All of our choices are made by either our emotional brain (limbic system) or our logic brain (neocortex). ALL of them! Our logic brain says it’s obvious we don’t need an extra piece of cake but the emotional brain believes we need it in order to feel better. You can substitute cake for anything such as alcohol, drugs, shopping, drama, anger, or any other coping mechanism.
Until the two brains speak the same language…the emotional brain will almost always win the argument. The only other solution is to EXERCISE the logic brain in the same way you would exercise your muscles. It never feels good at first but always pays off in the long run.
The Apostle Paul has a long discourse in Romans 7 that sounds similar to Flip Wilson’s The Devil Made Me Do It. Not only real, but somewhat comical, Paul tells how he struggles with the sin in him and ends this conversation by saying it’s as though he’s at war within his mind. The ironic thing is that almost 2,000 years later scientists are able to scan our brains in real time to show that Paul was absolutely correct! What an amazing thing to learn!
Dr. Daniel Amen has pioneered this area of science and was ridiculed for his early studies. But many are now following what he’s been trying to tell the medical and mental health professionals for years now. Our brains are designed in a way that the limbic system that is responsible for our emotions are fully developed at birth. This is why an infant comes into this world fully able to share his/her emotions with you! These emotions are not able to discern words, so you cannot tell introduce your newborn to aunt Edna or Uncle Bob. The emotional brain only understands experiences. The newborn will only be able to discern if the world is a safe/good place – if Edna and Bob are good at an intuitive level – not a logic or word level.
As the brain develops, words affirm or contradict the emotional messages learned. If the two brains say the same thing and the messages coincide then the world is wonderful. However, when the two brains have a disconnect we find problems. For example, if a child is raised in an abusive or neglectful home but is told at school that parents are wonderful and safe, this child may have conflicting emotions but are not mature enough to know what to do with the data because their brains don’t finish forming until adulthood. The result is they internalize the errors and believe the problem lies with them. If an adult tells them that parents are wonderful and safe but their parents don’t match that description, the only logical message is that there is something wrong with them as a person.
Hopefully you can begin to see from this short illustration how easily and quickly lies and mixed messages begin in our minds at such an early age. As we unravel these errors it can take years but the consequences may have already taken a toll on the lives of many around us. It’s never too late to begin the process of change to address the way we think by digging deeply to uncover those deeply rooted beliefs that were planted when we were ever so young and impressionable.
Let’s begin the journey of getting our mind to speak the same language on both sides, limbic/neo-cortex (emotional and logic) – no more war within our minds. The answer lies in finding the TRUTH. Jesus said HE was the Truth. Knowing the Truth, He will set you free. He has the correct messages and can replace our old baggage with the right and true statements.