We spent last week in Washington state pursuing a kind of change many of us don’t talk about much. At least, not in the faith circles I’m familiar with.
Generally, when it comes to dealing with loss, trauma, and hard circumstances, we talk a lot about prayer. And we should choose prayer often. In some places, we also talk about inner healing ministries. And these can be powerful and have their place. I’m a great fan of some, not a fan of others.
What I’m not as familiar with, at least as a topic of conversation in churches and church communities, is the kind of change that comes through emotional and mental health. Specifically, I don’t hear much about therapy focused on improving brain function such as EMDR, brain maps, and neurofeedback. Or about nutritional support for brain health.
We pay attention to eyes that fail us or body parts that stop working well. They are obvious and choosing to make a change for the better is easy. We can see it and feel it. But, what about our brains?
If our brains are an organ that operates the way we think, move, and live, it is helpful to consider the valuable part it plays in cultivating a life well-lived.
(In case you’re wondering, EMDR is a natural way of releasing trauma and intense emotions from the brain. It fosters healing and increases emotional bandwidth. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive way of helping the brain function in a healthier way.)
I’ve benefitted from the way EMDR, counseling, and inner-heart healing have helped me receive more of God’s truth and experience more of His goodness. These built upon a foundational belief that God is good, no matter what I think, feel, or experience, and His ways are better than mine.
I’ve also seen the impact neurofeedback has had on children with significant trauma-induced behavioral issues. At the camp we attended, families received various forms of healing help, including training for kids and adults in how to deal with emotions. The stories of change were dramatic. Neurofeedback played a part, so did a lot of love, boundaries, attachment, and wise care.
Maybe you’ve benefitted from medications in the past. From dietary changes and exercise. From small groups, or Celebrate Recovery. Or you’ve been helped by pastors, church leaders, mentors, coaches, and/or counselors. These are all great ways to seek change. They play important roles. They are also only as effective as our trust, surrender, and honesty.
Emotional health comes through many means and it’s all a part of our growth if we want to be spiritually mature Christians. What works for some may not be what works for another person. While these are avenues I’ve taken, they may or may not be avenues for you. It’s not up to me to decide.
What’s most important is that change occurs and that it goes beyond words and shallow attempts. It requires action. Real change is transformative and happens from the inside out. If what you’ve been doing is still getting you what you’ve always been getting, maybe there is something different to be done?
God gave us the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and guide us into a more full life. He also gave us bodies with limitations and sometimes we need a little help to do the very things we want to do as a healthy Christian.
Our willingness meets His readiness.
If you are feeling stuck with what you’ve been doing, I’d love to pray with you for God’s wisdom on another step you might take. I will also be sharing further thoughts in posts to come.
I want to let you know it’s OK. If what you need looks different than what someone else needs, and it helps you grow in emotional and spiritual maturity thereby drawing you closer to the heart of God, it’s OK.
Let God be the one to lead your next steps of change.
live well, friend