Our brains are amazing! At a mere three and half pounds, our little organic computer consists of more than 10 billion neurons communicating with one another through more than 10 trillion synaptic connections.
The electrical activity in your brain is incredible. It’s estimated that your brain processes 100 million bits of information per second, but its reticular activating system deletes 98% of the information that is not necessary. Of the remaining 2 million bits of information that are allowed to pass through per second, your brain only allows 5 to 9 pieces of information to surface to your conscious awareness. That is how decisions are made, memories are remembered and situations are experienced.
The electrical signals moving through your brain form patterns or neural nets based on a variety of input like trauma, education, emotion, memories, and life experiences. In most cases, we are not conscious of these these neural nets that are programmed into our brains. “Someone or something installed these for you. And since your whole sense of reality is rooted in these neural-nets, it follows that your whole sense of reality at any given moment has been largely determined by other people and outside events.” (Escaping the Matrix, p. 34.)
For those struggling with anxiety, panic attacks or fear, traumatic neural nets are often the cause. Something we experienced or learned as a child often triggers these neural nets into a fear response. As soon as we get into a situation that triggers that “stronghold”, our body and mind switch to autopilot, and fear rises up within us. And for most, it happens subconsciously, and we don’t have time to respond and think logically through the experience. It becomes a reaction instead of an action.
Initially, this may not sound very hopeful, but there is hope. God has given us the power to remove those unhealthy neural nets and replace them with Godly programming. He not only wants us to be free, he has given us his Holy Spirit to help us walk into freedom.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
God would not instruct us to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” if it weren’t possible. It is possible! We can work through these negative, destructive patterns of thinking and replace them with Godly ways of thinking. Those triggers of fear, anxiety and panic attacks can be removed and torn down. We can learn to take every thought captive. God has given us spiritual weapons to tear down these strongholds (patterns of thinking):
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
This week, ask God to help you recognize any negative or destructive “patterns of thinking”, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth, because you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).
Prayer: Father, show me any wrong patterns of thinking and give me the power of Christ to tear down those strongholds.