Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Many of my Christian clients feel hopeless to change their anxious thoughts; often citing they have been anxious most of their lives and they do not know any other way of being. Their anxiety keeps them from living the lives they want to live. They are afraid of making change, going out, being with others, getting sick and a myriad of other things.
The term neuroplasticity is one that offers hope. It means that the brain has the ability to rewire itself. New pathways and connections can be created; old troublesome patterns of reacting and thinking can be changed. Although the awareness of neuroplasticity has come into being in the latter half of the 20th century, God, the Creator, knew about it from the beginning of time.
He knew that our brains would need to be rewired because he tells us in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The transformation is the rewiring. You may wonder what specifically needs to be rewired? Our thoughts produce feelings and those feelings result in behaviors.
Scripture tells us to “test” our thoughts. I will ask my clients to make a list of the things that they worry about and then we will examine each one and ask if the worry is something that is true, or likely to happen. We look at the worst-case scenarios. If what they are thinking is not true, then we set out to find out what is. Much of the work revolves around what is true about themselves, in light of what God has said, what is true about the nature of God, and what is true about their situation, from God’s perspective.
I will ask the client to find a Biblical truth that applies to their distorted thought or worry. Then, to read it over and over. Write it out. Say it out loud. Pull it apart and meditate on it. Begin to act as though it is true. Turn it into a prayer of thanksgiving.
This is no easy task for someone who is used to welcoming anxious or negative thoughts. This vital work leads to a transformed mind that thinks God’s thoughts, resulting in freedom and peace.