I have been thinking a lot about Jesus this week. Not because Christmas is 3 days away. But because He's teaching me so many things that I just have more and more questions about living this life on earth. Before his return I want it to make a difference in pointing others to his powerful love and compassion for us.
I asked John the other day if he thought people (which includes him and I) could truly believe the gift of salvation includes living in more freedom and less shame? He said that the issue is that we all are so focused on the problems around us that we forget the victory of the cross. I want to push back and say, yeah, but what if we didn't? What if we focused more on the victory and less on the current issues we face? He said that it seemed like the challenge for sure. And wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be more like that? I agreed and said, yep we have this brain thing that likes to focus on problems in order to protect us and keep us safe.
What if I would try God as my protection by spending more time creating a neural pathway directly to him and override my brains quick nervous system response when I see trouble?
I'm discovering that God made me with this unique ability to not only see the glass has half full but that I have a lot of glasses to pour from. I used to not be this way. I loved playing "devils advocate" when I was in high school. If someone said something I would always have a counter opposing argument at my ready to blast them with. Sorry, if you are anyone who received said tongue lashing from my very teenage rebellious spirit.
This unique ability is something that helps me override a lot of negativity. I have the strength of believing that God is in control of it all. And so often when my normal human brain sees an issue and quickly responds with doom I take a breath and miraculously I see the connection God is working out. I don't know where this power comes from except for believing God made me this way. Even before I truly knew who He was I had this belief that He was going to save me. He was going to save my father and he was going to save my family.
I tell a lot of stories of my childhood. There's a lot of work done in regards to the story I now see, a story about past sins and salvation when each one of my family members went from unbelief in God to belief, and a journey of healing from life's painful attachments to alcohol abuse, eating disorders, painful words and wounded hearts, to forgiveness and healing. Freedom comes in the door of the broken little girls house and heals generational wounds.
On the top of our Christmas tree John purchased this cute light that spins around as the word Joy dances on the ceiling. I want to look up more. Every day I want to discover the Joy I can have instead of the quick reaction to danger in the form of an empty glass. I want to practice relying on God and His grace with my thoughts instead of seeing the guy that cut me off on the on ramp to the interstate. I'm working hard to see how God is showing me to slow down my driving and give other drivers a little more room. I'm learning to pray for them as I'm sure they are trying to get somewhere important. I am learning to see their life as important even when I don't know their story.
We may have a brain that is conditioned to look for warnings and keep us safe, but I also know that when we take a few deep breaths and remind ourselves that there is no real emergency, we can settle in to seeking the beauty of deep breathing and quite moments of peace.
I want to live a life practicing being a witness to miracles and love and less time finding instant fault (thank you lower brain) in my whole food shoppers miss of moldy raspberries because they are working so hard to make sure not to squish the bread. I want to see how hard they are working for their family and the fact that I neither had to shop for nor deliver my own food. That I am connected to my community, and it is an honor to smile and say thank you for the things others do for me while I'm focused on sharing love with my thoughts and my actions.
I want to look up and be reminded that the more I practice thinking about God the less time I have reacting to the things that used to seem so irritating. I'll let you know how I do.
Copyright: Shel Dammann 2023