Our childhood experiences, our biology, and our spiritual beliefs all contribute to our present makeup. In our struggle to overcome negative feelings like depression, anxiety, or anger, we need to remember that our psychological and biogenetic past cannot be changed. But listen to this crucial principle, the way we view our past can be changed as we use the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to change our spiritual condition. Then our psychological and biological present and future can be altered, improved, and actually renewed. Thank You God!
If we draw our identity from the cluster of negativity around us … feelings of anger, helplessness, insecurity, hopelessness, isolation, being overwhelmed, and perhaps even suicidal thoughts … rather than from our true identity as a “new creation in Christ Jesus,” then indeed, we are continually being sucked into a black hole of despair and lies. We are easily trapped in a self-reinforcing belief system about ourselves: I’m worthless … there is no hope … God doesn’t care about or know me. And by the way, this is exactly where Satan would like us to be.
Healing can start when we recognize that our problem is not anger or childhood abuse or even “depression.” Our problem is really that the lenses we use to view ourselves are based on misinterpretations and distortions we’ve developed from our past experiences coupled with the world’s interpretation and teaching of who we are. This just reinforces a self-identity of a worthless, inadequate, disconnected, incompetent person with an uncaring and distant God.
Just like an enemy trying to brainwash a POW, Satan’s plot as the Great Deceiver is to brainwash us. And he starts the day we are born. His goal is to establish strongholds of lies in our heart. And being very gullible kids, we walk easily into most of his traps. Maturity is being able to undo these lies, insert the truth, and act on it. We all are works in progress, because the lies start early and go deep. It would be nice if we received a lobotomy or brain transplant when we were saved. But God has a “slower, but richer” process instead of the immediate, no-effort-on-our-part surgical process that we would like.
Only when we let the power, love, and redemptive grace of the Christmas and Easter stories form our lenses will we learn our new identity based on the truth of God’s Word. When our lives begin to revolve around an understanding of God, life, and our own self-identity based on faith and guided by the Bible’s rich instructions, we can begin to overcome depression and all the psychological baggage that interfere with our perspective and functioning. Then our mind, and our actual brain circuitry, becomes renewed. A slower, but more powerful brain transplant.
Today, identify a couple lies about yourself from the old brainwashing tapes that play in your head. Instead of seeing yourself as worthless, or the opposite – the master of your life, begin to view yourself as a child of God, a shining star, His chosen and beloved. The characteristics of that new self-identity are based on faith in Christ, and can include surrendering to God’s purposes … kindness … pure love … goodness. While reaching for truth … courage … fortitude … and determination to keep going based on who God is, not on who we are. The brain you have is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, help me to stop focusing on the swirling symptoms of anxiety, depression, or addiction that surround me like debris around a black hole. Help me instead to focus on Jesus and on what He has done for me. Help me to remember that I am a new creation in Him. I wish I could see clearly. Help me un-brainwash all the large and small lies I have absorbed from my childhood. Let me slow down during the day, exercising patience and self-control, so I can see the situations You bring into my life more clearly. Please help me break my narcissistic, me-centered view and instead choose a God-centered view of my life. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One you sent to give me hope, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14