Based on talk about Heather MacFadyen from God Centered Mom blog.
First things first. Let’s get something straight. You are not going to be perfect. Sorry, not sorry. There is no perfect mom. You have to let yourself off the hook. We all know this. Sometimes our husbands “remind” us that we should “just chill” (not helpful, hon). But if you’re like me, you struggle with the HOW to.
Finding yourself trapped in a negative thought pattern? Maybe you feel lonely, or guilty, or shameful, or angry, or left out? You know that God wants you to have unexplainable joy despite circumstances but that just seems like a bumper sticker slogan to you most days? There’s good news: These negative thought patterns can be undone, they can be rewired.
First, we have to have to recognize the right battle.
Second, we have to create the right thinking.
Third, we will build the right mind.
Life is 10% external circumstances and 90% how we react.
Have you seen Toy Story 3? I haven’t (yet). But as Heather described, there was this bear. Lots-o the Bear. He gets left behind somewhere and then, after a long journey to come home, finds that he’s been “replaced” with another Lots-o Bear. He interprets this as not being loved, as being replaceable, as being forgotten. But in actuality, the kid loved Lots-o so so much, that the parents had to instantly by another one to prevent a meltdown. What was done because he was so irreplaceable ended up making him feel replaceable. Thus, 10% what’s actually happening and 90% our reaction.
What happens is our THINKING controls our EMOTIONS, which control our ACTIONS.
But we have something Lots-o the Bear didn’t. Metacognitive abilities. It’s a big word that means
we can think about thinking. And if we can think about thinking, or control our thinking, then we can control our emotions and control our actions. Our negative thought patterns can be undone, they can be rewired.
Another big word: Quantum Zeno. That means our brain can change based on what we focus on, what we think about. That’s why we can feel trapped in the same negative thought patterns. But the good news is that means with a little work, we can PHYSICALLY change those patterns and make new positive thought patterns.
“Be still and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10. Do you tell yourself that? If you’re like me, when you hear this you picture meditation, sitting on a beach, or lying in a peaceful place. But, as Heather described, in Hebrew “be still” translates more directly as “to drop” and that this verse is taken not from a peaceful time, but from a battle. The Lord was telling them to drop their weapons and let God fight for them. God was describing a SOUL stillness, not a physical stillness.
See the unseen. Scientists now believe there may be 12 dimensions. 12! (Just google “Superstring theory” – it will make your head hurt!) They now think that water molecules change based on how you TALK to it – if you scream or whisper. WHAT?! The spiritual battlefield is real. The battle for our minds is real. This is not a battle won by WILL. It is winnable when the Holy Spirit is in us because He is God and He can fight it for us (for more on this, check out Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God).
The way Heather took on this battle was with the 21 Day Brain Detox by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Here’s a brief overview of the “plan,” but the full plan can be purchased online for $29, which includes Dr. Leaf’s book. (Neither Ridge MOPS nor Heather MacFadyen get anything if you purchase this or any of the books listed in RESOURCES. Just moms helping moms!) Heather uses this as her daily battle plan.
- 3 minute prayer. 1 min each of thanksgiving, praise, and worship.
- 2 minutes of gathering thoughts. Here’s your chance to be metacognitive! Think about thinking. Focus on 1 toxic thought that you often get trapped by. What happens? What do you do? What are your triggers? (We’ll talk about some examples below.)
- 2 minutes of journaling about what you just thought about.
- Think a new thought. Decide what you will actively reach for when the negative thoughts come. Decide where you will build the new road to replace the old one.
Example 1. A common negative thought pattern for Heather (and for me, and probably for most of us) is the Fear of Missing Out (I just learned this is called F.O.M.O. That’s right, it’s so common it has an acronym!) So conquering your FOMO might look something like this:
- Thanksgiving, praise, worship to the Lord. Be still, He’s got this.
- Metacognitive: When I see all my friends hanging out together, without me, on Facebook, I feel left out. I wonder if they are even really my friends. I wonder why they didn’t invite me. Am I not fun? Do their kids not like my kids? Are my kids not likeable?
- New thought: I’m not missing out if I’m in God’s will. So I will focus on being in God’s will today.
Example 2. What other people think when my kid acts out in public.
- Thanksgiving, praise, and worship to the Lord. Be still, He’s got this.
- Metacognitive: When my kid decides to scream and tantrum in the middle of HEB, people judge me. People are looking. People are thinking I’m a bad parent. I should make excuses for my kid, like it’s past lunchtime or naptime or snacktime or she’s a three-nager.
- New thought: I am approved by God.
One thought at a time, we can build a FLOURISHING MIND. Or you can do this…
One final thought: “Holy things happen when you’re cleaning up poop.” It’s in my notes. Heather said it. So it must be true. Bonus points for anyone who can remind me how it related, because I can’t, but it might need to be my motto this week!
Heather’s blog www.godcenteredmom.com
The 21 Day Brain Detox Online Plan by Dr. Caroline Leaf
Forgotten God by Francis Chan