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Logo of ASI 2017: Called. Chosen. Committed.

Coming Out of Complacency

Daniel Binus


The effect of stress on mental health, the difference between good and bad stress, and how stress can be a rich blessing and actually help prevent burnout.


Daniel Binus

Clinical Director of Beautiful Minds Medical




  • August 4, 2017
    3:30 PM
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Today we're going to be talking about coming out of complacency and you might be thinking well if I'm a A.S.I. there's no way that I'm complacent because I have realized that I have been called to God's work that I've been chosen for his purpose and I am committed to following him wherever he takes me and that's a wonderful vision that's a wonderful commitment that we've made but you know today we're going to talk about actually taking it one step further beyond the commitment phase and what that actually means and how important that is to each one of our lives all right so let's talk a little bit about stress and when you think of the word stress do you think of that usually in a good positive connotation or kind of like I'm stressed out I don't I don't like that. And that makes me feel stressed right so we don't always think about stress from a good standpoint now you've all probably heard of something we call a word association game so this is an example of a word association game so here is the word star and so what you're supposed to do with a word association game is just say whatever word comes to your mind. Related to star and so then you can see in this word association game someone came up with the universe sky Hollywood like a Hollywood star billion movie firmament shine so all these different words that are related to start right what if we did that same thing with the word stress what kind of words would come up in your mind with the word stress what would you associate that with. Illness. What's that. Burnouts what else. Strength what else. Tights. High blood pressure. Pain in the neck yes so you can see that most of the words that we associate with stress are not positive words and I want to challenge that point of view I want to challenge that perspective today that maybe not all stress is necessarily bad stress and how can we actually turn stress into something that is a blessing in instead of a curse OK So let's talk a little bit more about stress and first we're going to talk a little bit about the common effects of negative stress and how that can have a really negative effect on our bodies and our minds and then we're going to talk about how we can turn stress into something that actually facilitates growth and learning. So the definition of stress from the Merriam Webster dictionary is a physical chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension strain or pressure so again even the dictionary is not so positive about stress and what about these statistics that they've done from looking at stress in America well researchers from Carnegie Mellon University analyzed data from one thousand nine hundred three two thousand and six and two thousand and nine what do you think do you think stress is decreasing or do you think stress is increasing in America it's increasing You're absolutely right so if reported stress levels have increased ten to thirty percent in the last three decades and who do you think out to the worst what population of the people that were surveyed had the worst stress levels do you think it was men do you think it was women you think was younger people are people what do you think. Women. And one of the men maybe the men would say men. Well actually women young people and low income Americans were the most stressed. However men's stress levels increased more over time than women's rising twenty five percent since one thousand nine hundred three versus eighteen percent so even though overall women stress levels are still a little higher us men are quickly catching up so what are some of the things that actually stress you what are some of the things that stress you. So there's a stress in America survey that has examined how stress affects health and wellbeing of that of adults living in the United States in two thousand and fifteen they reported an overall increase in stress level with greater percentages of adults reporting extreme levels of stress than in two thousand and fourteen so what were some of the significant stressors What do you think stresses people out the most. Yes finances number one money sixty seven percent what else. Work sixty five percent so in said time the I didn't make it on here but I agree that's a huge stressor family responsibilities fifty four percent personal health concerns fifty one percent and health problems affecting the family. So you can see that money work family responsibilities health concerns these are all huge things impacting people today and then the economy as well. It's pretty amazing to me you can see that personal health concerns and health problems affecting the family sometimes they think Oh I I'm fine you know I'm pretty healthy but wow having someone close to you that has a serious illness can stress you out. As well so what about. We did talk about gender souls will go quickly through this what about health concerns well over the last few years you've also seen United States adults having increasingly poor health both physically and mentally and certainly that's going to we're going to see here in just a few minutes how that's closely linked with stress. And what about the generations so it's interesting to think about which generations are actually the most stressed now does this surprise you that actually the younger people are actually reporting more stress levels than the older people is that surprising anyone here you think that young people you know their boy and they have lots of energy they have lots of zest for and zeal for life why would they be feeling stressed at such a young age because these are we're looking at millennial we're looking at Generation X. or why would they be feeling so much stress. Any thoughts on that. Yeah I think it's a combination of all these factors that that you all are saying there's different things there's a lot of pressure nowadays pressure to perform pressure to compete pressure to