Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Joy Starters

I’m so excited about this new project I can hardly stand it! Learning fascinating new stuff is one of the greatest joys of writing!

Recently I was asked to join a multifaceted writing project. Shepherd’s House, http://www.lifemodel.org, a counseling and training ministry, is behind the creation of a leadership training project called THRIVE. The training literally trains the brain how to remain relational regardless of what is going on.You train your brain in all the skills you need to return to a state of joy from scary or upsetting feelings. Joy is defined as “happy to be with you.” There is also some teaching because as an American you want to know the what, why and how of things!

Training is different than learning. Learning is cramming information and concepts into your head. Training is developing reflexes—doing something over and over again until it becomes automatic, a default response.

It turns out that your brain functions best in an environment of joy! You might think, “So…?” So, the problem is that joy is often in short supply. Far too many don’t have the brain skills needed to get them to joy much less back to joy from scary stuff. “And why is that” you ask? It is because brain skills are passed on from your parents or care givers. If they don’t/didn’t have those skills, or were not inclined to interact with you as a little one, it is highly unlikely that you will get them on your own.

Where you experience trauma your brain shuts down—it is overwhelmed and cannot process what is happening. It will store the traumatic data somewhere and come back to process it later when it is safe and you have the resources to process with. But during this shut down there were skills that you should have acquired, leaving a developmental hole. Following this traumatic time you will avoid coming even close to the emotions that were happening at the time of the trauma. The brain screams, “Pull up! Pull up! Avoid!”

You say you want relationship but somehow relationships never seem to work out…or you self-sabotage. People wonder at your behavior, why you run the other way, or why you fall off the wagon yet again.

Is it possible? Could it be that the solution to these chronic relational problems is to train or retrain the brain and give it the skills it needs to do relationship?

Scripture says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. But loving God or loving another person means that there is a relationship. If satan can create enough chaos and/or trauma in your life, you will miss out on acquiring these essential life skills. If your brain does not have the skills needed for relationships satan can separate you from the love of other people and from the love of God. You will feel like you cannot hear God; that you are unworthy. It is not the truth of course, but that is how you feel nonetheless.

Training in the the brain skills of relationship could revolutionize the Church! Can you imagine a church full of joy filled people? Can you imagine committee meetings where individuals have the skills and the maturity to disagree and still remain relational? Can you imagine youth feeling safe enough with adults to seek their wisdom as the youth is learning how to come back to joy from his or her scary places?

The THRIVE relational brain skills also work on the factory floor and in management…it rebuilds people. It results in leaders and authority figures that can lead, supervise or manage from the authority that is who they are rather than the title they put on and wear. And the neat thing is that when you acquire these skills you can not only use them at home but pass them along to extended family, friends, co-workers…you too can be a joy starter!

For more about THRIVE training go here: http://www.thrivetoday.org/

By Carol Brown
Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive
Sassy Pants and Sassy Pants Makes Amends

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