Recently on Middays, I spoke with brain science expert, Dr. Timothy Jennings. We explored the impact of fear on our physiology, and on our mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We cannot underestimate the destructive impact that un-dealt-with fear has on our lives.
Dr. Jennings writes:
Fear is an intruder, an unnatural invader, like a flesh-eating bacteria—ravaging and deforming all of creation.*
That’s a strong statement, yet absolutely true.
How does that play out in our everyday lives?
All sorts of ways.
From jealousy and control, to self-sabotage and self-preservation. From reactionary anger to destructive passivity. Fear is a bully and a liar and a thief.
In his book, The God Shaped Brain, Dr. Jennings tells the story about a man who was told he had liver cancer and had only three months to live. The man died in three months. And, when they did the autopsy, they realized he’d been misdiagnosed. He had a small tumor that could have been taken care of. The man didn’t die from stage four liver cancer, but from believing he did.
What we tell ourselves about God, about our fears, and about our circumstances has massive implications. That’s why it’s hugely important to challenge some of the thought structures that we’ve built up over time.
Your brain is in constant flux and it’s possible to change the way you think (and it’s imperative that you do so if you’re stuck in a rut of destructive thought patterns), which, in due time, will change your physiology.
Imagine, if you will, a new you, three months from now. Your instinctive thoughts no longer wander to the ditch of rejection, self-contempt or insecurity. Think it’s not possible?
It’s not only possible, it’s a promise right out of scripture. You will be transformed by changing the way you think.
Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.
So how do we move away from fear and other life-killing thought patterns to a more healthy, restorative mindset?
Dr. Jennings offered some practical advice:
- Worship a God of love and reject God-concepts that induce fear
- Regularly think on aspects of God’s character of love, at least 15 minutes a day
- Be truthful and eliminate all falsehood from your mind (I’m ugly, I’m gross, I’m unlovable)
- Live to give. Actively seek to help others
- Establish relationship with people of loving, mature character; and terminate destructive, explosive relationships
- Trust God with your life and outcomes. Choose to fulfill your own responsibilities in harmony with a clear conscience and God’s will, and then TRUST God with how things turn out.
- Live in harmony with the physical design protocols for life (sleep, diet, exercise, avoid toxins, etc.)
- When mistakes are made, resolve guilt as soon as possible; don’t hold on to anger or grudges as such emotions activate the body’s inflammatory cascade
- Resolve fear, as unremedied fear truly destroys*
So, I issued a challenge to my listeners and I’m challenging you as well!
I dare you to take 15 minutes a day and give yourself some time and space to think thoughts about God’s goodness and about His great love for you. Make time every day for one week and then email me at Middays@MyFaithRadio.com and we’ll send you a surprise book from our Faith Radio shelf as our way of saying, “Well done!”
If you want to see real change in your life, make it a practice for the next thirty days and see if you don’t notice a radical change in your perspective and overall sense of well-being. The Holy Spirit will help you apprehend the truth about God and walk in it.
Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love (1 John 4:18 VOICE).
There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. Make the choice to lay hold of God’s precious truth today. It’ll set you free.
*Excerpts taken from Dr. Jennings’ book, The God Shaped Brain