Two years ago, I found DNRS. You don’t know what DNRS is, but I’m about to tell you. It’s a program for people who suffer with all manner of chronic illnesses. The principles of DNRS healed me, a miracle of the highest order, I assure you. Just ask the fifty doctors I frequented from all over the globe, some of whom considered the very best in their field, none of whom could identify the foundation of my plight.
DNRS could, though. The source was a brain gone haywire. After years of immense suffering, I began to heal within weeks.
How is this possible? Neuroplasticity. That’s a clunky word. I know. It just means your brain has the ability to change itself. It means that you can quite literally transform your life by shifting the thought patterns in your brain.
One of the first and most important things you learn in DNRS is that your identity never changes, regardless of how you feel or the circumstances around you. At your core, my instructors said, you are healthy. This is who you are. You don’t feel healthy. I didn’t. I felt awful, in fact. I felt like I got run over by a regular bus and a larger bus, at the same time. How could I feel this bad and be healthy?
I was healthy because health is an inherent right of mine and yours. Just like love and joy and peace. They are my identity. We often get wrapped up in feelings. We assume because we feel something, it must be true. It is not true, though. Feelings are not facts. Feeling are neither good nor bad. We choose what to do with them, how we respond to them. Do we accept them as truth or call out their lies?
I assumed because I felt miserable I was unhealthy. The pain, however, was the result of a bad signal in my brain, and I could re-wire my brain by changing the story I told myself.
Your brain changes based on the stories you tell yourself. On one level, I don’t know why God designed the brain this way and I intend to ask him when I see him. I intend to ask God a lot of questions, in fact. I have a running list. I’ve asked Tiffani to place the list in my casket so I will have it on the other side. If, for example, you suffered from trauma at a young age, the stories you tell yourself about people and the world are hard to unlearn. The brain locks these stories deep in its core, and you will need a lot of good therapy and courage to change them. This seems unfair. The good news, though, is that you aren’t enslaved to your stories. On another level, though, this makes total sense. The fact that our brains can change means we have the opportunity everyday to choose heaven or hell, life or death. The choice is ours, and only ours. We’re not shackled to our circumstances.
For years, I allowed my circumstances to write my story. I settled for a story that made me a shell of the human God created me to be. Never settle for a story like this.
God created you to live a great and wonderful story. So, if you’re not living the life you want, change the narrative. Tell yourself a different story. That’s what I did. And, almost overnight, my life began to change.
It sounds too easy and self-helpish. I know. But it’s not. It was Paul who told us hundreds of years ago to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. He didn’t know the science behind his words, but he knew, based on his experience, that you can alter the course of your life by refusing to allow your thoughts to form your steps.
So, what stories are you telling yourself that are not true? What thoughts marinate in your mind that are not from your Creator?
What are you not telling yourself that you should? Who do you want to become? Do you want to become a leader in your church? Your family? Do you want to love people with a greater passion? Do you want to learn and grow in your faith? Do you want to stop judging people or living in fear? Are you tired of swimming in a pool of shame?
Then change your story. Tell your brain what you want it to become. If you are tired of living in addiction, for example, then tell yourself everyday that you aren’t an addict and that you’re stronger than the thing that holds you down, and then act accordingly. If you want to love your spouse more deeply, tell your brain that your spouse is beautiful and you are thankful to God for him or her and that your love for them will never die.
Maybe you don’t feel that way right now. That’s fine. Remember, just because you feel something doesn’t mean it’s true. Sometimes, your brain sends you false signals. You have the power to over-ride them. The truth is you love your wife. You love your husband. Regardless of what you feel.
Again, we’re not talking about self-help here. This is God stuff. God designed our brain. And he designed it to change.
I won’t lie to you and tell you this is easy. It sounds easy. But it’s very hard. Interrupting years of toxic, unhealthy messages feels like breaking an addiction. It feels that way because it is.
The brain, you see, doesn’t assign moral value to narratives. If you tell yourself that you aren’t worthy of love or that the world is a scary place and the most important thing is to stay safe, your brain stores that message and bathes it in a cocktail of emotions.
The message you’re telling yourself is, of course, unhealthy and stunting your growth. Your brain doesn’t know that, though. The more you tell you yourself these things, the stronger that pathway becomes in your brain. So, if you choose to push back against years of hardwired messages, pack a lunch. In your lunchbox, include a bag full of perseverance and another full of courage. You will need both.
Any message not rooted in love and joy and peace is not from God. You are made in the image of the Creator of the universe. The core of who you are, your identity, contains the very essence of God. You don’t have to believe toxic, unhealthy messages. You have the power to change the course of your days, to carve out a new path. You have the ability to transform your life, to peel away unhealthy messages simply by telling yourself new ones.
God will walk with you in this. I believe God walks with anyone who chooses the narrow road, and you feel his presence because as you strive for healing, you’re also striving for God. And that’s the goal, here, is it not? To seek God, to live everyday we have on this earth for him, to try our very best to pull back the layers of shame and fear and guilt and so on, so we can get to the core of who we are.
The core of who we are are is God.
So, off you go. Change the narrative. Stop living like you are a prisoner in the cell of your own mind. You aren’t. You’re free. You’re a child of God. Anywhere you find God, you find freedom, which is everywhere because God is in all things at all times, even the worst and darkest places. You have everything you need to become a man or woman created in God’s image.
Grace and peace. Amen.