Skip to main content

Don’t Get Caught In A Rut

By March 27, 2023June 7th, 2023No Comments

I am heartbroken! Recently, a family member had irreversible elective surgery to feel more at home in her body, but years of looking in the mirror have taught me that surgery will not cure that feeling. It’s not the body that needs a change but the mind. The question is not whom do I see in the mirror, but whom does God see? There is a Scripture verse that I have adopted over the last five years: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). I was caught up in many destructive habits and patterns in my life: pornography, bitterness from divorce, alcohol, critical judgments, and other thought patterns influenced by the world. It took bowing down to the Lord and submitting my life in a way I’d never done before.

The desire to transform my life was not without hard, challenging work.  Another Scripture continued to inspire me: Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” I started reading intensely about the mind and the habits I had developed over many years. I questioned what society and culture had taught me and the small nuances ingrained in my mind as opposed to what God’s Word says about how I should live. Transforming my mind took on a new meaning as I studied neuroplasticity and how a lifetime of bad habits created ruts in my neural pathways that act as a go-to switch when certain events occur. I mentioned in another article the other day that deleting these “ruts” is impossible. Replacing them is needed; filling my mind with Scripture and suitable alternatives is what it took. Creating new habits like reading my Bible and devotionals each morning and praying the way God instructs has taken hold.

I also had help. Covenant Eyes Ministry; Samson Society; DivorceCare; counseling from Megan; discussions with friends like Denise, Diana, and Elizabeth; messages from my pastors: Kerry Shook, Lee Strobel, Paul Looney, and Chris Bell; and most importantly, my small group.­­­­­­­­­ Breaking free of these destructive patterns and thoughts took constant work, and it was and still is a 24/7 task that never ends. These days I’m working on two other cultural practices rooted in my life: envy and people-pleasing. Envy is wanting what others have or to be like others; people-pleasing is wanting to be “liked” by everyone. Working on these two is the most challenging because our culture has persuaded me that this is the standard way of living. Jesus led a life countercultural to his society and is showing me that I must do the same in mine. Here’s a test to see if you are countercultural: for a week while driving, take full, complete stops at “STOP” signs, and do not exceed the speed limit. Your emotions will surprise you. Let’s start living a Jesus “life” and abandon what the world has taught us. I’m in. Are you?