I often find myself regurgitating and playing on repeat the memories of my past that make me cringe, feel regretful, and are just downright sad. I suppose man’s propensity to cross over to the dark side is due to that fateful bite of fruit so long ago. I’m learning more and more about the brain and it’s plasticity. It’s fascinating. Thoughts that we think actually create new neural pathways in our brains or deepen the ones that exist and the things we never think about, those synaptic connections, our brains press delete on!
It’s no wonder my mind naturally wants to fall back onto the negative, it’s no wonder that so many of us struggle in our fight for joy, a dark cloud of depression and debilitating anxiety always threatening to rain down on us. We are not meditating on the joyful, positive or happy memories. It’s the things that we wish we said differently, the mistakes we made, the moments of humiliation, the broken heart that crushed us, it’s those that we cruelly allow to play on repeat–and in doing so are fortifying them in stone within our entire being.
We are continually instructed in the bible to meditate upon God’s Word, even morning and night. We are not told to meditate and be present to an empty mind, but to a full mind, full of the goodness of God.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
We are encouraged to take every thought captive, to make it obedient to Christ. It’s so easy to say and so difficult to do. We naturally let our minds, our thoughts and in turn our emotions and our actions run amuck, untrained and undisciplined, like an overstimulated puppy without a master.
I’ve decided to take back my memories by writing a new story. Still a true story, but written from the angle of a woman pre-bite!
I strangely do not remember a lot of my childhood. But starting from as early as I can recall, to today, I can start writing to remember the happy memories, maybe ones that I have to think hard to conjure up. And when I get to the sad things, I’m not leaving them out, because they too are a part of the new story, but writing out what good might have occurred as a result of them. Because it’s often in the moments of suffering, the broken moments, that if we can view them in light of God’s redemptive gospel, we can see that the dying things were not in vain. So when I go to lay my head down at night, instead of the automatic regret reel that begins on auto-play, I can click play on my new rendition, the redeemed version.
I charge us all to take back our stories by starting, what I deem the Redeem Your Story practice. Writing out the the joyful, the ordinarily happy moments, and the redeemed moments of the not only the past, but of the present, as you intentionally bring them to mind. In that, our brains can begin to create new neural pathways of praise!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17