs you, or your spouse that drives you nuts, or the lack of money in your bank, or your neighbor who has a dog that never stops barking. No matter how big or small choose to trust God right now with it.
Imagine what your life will look like if you took this one part of the Bible and applied it right here right now. Imagine what it would look like to have your path directed? Imagine how this would impact your immediate life.
“End of Construction-Thank you for your Patience”
We are all under construction.
Construction is complete when we die.
Until then show some grace to others including yourself.
Construction is messy!
It is dangerous to believe you are the only one with a mess.
We are ALL under construction.
When we believe we are all in process we treat others nicer.
Next time you get angry or frustrated with someone else, remember they are under construction.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
God knows we worry. He thought of us when He created the birds. You see the birds are our constant reminder that God will take care of us. They sing a song everyday that is a reminder that your heavenly father loves you and will provide for your every need.
Next time you get caught in a worry trap, stop and listen. Listen for the birds. If you can’t hear their song you are too busy or too worried. When you do hear one, focus in and let the tune calm your worry. The birds sing the same song each and every day. The words go something like this, “I love you, I love you, I love you, don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry”. He told me to tell you.
What is one thing you can take from this to calm your worry? Share your story with us!
Resist the urge to blend in.
Blending in is easy and builds the wrong kind of muscles, the easy muscles.
Instead build the weird kind of muscles, the kind that gains the type of results you want anyways. Need some help? Try these as some examples of ways to be weird and build weird muscles:
- Cancel your credit cards and pay them off
- Resist the quicksand of the “not enough” life that social media offers
- Read excellent books
- Be a filler not a drainer
- Rise early and get moving
- Pray often
- Thank at least 5 people a day
This is a start as you set out to be weird.
Because so few people are actually doing this.
What is one thing you can start doing today to break out of the ruts? Share your story here.
Sometimes we end up somewhere different than we intended.
Detours are God’s way of getting our attention to check the road we are on and make course corrections.
Don’t dismiss the detour, embrace the change of scenery.
Ask yourself the simple question, “What can I take away from this detour?”.
When was the last time you encountered a life detour? Were you made aware of a course correction during that time?
Cul-de-sacs stunt growth.
To kill the cul-de-sac you have to go back to the beginning to start again.
Sometimes reverse is progress.
Cul-de-sacs frustrate the one driving and makes passengers car sick.
Cul-de-sacs exist so you will not stay there.
Choose to exit the cul-de-sac the way you came in and get back on the road of life.
Have you ever experienced the round and round experience of a cul-de-sac? I see this most often in workplaces where people are frustrated by the exact same problems everyday. Relationships are a breeding ground for cul-de-sacs as well. Share a time when you were caught in a cul-de-sac and explain how you got out.