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Tag Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

  • Getting Unstuck from My Thinking Rut

    Posted on October 11, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    Have you ever had the thought, "What's the use? I'm just a stuffer." Or, "What's the use? I'm a just a yeller."

    That may be partially true, but I believe there is more to it than just claiming because we act a certain way, that's the way it will always be.

    Brain research shows that every conscious thought we have is recorded on our internal hard drive known as the cerebral cortex. Each thought scratches the surface much like an Etch A Sketch.

    When we have the same thought again, the line of the original thought is deepened, causing what's called a memory trace. With each repetition the trace goes deeper and deeper, forming and embedding a pattern of thought. When an emotion is tied to this thought pattern, the memory trace grows exponentially stronger.

    We forget most of our random thoughts that are not tied to an emotion. However, we retain the ones we think often that have an emotion tied to them. For example, if we've had the thought over and over that we are "unglued," and that thought is tied to a strong emotion, we deepen the memory trace when we repeatedly access that thought. The same is true if we decide to stuff a thought—we'll perpetuate that stuffing. Or if we yell, we'll keep yelling.

    We won't develop new responses until we develop new thoughts. That's why renewing our minds with new thoughts is crucial. New thoughts come from new perspectives. The Bible encourages this process, which only makes sense because God created the human mind and understands better than anyone how it functions.

    A foundational teaching of Scripture is that it is possible to be completely changed through transformed thought patterns. That's exactly the point of today's key verse, Romans 12:2.

    Scripture also teaches that we can accept or refuse thoughts. Instead of being held hostage by old thought patterns, we can actually capture our thoughts and allow the power of Christ's truth to change them:

    "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 NIV)

    I don't know about you, but understanding how my brain is designed makes these verses come alive in a whole new way. Taking thoughts captive and being transformed by thinking in new ways isn't some New Age form of mind control. It's biblical, and it's fitting with how God wired our brains.

    I can't control the things that happen to me each day, but I can control how I think about them. I can say to myself, "I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts right now. I can wallow in what's wrong and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective to help me see good even when I don't feel good."

    Indeed, when we gain new perspectives, we can see new ways of thinking. And if we change the way we think, we'll change the ways we act and react.

    Dear Lord, teach me to trust You and to believe that even though my situation is overwhelming, You always have the best for me in mind. Give me Your perspective today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on taking our thoughts and actions captive, check out Lysa's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What is one area of your life where destructive thoughts seem to take control? Ask God to show you how to see the good in this area even though you don't necessarily feel good about the situation.

    Start right now, and continue each morning for the next 5 days to pray the verses below over the area of your life you described above. Sometimes changing our perspective requires an initial act of obedience.

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." (NIV)

    Isaiah 41:13, "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (NIV 1984)

    John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 2 Corinthians, Romans, Lysa TerKeurst

  • The Root of My Rot

    Posted on October 3, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 (NIV)

    Recently, a friend of mine really hurt my feelings and I got all bent out of shape. And, honey, everyone in my house knew Mama wasn't happy. I tried everything to usher gentleness back into my tone and my temper.

    I quoted verses.

    I rebuked Satan.

    I bossed my feelings around with truth.

    I even tried to take a nap.

    But none of these activities soothed me.

    What really sent me over the edge though was when one of my people introduced a smell into my home that not even three strongly scented candles could mask. And I am super hyper-sensitive to smells.

    Unfortunately, as the mysterious, awful smell continued to waft through my home, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was or where it was coming from.

    Finally, I realized my daughter had placed a bathroom trashcan in the middle of my bedroom floor so she could toss scraps of paper as she worked on a school project. Something had obviously been thrown away in that forgotten trashcan that had surpassed gross and moved into the final stages of rot.

    Or something had crawled up into that can and died.

    I didn't have the heart to find out what the rot was; I just knew the trash can had to go. Immediately.

    The smell was an outside indication of an internal situation. And the trashcan wasn't the only thing that stunk that night. So did my attitude.

    My reaction was an outside indication of an internal situation.

    The reason I couldn't be soothed by quoting scriptures, bossing my feelings, rebuking Satan, or even taking a nap is because God wanted me to be aware of my stink ... something inside of me that was gross ... a place starting to rot.

    I'd been hurt by a friend and didn't want to confront the issue or forgive the person who had hurt me. I'd stuffed bitterness in my heart and tried to pretend it wasn't there. But the rot was there and the stink from deep within my heart kept spilling out.

    God didn't want me to temporarily mask the situation by feeling better in the moment. He wanted me to address the root of my rot—to see it, admit it, expose it, let Him clean it up, and shut it down. Immediately.

    A little rot can spread fast and furiously if not dealt with swiftly and seriously.

    That's why it's so crucial to pay attention to our reactions today.

    How we react is a crucial gauge of what's really going on inside us.

    When people or issues or situations bump into our happy, it's not wrong to feel annoyed. But if that annoyance leads to a reaction out of proportion to the issue at hand, we can bank on the fact that this eruption has a root of rot.

    Here are some telltale signs of roots of rot:

    • I throw out statements like, You always ... You never ... Why can't we ever ...

    • I start gathering ammunition from past situations to build my case.

    • I use words and a tone outside my normal character.

    • I justify my reaction by pointing out how hard my life is right now.

    • I demand an apology, all the while knowing I should be giving one.

    These are not fun to admit, but here's the beauty of the situation: The quicker we see a root of rot, the quicker we can get rid of the stink and move forward.

    Dear Lord, thank You for bringing to light the rotting areas of my life. Help me to address these areas with Your grace and truth. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more encouragement and practical advice on how to deal with difficult situations, check out Lysa's new book, Unglued. Available now!

    The accompanying Unglued Bible Study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there a situation in your life that you have stuffed down to keep the peace?

    Pray God will show you how to address this situation.

    Power Verse:
    Mark 11:25, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Romans, Lysa TerKeurst

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