be better you know I talked to sometimes I have some younger some of that my younger patients who are in grade school or or high school and it's amazing the amount of extra curricular activities and even homework and school related stress that they have it really can start to wear on them over time I remember when I was in school I actually had time outside of school to be a kid to have fun to play to connect with peers and go out in the woods and and do all these things but nowadays. It seems like kids are so pressured in multiple ways that the stress level is building so time is an issue for them the overload of work the competition the expectations to perform media being constantly bombarded with gadgets and messages it is almost impossible for them to escape and have peace. So you can see that in American culture we are very quickly on the road to burnout and here is what we have called this stress curve and you can see that at the beginning of the stress curve when there's all the way on the left there's not very much stress then what happens it says if you can't read a very well inactive and laid back so in other words if you have too little stress then that can be a problem right you get lazy but if you get in the middle where you have a little bit of stress pushing you in a healthy way and giving you some urgency to move forward and get out of bed and to perform to a certain degree then you actually have optimum level of stress and you actually have the best performance but if you get too much stress what starts happening especially if that stress goes on too long you start getting into the exhaustion the ORNGE phase there and then eventually you get into that anxiety panic and anger. And finally you get to the place where you break down and burn out so what does that mean burnout or burnout is to the point where you are emotionally exhausted. And you start having a lack of personal satisfaction or accomplishment the same work that you used to do that you used to find meaning and purpose and is just not doing it for you anymore. And finally depersonalization So what does depersonalization mean that means that basically you start treating people those around you instead of like people like commodities So in other words you start using people for what they can do for you and not really caring about how it affects them. So those are some symptoms that we are getting way way too stressed out all right so let's talk a little bit about. Our own life should Christians feel stressed have any of you ever felt guilty because you felt stressed. I know I have because I I have you know I shouldn't feel stressed as a Christian Right isn't that what the Bible says so here's a few texts. These things I have spoken to you that you may have peace in the world you will have tribulation trials stress but be of good cheer I have overcome the world OK So Jesus is saying look I overcame the problems for you so you're going to have some stress but be of good cheer. But what about this one and Isaiah twenty six three you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you I've wrestled with how and I don't know about all of you because I have said Lord my mind is not always perfect peace whose mind here is always perfect peace. And if you raise your hand your line. What about this one from Paul Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thinks giving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ. Just Jesus OK so here we have that peace of God that is going to guard our hearts and minds but this text I think gives us a little further perspective into how we might actually get to that point of having peace what does it say that says Be anxious for nothing OK. And then there's a recipe that follows. This Is How You Can Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with things scabbing let your requests be made known to God and then the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus can any of you think of people in the Bible who wrestled with stress. Iraq exactly you people are naming some of the greatest people in Bible history in fact if you go through all of the heroes of our Bible faith every single one of them had significant stress that they went through so does that mean that they weren't God's people does that mean they weren't converted does that mean that they were not a good christian No but you see what they were what they were doing during that time of stress is that like Jacob for example he was wrestling right he was wrestling and what he was wrestling with is the end he was letting letting God know his requests he was letting him know his problems and he was wrestling with God and with himself he was trying to say I want to take my thoughts away from what from myself from the problem at hand. In the example of Jacob it was from Esau his brother coming and killing him right. And even his sin had brought this upon him and I want to focus it where. So I want to write I'm wrestling with God and why and focus away from the problem away from myself and focus what does Isaiah twenty six three say. Whose mind is stayed on you another words it is only when our minds are stayed on the Lord. That we can have that perfect peace but see that's why we have those those moments of stress is because our mind vacillates it vacillates constantly from going to the problem from going to ourselves to going to the Lord and so there's this rustling that occurs and it's not until that moment of complete submission to God's ways and his doings in our lives that we can actually experience the peace and actually experience that deep fellowship with the Lord so don't feel bad if you have those times of rustling of of those times of stress but instead and we're going to talk more about this later we need to embrace these times as times for learning in growth realizing these are opportunities opportunities to actually connect deeper with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So let's talk a little bit about the three steps to practical piece the three steps to a practical piece. So God uses stress to accomplish his purpose in our lives through three primary ways that we're going to talk about number one consequences. Number two revelation. Now the consequences are that's probably pretty clear in other words we see the consequences of our choices