Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 2
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
Author: Steve Backlund
++The content of this blog post was found originally on Igniting Hope Ministries blog, July 2017. Used with permission.++
(Chapter excerpt from Wendy’s new book, Victorious Emotions.)
Click to read Creating Pathways in the Brain, Part 1!
While on this journey to take every thought captive, I discovered that often it is harder to sacrifice our beliefs than our actions. For instance, when God told me I was powerful and an overcomer, I argued with Him. I was inadequate, shy, and timid. I tried to tell Him who I really was, but then one day He said, “Wendy you do not know who you are. You only know that’s not who you really are. You are powerful. You are an overcomer.”
Who I had become was based on false conclusions I had drawn about myself from a few negative emotional experiences I had rehearsed until they created deep pathways of beliefs in my brain. My identity as someone who was inadequate came because it seemed that everyone had more talent, more understanding, more confidence, and more resources than me.
I believe I developed this false identity by being the youngest of six children. I was always less able in everything I did because I was comparing myself to my older siblings. My identity as an inadequate person was based on the outside realm of my experience. But when God started talking to me about my feelings of inadequacy, He said, “You can either get your identity from your past experience or from the Word. In which of these will you have more faith?”To make that choice, I realized I needed to know what the Word said about my identity. It says I am a new creation and that I can do all things through Christ. God said I had to believe with my whole spirit, soul, and body that those words were true. I had to anchor my new beliefs in the unseen reality of God’s realm and live to live from that truth.
In actuality, our brains do not know who we are. Our brains can only create a sense of identity based on what they have been told, what they have imagined, or what they have experienced. It is crucial that we teach our brains to not get our identity out of our experiences. Children do not initially get their identity from experience. If they did, we would have a lot of very depressed babies all around us because for the first year of life, babies seemingly do nothing but fail. They try to grab things and fail, they try to talk and fail, they try to crawl or walk and fail. Why are they not stressed out and depressed? Because they are totally convinced they can do whatever their parents can do! They are getting their potential and identity from their parents, not from their experience.
Tragically, most of us move from this correct stance to the devastating belief that we are what we experience. It happens when someone first calls us by our actions Instead of saying that was a bad action, we are called bad. Instead of being told we are a brilliant child who just did a stupid thing, we are called stupid.
It is time to take our identity back. As it says in Genesis 1:26, we are created in His image and that is where we must get our potential and identity. We must renew our minds and convince ourselves of this new identity. To do this, it is helpful to think of our negative beliefs and emotions as results of incorrect data that was fed into our computer-like brains that failed to correctly process life. We need to teach our brains to process everything through the truth of God’s Word. Let’s learn how to create emotional beliefs on purpose.
One of the reasons I had failed to build any positive strongholds was the false belief that rehearsing positive experiences would result in pride. Therefore, I had a very unhappy mind because I only rehearsed negative events with emotionally charged thoughts. I never rehearsed positive experiences with emotionally-charged thoughts because I thought it was prideful or wrong. I hardly ever celebrated myself, so I never built positive emotions about myself. My brain had become a negatively-charged computer looking for negativity. I had to look for something different to see something different. I am still in the process of learning to celebrate things I do well so I can build more positive, happy, hope-filled strongholds (or pathways) about my identity and life. My goal is to build a happy brain!