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Day 11: I wish I had some straightforward process to offer: You too can be free from the death grip of your past in no time at all! I can’t do that, but I can show you a few measures that helped me come to terms with my past. I call this one “Brain-Retrain.”
As I began my overcoming shame journey many years ago, I wasn’t exactly sure how to begin working through the pain in my past (a slightly huge undertaking), but I knew enough to know that the best way to kill a habit is to starve it, and some of the shame I was clinging to was definitely habitual. Experiences in my past may have planted the shame seed, but I was the one who had tended to my shame and allowed it to blossom into this wild thing. I knew I had to somehow root it out.
Growing up in church, I probably heard about a thousand sermons on taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4–5). This wasn’t a completely novel idea to me, but until then I had never actually put those sermons to practice. I had never before taken intentional control of my own thought life and had, almost by accident, allowed it to control me. Like a twisted Sam-I-am, pervasive memories persistently pursued me and I entertained their presence. I knew it was time to stop.
So here’s what I did. Let’s say I started daydreaming about an old boyfriend or my boss, as I was wont to do. I began to deliberately and instantaneously halt in my mental tracks, and say a little prayer. “God I’m thinking of this person again. Bless him and be with him. But I’m moving on now, so get him outta my head. Make my thoughts obedient to you.”
Today, may God retrain your brain so that you are more often in the present, than you are stuck in the ugly shame of the past. May you find your hope in Him.
Consider: What would it look like for you to make your shameful thought patterns obedient to Christ? In what ways would you like to be able to “retrain your brain”?
Prayer: Almighty God, I praise you for your ability to overcome the darkness in my past. Please open my eyes now to see your hand throughout my life, even during the bad stages. Amen.
(Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)