and that actually can. Help lead us to change revelation God reveals he opens our eyes to our weaknesses using stress number three glorification through stressful times God's name can be glorified But before we get into these three steps we have to understand something very basic that is very important and has opened my eyes and made my ministry working with patients and with people and even understand myself and family members very very it's been very important and very eye opening and that is the concept of attachment has anyone ever hit her to hear about attachment theory OK we've had it we have a few hints so attachment what we talk about in the mental health field when we're talking about attachment theory the definition is a set of concepts that explain the emergence of an emotional bond between an infant a baby and primary caregiver and the way in which this bond affects the child's behavioral and emotional development into adulthood in other words attachment is that sense of connectedness to the person that takes care of us in infancy OK so when that baby is born. Then it's helpless it's insecure it's unsafe it is a scary world they have NO NO idea what in the world is going on but as they see the loving mother come and meet their needs they start to gain that trust in their caregiver and start to attach in a healthy way. They start to feel safe connected with love so in healthy attachments and there's we're going to briefly touch on three different attachment styles that are described in healthy attached. The parents are quick to respond sensitive to the needs and consistent in other words when the baby is crying. The mother comes and says oh you know what's going on how is the diaper dirty is the baby hungry is it tired and so they're they're responding quickly to the needs of the child and so the child starts to believe my needs will be met I can trust others and I am a lovable person. So these individuals that have healthy attachment in childhood. And up having healthier relationships as adults so they can have more meaningful relationships because that has been modeled to them in childhood they are more empathetic because they were shown empathy from their parents they're able to empathize with others they're able to set healthy boundaries because they realize that the love of other people should not be contingent on whether they're doing what they want them to do another words Love should be unconditional so I can say no to you and that shouldn't mean that you start mistreating me and abusing me. But what about when attachment goes wrong what happens then and and we're going to explore that in just just a moment but first I want to read an interesting quote from desire of ages and this will this fits in really nicely it says among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law and also a c. God Now you might be thinking what in the world does that have to do with attachment Well let me explain so remember in healthy attachment when you have that sense of real deep security that that sense of my needs are going to be met I can trust others. Then your parents in childhood are like God to you they're like God to you they I mean your parents might be teaching you about about God but your parents in a in a big way are really like God they're bigger than life to you when you're a child but as you transition from into young adulthood from age twelve to thirteen you're supposed to do what you're supposed to instead of becoming a son of your parents or a daughter of your parents become a son or daughter of God You see so if you have a healthy attachment to your parents where you you understand I can trust my parents my parents are trustworthy they're dependable they're safe they're secure then that transition from childhood in trusting your parents to being able to trust God. Can be pretty smooth their way but what happens when attachment goes wrong what if your parents aren't dependable What if they aren't kind what if they are not safe then what happens as you're supposed to transition from young adulthood or from childhood into young adulthood. Who becomes God for you can you go to God Can you really trust him or not so what happens when attachment goes wrong well let's look at two attachment styles that are problematic one is called avoidance attachments and in this sort of attachment the parents are distant and disengaged Another words the parents. Are providing the needs of the child physically they're making sure they're well fed they're making sure that they have clothes but they're lacking in that emotional closeness for example a parent that is a workaholic so the parent might be working super hard to provide all of the needs but they aren't really emotionally available for the child so what does the child start believing then will the child starts believing in my needs will probably not be immense my needs will probably not be met it doesn't matter what I do I'm not going to get that emotional reciprocity that I really need I must not be a very worthwhile person. If my parents aren't taking the time to really connect to me. And as adults these people they start saying you know what. Why should I even try with close relationships because I'm not going to get what I need out of those close relationships anyway so they avoid closeness or emotional connection and they become distant they become critical they become rigid intolerant and they say things like I am comfortable without close emotional relationships it is very important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient. I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me so these are the people that tend to say you know what I'm not going to let you in I need to just keep my distance because I gotta stay safe so that's one type of it's a problem another one that will touch on is ambivalence attachment now this type of IT attachment the parents are inconsistent in response sometimes they're sensitive sometimes they're there for the child and other times they're neglectful. The example class. Example here would be the alcoholic parents so with the alcoholic parent. Sometimes they're drunk Caray sometimes they're hung over sometimes they're sober and in each of those different states the child is not quite sure what to expect they don't know is dad going to be happy or is