Behavior, Brain, Christ, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Common Sense Christian Counsel, God, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spirit, Thought
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is so easy, at a certain age, to look back over your life with regret for choices you’ve made, and choices you didn’t know you could have made. Sometimes the past comes up behind us, taps us on the shoulder, and says “Hey, I’m not as far away as you thought!” And interrupts whatever mindless task we may be doing in the moment. Having had a series of what I call ‘trained-monkey jobs’ I have had a lot of time to think; too much time, if the thinking is always negative. It takes a great deal of mental strength to change your thinking, especially once you’ve already headed down the wrong path. Unfortunately, the beginning of that path is usually located in the subconscious regions of our brain, down with all of the stored memories and accompanying emotions.
This is why it says in the Word of God that there is a division between our soul and spirit, like a membrane, and if we strengthen ourselves spiritually, it will have a direct impact on our soul. A membrane is not a solid wall; it’s porous, like a filter, yet firm, like a boundary. We are affected (or infected) from the outside in; we heal and grow from the inside out. Our spirit is where we lay the foundation for outward change; it’s why others get so impatient during our personal growth processes. God is at work below the surface; what people see are residual behaviors and attitudes.
Years ago, it was believed that we were hard-wired in our thinking at an early age, and there was little hope for change; most therapy was aimed at behavior-management. This gradually changed, as research discovered what we now call neuro-plasticity: the regrowth of cells and the natural ability of the brain to rewire itself, so to speak. The myelin sheath, which protects nerve endings, can be regenerated; the regrowth of fibrin is critical to regeneration. Nerve endings, which is where synapses occur (transmission of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, etc.) are repaired as the body utilizes proteins found in the blood stream. If one part of the brain is destroyed, the remaining parts can be trained to compensate, to a degree, for the lost functioning of the part affected by trauma.
So, what does this mean on a practical level? It means that while we now have cognitive-behavioral therapies aimed at changing our thinking, in order to produce socially acceptable behaviors, our spirit still gets neglected in most counseling sessions. The world of evidence-based science has not considered the impact of a strong and healthy spiritual life, nor do they know how to measure it. It means that when we go to others for advice, counsel, or treatment, we have to remember that a large part of our healing lies in how much time we spend in the Word, whether we understand it or not, and that study is essential to healing. Time spent in prayer and meditation can do what traditional therapy cannot. Over time, we will look back and realize we have less regret, our choices become wiser, and the result is evidenced in changed thinking, attitudes, and consequently, behavior. We cultivate the mind of Christ and reflect the nature of God until we become more like Him, and more like who we were created to be. This is what makes us a blessing to others; it stabilizes us, and creates peace, in spirit, soul, and body. It literally reduces inflammation and allows for the natural healing process to take place, within our spirits, souls and bodies, and eventually in our choices and even in our relationships. And that, my friends, is what evidence-based practice should look like. Have a blessed and thought-provoking day, people.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12