Do you ever wish God would root out your character defects at the snap of a finger?
Dr. Curt Thompson says that while God can and will work miracles in our lives, He usually doesn’t rid us of our character defects over night.
“If it were up to me, I would much more prefer that God would act like a surgeon. He could give me anesthesia, put me to sleep, and do some sort of spiritual surgical procedure on me. Then He could wake me up three or four hours later and I would be completely transformed.”
However, God doesn’t usually do that; He takes a much more methodical approach.
“Instead, He seems to behave much more like a rehab specialist. He has me fully conscious and we are going to work this spiritual joint or spiritual muscle group and we are going to continue to work on it no matter how long it takes, because there is a seriousness with which He takes this entire process.”
It would be so much easier for God to just magically fix us, and it’s still a possibility. However, God wants to teach us to rely on Him as He helps us overcome our difficulties.
Curt says that just as our character gets shaped and healed over time, so do our bodies.
“Say if you cut your finger off six millimeters from the end of your finger tip, it would probably take about six months for you to get full feeling back on the tip of your finger. The neurons are able to grow, but they do tend to grow slowly.”
We don’t have to worry about being patient and waiting for these changes to take place over time. God made us exactly this way, He’s not wagging His finger at us wondering why we aren’t changing faster.
“Here’s the good news. Jesus is not worried about the way He made you. He’s not worried about the fact that these changes take time.”
When we take time to wrestle with our shortcomings and share them with others. Curt says it literally rewires our brain.
“When we do that, those changes become substantial and durable, literally, and the neural network changes in our brain.”
Curt Thompson is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia. He is also the founder of the Center for Being Known, a nonprofit organization that develops resources to educate and train leaders within the fields of mental health, education, business and the the church about the intersection between interpersonal neurobiology and Christian spiritual formation. He is the author of Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships.
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