Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Teaching Room

One morning in 2010 I had a tremendous “head spin”—the Lord took me somewhere. It appeared to be an “ante” room adjoining His throne room. This is a little teaching room where scribes come to take down the words of the Lord. We are to meet here daily and He will teach me. With the short term memory of a gnat I turned around and forgot, the Lord graciously helps me to "find" it this evening!

The things I cannot understand I will put on the “mystery” shelf. Someday, Lord, You will restore the human spirit and brain to the capacity that Adam had. He could walk and talk with you face to face. My bandwidth has been severely limited because of the fall. Salvation can repair that to some degree, developing relationship with You to an additional degree, actively putting into practice what You teach me will repair me yet more. I will be fully restored only when face to face once again. Here is what was on God’s heart that day and these are the notes I took down.

Healing: There are things about healing which the human mind cannot fathom. First understand that the bottom line is, I, God, am good and every good thing proceeds from My hand.

Time is different in the spirit—actually there is neither time nor distance in the spirit. Now this blows my mind right here...I don't have a place for that! I know how Nicodemus felt. Three sentences out of His mouth and I'm already lost! Sheesh! Time and distance are earthly constructs. I stand outside your time and I wait for the fullness of time. Healing out of time will have ramifications you cannot foresee.

Consequences—sin has consequences. Having to live with the consequences of sin--if forgiveness is received and a clean and contrite heart are maintained--the consequences can lead to maturity and depth of relationship. Consequences are sometimes developmentally necessary. If there were no consequences, a youngster who hurt himself in a foolish act would not have any incentive not to go out and do it again! They serve as a reminder, as a boundary. Remove the consequences and you lose the impetus to mature and deepen your relationship. I would much rather you develop our relationship with Me than be free of consequence, shallow and immature! I choose to put up with your moaning and groaning because I know it is all noise and does not affect the set of your will to lean into Me.
I am so glad that the Lord looks on the heart and doesn't listen to all my kvethching! Consequences are good for me? Okay. Like Arthur Burke says, "I never would have written the script this way, but since You have, I am choosing to believe You see something I don't see, and from Your point of view this is good and right and loving. Therefore, I celebrate Your wisdom from my place of limited perspective."
I am compelled to take some Selah moments and think about these things. If you would like to share your Selah moment with the rest of us, I for one would be grateful.
Blessings, Carol


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,, 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:

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Upside Down Kingdom?

I've been thinking that God's kingdom is rather upside down and backwards. For one thing, up is down in His kingdom. The rich are poor and the poor are rich. The foolish confound the wise. And the one who wants to be great must be servant of all. We are advised to love our enemies and rejoice when they persecute, revile and slander us. We are to work to accumulate rewards in heaven and are not to worry about food or clothing…getting ahead. Now how does that fit with the social norm of being upwardly mobile?

Maybe it is we who are upside down? And maybe backwards?

Ya, the bit about backwards! There was a time when I was asking God why I seemed completely unmotivated—to do anything! I had no energy, and energy I learned comes from joy. I was unable to feel enough joy to motivate myself to do what I needed and wanted to do. How can I be a believer, have Jesus resident in my life, He who is the origin of joy, and not be able to experience enough of it to be able to function, at least to a minimal level? This is serious in light of Nehemiah 8:10, which says that the joy of the Lord is my strength. Not much strength...and the dip stick on my joy tank was reading mighty low! His response to my question was quick. I had no sooner asked than the following verse came to mind.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

Well, if that Scripture is true, I am in some way not accessing or availing myself of resources that I already have. His grace is sufficient, yet I certainly seem unable to boast about or glory in my infirmity! How can I be grateful to God for my infirmities? What needs to be different?

             "The focus." What? Say again, God!

God speaks without words and explains: "Your equation is backwards! My equation reads: Weakness + abiding in My joy = strength. Your equation reads: Strength + abiding in My power = joy.

“You think I should flood your body with strength first, then your life would demonstrate the power of God and you could go about serving others, and that would produce joy. However, that would actually enable your flawed humanity!”

“The belief that you must earn love and belonging is not the truth, but that is your foundation! If I gave you strength and power first, you would have the energy to continue to perform and do good works. You would think and feel that you were demonstrating the power of God, but you would do so from a foundational belief that love and belonging must be earned. Yes, good would happen, but you would also reproduce that foundation in others and perpetuate the erroneous belief that love and belonging go to those who serve Me." Pause for a “Selah” moment.

"I want to give you a new foundation, one built on truth. You were first conceived in My mind—I loved you then and you belonged to me then—only later were you conceived in your mother's womb! I have given you love and belonging from the moment I conceived you in my mind! Nothing you can do will ever make Me love you more—or less!”

This whole business of thinking God thoughts and living God values can turn your life upside down and really mess with your mind! It feels to me like God could make some big changes real fast. He has pulled up all the tent pegs, thrown all the feathers and fur out of the nest and sticks are poking me. I’ve read that eagles make the nest uncomfortable like that just before they make the young fly on their own. Change is in the wind. I have a suspicion some flying lessons are about to be scheduled; it’s a little unsettling! Exciting, but unsettling nonetheless.

How has God messed you up lately? Share with us by dropping a note in the comment box.

Blessings, Carol
Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity, Highly Sensitive
and The Sassy Pants Series