Brain Neural Pathway
Cultivating th(i)nkfulness can be compared to carving a path through the woods. It seems overwhelming at first with debris and obstructions. It takes great effort to remove fallen logs and roots. You may need some tools like a spade and a chainsaw, or good sharp clippers.
Our brains are similar in that forging a new brain pattern or neural pathway in order to create a new life habit is daunting at first but gets easier with time. God has created our brains to be able to do this.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury.
How Do I Do It?
The first practical step you do when beginning to carve a brain path, is to deliberately lay out a plan. Your goal is to have your thoughts automatically head towards what to think thanks about in any given situation. You begin to search in your thoughts for things that you can be thankful for.
If you are in an unusually happy situation, it’s not very hard to find things to be thankful for. Even in normal, day-to-day times it’s not hard to begin to discover th(i)nkful items.
However, when hard times come, the difficulty level rises to delineate thankful items. Let me illustrate with this example from my friend Dawn:
“My heart was tempted to complain about the mounds of laundry today. The Holy Spirit reminded me, “Be thankful. Think thanks.”
So as I’m folding I start saying in my mind…
Thank You, God for these clothes.
Thank You for your provision of new and used hand-me-downs.
Thank You that they are clothes we got to choose and that we like them. 😊
Thank You for the little (and big) legs that move to make these pants dirty.
Thank You for the soap to wash them.
Thank You for the washing machine that washes and I don’t have to do it by hand.
Thank You for the tumble dryer that works in my basement, and that I don’t have to air dry them in the cold.
Thank You for the dryer that gets the wrinkles out so I don’t have to iron.
Thank You that I am able to be at home and squeeze this chore in between schooling.
Thank You for the energy and wellness to do this. I’m not sick in bed.
The list could go on…
Be th(i)nkful. Think thanks when you’re tempted to complain in your heart. “
She chose to download grace and begin carving the neural brain pathway of thinking thanks about the situation. She then expressed it. Engaging in the discipline of being th(i)nkful ended up not only helping her mindset, but encouraging others to do likewise.
Patiently Conquer Step by Step
The habit of cultivating thinking thanks takes time. You have to see progress in little steps at a time. Think about that path through the woods. As you step by step conquer the mess, soon the path becomes apparent.
In time you will be able to run that path. How cool!!
This exercise is much more that just creating a better mindset for us. Practicing th(i)nkfulness is an act of worship to our Redeemer who has given us a command. Give thanks in all circumstances. He knows that being grateful is a key to our sanctification and maturity in Him.
So… I just wanted to get you started this year on developing that brain pathway through the ‘woods.’
Who doesn’t enjoy a walk in the woods anyway?? 🙂