Mel Wild has been doing a whole series of posts on joy Check them out, they’re all wonderful. He has touched on some issues around our brains, how babies bond with their mothers, and how our hearts and brains learn how to connect, relate, and how to experience joy.
Love conquers all, joy is a fruit of the spirit, and we heal best in the Lord, with community all around us. So I want to just testify to that truth, to the wisdom to be found in the bible when He tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.“
The renewing of the mind, also known as rewiring the olde hardrive, or reprogramming the glitches in your mind and spirit.
So the world gets a hold of us or parents fail us or circumstance rain down on us, and we wind up wounded, broken, our hearts and brains malfunctioning. Well actually, given our experiences, our brains are functioning precisely as they should be. PTSD for example, is a beautiful response to an intense crisis that actually protects our very souls, but as anyone who has ever experienced it knows, it’s also a really inconvenient left over to have once the crisis has long passed.
Our actual brain chemistry changes when we are wounded and we can wind up with fear, anxiety, depression, addictions, you name it. These can be real strongholds, in part because they involve the mind, body, and spirit all together and become physically rooted in our brain chemistry.
When this happens we can have a really hard time walking in joy and receiving His love and healing. We sometimes call the Lord “the Great Physician” because His love heals, transforms us, and restores what is broken. He came to set the captives free, to heal the broken-hearted.
If you are like me, you may not even be aware you are a broken-hearted captive. I’m a real survivor and a stoic, and also a caregiver, so like you know, we ain’t got no time for these problems, and we’ll tend to run a bit like the energizer bunny until we finally just faceplant, depleted and broken.
I come from so much dysfunction and crisis, and continue to be surrounded by it even today, that my brain chemistry simply adapted to that kind of high energy that is mostly negative. I’ve had to really lean into the Lord and allow Him to renew my mind. And then let Him do it some more. And some more. And as the bible says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
He is faithful and steadfast and His promises are true.
A while back there was this epic storm in my life, just everybody I turned to and relied on either died, packed up and fled town, or seriously betrayed me in some major way. It was intense and kind of spooky really. So as I was sitting with the Lord surveying the storm damage, I just felt such a sense of peace, and then this joy bubbling up, and this gallows humor that said, good grief, for a woman with major trust issues, rejection issues, abandonment issues, fear issues, you seem surprisingly intact. Which one of your buttons has not been pushed, which one of your issues has not been triggered? It was really true too, not a single stone was left unturned, and yet my brain chemistry was not reacting as it once had, and all was well with my soul.
In fact, this cop actually chewed me out at the time, this hurting man who was offended by my grace, who thought I didn’t care, who actually said, “and you just stand there with this weird joy stuck on you.” I am so sorry dude, that we could not finish the conversation and that you thought I didn’t care. I care deeply, I have just learned that my caring is so much more effective from a place of peace and grace, standing in the Lord’s strength and not my own.
And the enemy who often nips at my heels said, “so what are you going to do about it all?” because he always tries to pressure me, and I knew immediately that all I was going “to do” was praise the Lord and lift His name on high.
Thank Him even, for sending me this beautiful storm, these epic crashing waves, and this “weird joy stuck on me,” because that was such cut and dry evidence of the Lord’s power to heal, of how His work in renewing our minds really does heal and restore us. “The joy of the Lord is my strength,” also in the bible.
When I was younger in my faith, before my mind had been renewed fully, my brain chemistry and heart mode would have gone into scramble mode, anxiety and panic mode, fearful, reactionary. No doubt I would have tried drinking heavily, even though I know my demons swim really well, and being chased by a bunch of wasted demons is even worse than being chased by the sober ones. Drinking heavily has never worked out very well for me on account of the fact that I’m not very good at it. But I would have tried.
I also probably would have run because I am at heart a runaway. I would have most assuredly flown into a creative rage and torn down what I had tried so hard to build, because I myself can even just become the storm, wildly destructive and prone to self sabotage.
But none of those things happened, because none of those things are who I am today, because He really does heal and make new creatures of us, by the renewing of our minds, and His mysterious love for us. There is life giving power in the name of Jesus.
Above I said, “Love conquers all, joy is a fruit of the spirit, and we heal best in the Lord, with community all around us.” That’s what we as the church need to become, a place of refuge and community where people are safe to allow the Lord to renew their minds, to introduce them to the power of His joy. Sadly, where I live a lot of people don’t have that, and a lot of our churches fail to provide that, and as a result people are suffering deeply, gravely, tragically.
That is my task, that is my problem, that is my agenda, that is my vision for this area. I want to be able to see the body of Christ here thriving, reaching a hand out to others, and inviting people into His joy.
People need to come alongside this mission, Christians need to come alongside this mission, because I really believe it is the Father’s will for this area, and what He starts, He will always finish.
It’s a done deal.