The wise Creator Jesus put together the intricate and glorious human being who he created in his image. That truth is loaded with glories to be mined from living life while seeking the Kingdom of God.
God conceals many things and it is the glory of kings to seek them out.
Proverbs 25:2 (CSB) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter.
Over the past 5 years, I have been on a physical and spiritual journey from beginning to break down, to breaking, to beginning the process of healing. As my counselor has helped me to see with the illustration of metal fatigue (the breaking of metal when it is not properly maintained) that humans can break without proper maintenance. As metal fatigues and breaks without proper care, the human will break without proper care.
There are many things I was never taught, and it simply was either not known or ignored. One missing truth in my world was the emphasis on seeking out the “how” of matters that were not explicitly taught in the Bible.
So much of what is true about God’s creation was condemned as unbiblical, as though God’s purpose in the inspired and inerrant Scriptures was all the nuance of how he wove creation together. God simply did not tell us some things, and he left them for his kings and queens in creation to search them out. Let me be clear. When I say kings and queens, I mean men and women who have been created to live in and manage created order and have been redeemed from the curse of sin through faith in Jesus and given the Holy Spirit as counselor and helper. These have been given the mind of Christ, and these have all they need to seek out what God has hidden for them to find.
I have overlooked the importance of human maintenance to my own detriment, and it has taken the breaking of my body and soul for me to see that just as metal must be maintained for it to be useful for a lifetime, how much more is this true for the person? It is good management of creation to maintain and care for ourselves as human beings.
Do you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is continually being painted? They start at one end, and by the time they finish, they start over at the beginning to repaint? Why? The salt air continually assaults the bridge’s metal and eats away at the protection, and if it is not continually painted and protected, the bridge will begin to be weakened by the outside assault of the air until it would crack and break and become no good to anyone.
We as humans are like the Golden Gate Bridge. We need continual maintenance, and if we ignore that maintenance that God ordains, we will break, and it’s harder to put things back together than to maintain and prevent breaking. I’m convinced that part of Sabbath is the maintenance of our souls as well as our bodies with intentional tasks that restore and heal.
God gave us our minds. The mind is not the brain. The mind of mankind is our being alive, created in God’s image, our soul. God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living “being”. The Hebrew word there is so deep and nuanced that it contains every component of what it means to be alive and made in God’s image. It’s a glorious word. It means that all of us, the physical, the spiritual, and that we are so intertwined that every part of us affects every part of us.
Being this living being, having this mind, gives us the ability to be co-regents with God. The ability to think and reason and know eternal and divine reality is holy and good. The mind is where we think and process and feel. The brain is the physical place that receives the physical manifestation of what is happening in our mind, our soul, and that affects our bodies.
This is what brain science and research are revealing, and it’s fascinating. And even better, God tells us our body and soul are intertwined in the beginning chapters of the Bible. God knew this, created us this way and sent us to search it out as we take dominion over creation. How cool is that?
How we think affects everything. Paul gives instruction to the Philippians to manage their thinking when he says in Philippians 4:8 (CSB) Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things.
What we dwell on in our minds will affect our brains and our bodies.
How can we manage this practically?
I want to share something I’ve learned from my healing and growing that is a continual and ongoing process for me.
Do you know it takes 21 days to establish a new habit, and did you know the human brain that the wise Creator Jesus made can reshape and grow based on how we use it? It takes 63 days to grow new neuro pathways in the brain that moves us from new habits to actual physical brain change that causes habits to become ingrained in how our brains work. That’s amazing, and it’s also some of the hardest work you will ever do. I mean, managing the mind is labor.
This process is called the neuro cycle. You can read about it from Dr. Caroline Leaf if you want to learn more. Just google her name, and it will pop up. All credit to DR. Leaf for what I’m about to share with you. I’m using her process and my words of experience with it. So, check her out and her book if you’d like.
Here is how I’m learning to manage my mind as a steward of creation under the Lordship of the wise Creator Jesus by the counseling of the Holy Spirit.
The neuro cycle:
NOTE: This is not medical advice. If you need to see a doctor, please do so. Don’t read this as prescriptive for treating a medical or mental condition that needs professional attention. Please seek that care out if you need it. It is completely ok to do so, and I needed to do that same thing. This is a soul maintenance exercise I have learned to maintain for the long haul.
Take 15 minutes and do these five disciplined actions to replace lies or toxic thoughts with truth and let the Holy Spirit counsel you.
1. Gather awareness of how you are feeling in your soul by sitting quietly and being aware of how you are feeling: feeling nothing, numb, happy, sad, depressed, anxious. Pay attention to these things. Don’t ignore them. Try breathing deeply in, hold, and out, on a count of your preference. Focus on being quiet and listening.
Proverbs 20:27 (ESV) 27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
Let the Holy Spirit bring awareness to how you are feeling. This is not unimportant. It is vital.
2. Reflect on your feelings by asking “why” questions as to your feelings. “Why am I feeling happy?” and answer the question with the truthful answer.
Take your time. Don’t rush this process. God is not in a hurry, and you shouldn’t be either.
C.S. Lewis used this to question his temptations to sin. He would ask the temptations questions to get them under control. We should learn from that wisdom.
3. Write down your answers to your “why” questions.
This is important in the body/brain connection. The Wise Creator Jesus constructed us so that when we write, using our language and order, we ingrain what we are thinking and learning.
I have a cool thing I could show you with a string and a bol, but this is a blog post, and I can’t show you now. But it illustrates how the nerves in our fingers are attached all the way to the brain and how what we think affects things all the way down to our fingertips. It’s insane. And this is how the Wise Creator Jesus put us together. Wow, he is worthy!
The brain rewires itself and drives thoughts deeper as they are connected to the body’s movements. This is why writing has such a profound impact on learning.
The fingertips are loaded with neurological connections to the brain that will blow your mind. Journaling is a big help here. So, give it a try.
4. Reconceptualize outcomes. If the feelings are negative and the “why” answers are negative, reframe the thoughts into holy possibilities. Put Philippians 4:8 into practice.
Focus on rooting out lies and ideas we have generated from ruminating on negative thoughts. Think about what is right and good and holy.
NOTE: During this process, it is important to be honest with ourselves. The Holy Spirit will help you distinguish between truth and lies. There may be things we need to change and he is bringing those issues of repentance to mind. There may also be toxic ideas buried that other people planted with words intended to hurt you while using Christian language and Bible verses, and these are particularly hard to root out, but the Holy Spirit will help you do that.
Don’t forget that we are also fighting a real spiritual enemy in Satan whose goal is to lie, propagate lies, and accuse us before God.
It is imperative to fight Satan’s lies with truth.
Take your time. Listen and be patient.
Don’t skip this last step.
5. Actively reach. This is where we practice Philippians 4:8 in fellowship by repeating the truths to yourself (out loud) and then sharing them with someone you trust and love.
Tell a trusted friend about what you are working on and how God is at work in you. This reinforces the truth and helps to literally change the shape of our brains as it rewires itself according to the truth. This is also the place where the Holy Spirit will help you know what is true and what is not true.
It’s is amazing how helpful it is for a trusted friend to affirm or gently help you correct thoughts and actions.
I hope this helps you. If you do this naturally, then great! If this is a new habit for you and you sense that you need to give this a try, then go for it. This has been transformational for me, and I trust it can be for you as well.