he going to be beating me and abusing me is he going to be just his normal self and they're always walking on eggshells so that leads to you feeling like I can't depend on my needs being met I don't know what's going to happen I'm always walking on eggshells. And so as adults they became anxious and insecure they become controlling and the reason they become controlling by the way is because in a relationship. Because these people as opposed to the people that are avoidance actually crave that close emotional connection but because they're not secure and they're anxious that this person that they're getting close to might hurt them they try to control the other person instead of giving them perfect freedom of choice in that relationship does that make sense to everybody so it can be come a very unhealthy dynamic where they're they're trying to get really close to people but they're controlling at the same time they blame others they're sometimes erratic and unpredictable because that's what they saw mirror to them in childhood they're sometimes charming and they say things like I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others but I often find the others are reluctant to get as close as I would like and it's no wonder because those others that they're trying to get super close to you don't want to be controlled right so they're like. Steve stay back a little this is too much. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships but I. Sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them. So. Remember what I ask your earlier when we're supposed to transition from that point of becoming a son or daughter of our parents to a son or daughter of God and opening our hearts completely to God and trusting him fully and if we've gone through some of these attachment issues in childhood. Do you think that that's going to be difficult. To trust our hearts fully to God. Because. Our parents have modeled what God is like to us that's where our picture of God actually develops and so if we actually have the sense that God is like my parents I can't depend on him or maybe I'm not sure exactly how God's going to act in this situation maybe he's going to be nice to me one minute and punishing the next do you think that helps to foster a healthy sense and peace and security about God no right so what do we do instead of attaching to God when we make that transition into young adulthood what do we do. What do you think. How do we solve that problem psychologically. We actually take that role on ourselves. We say well I'm not sure I can depend on God to supply my needs I'm not sure I can really trust God and so instead I'm going to take God's role I'm going to provide the safety and security and meet my own needs to make sure that I'm OK. And without even realizing it we start to slip into very unhealthy coping mechanisms to try to give us a sense of safety and security. Now one thing that I've realized. Is that even if we had a healthy attachment with our parents and childhood all of us because we live in a messed up world in a sinful world all of us in some way or another have had those attachment systems damaged and I can share even from my personal experience I had a very healthy strong secure attachment with my parents particularly my mother praise God for for what she did and gave me she provided me with a secure foundation but you know right around the age of twelve thirteen my parents sat us all down and they said we're getting a divorce what do you think that did to my brain is set me in complete fight or flight mode right I was stressed out and that sense of security was shattered no longer did I have that sense of oh I can trust that everything is going to be OK and my family's going to be OK and and everything's going to be taken care of suddenly the rug was pulled out from under all of our feet so what is the result of that we've already talked about. The idea that we actually take over the role of God in our own lives to help us feel that sense of safety and security and really the result is we even though even though we try to take on that role of God. Guess what that predisposition that desire that need to attach is so strong in us that we still attached to something or someone. We all need that sense of safety and and feeling in control we yearn for connectedness but because we've put up the wall because we haven't really been able to trust ourselves completely into the hands of God And we're also often cutting ourselves off from healthy. Relationships because of our own damage because of our own problems that we've gone through we get into fight or flight mode which is really a way of trying to take care of ourselves and what I mean by fight or flight Well the fight part would be what I call the performance trap in other words I need to just be stronger I need to work harder I need to perform better I need to have work control and power so that I can be safe. Or the flight parts. That's where we go into escape mode What are some of the things that we use as a scape to deal with life to help us feel safe and secure what are some things that you've all maybe seen other people deal with to go into flight mode. Work Yeah even work right and that can that can sometimes be part of both it can be the fight I want to be more secure have more money but it can also be the flake because I don't want to deal with the other problems I'm facing them with life so I'm going to avoid facing those problems by going into work what else. Yeah drinking alcohol right any kind of addiction pornography that sort of thing we will tend to do whatever it takes to give us that sense of safety and security but of course we know right now House how much more safe and secure are you when you drink half a bottle of tequila than you are when you're sober. Are you more or less safe than before you started drinking you're quite a bit less safe that's why they won't let you get behind the wheel of a car to drive and yet our emotions are so strong they can fool us and that's what we're really seeking we're seeking that emotional peace that can't be manufactured by anything that we can do that only comes from God. So what does that lead to when we're in that mood Well they did an interesting study here over the last few years and they actually looked at what happens when people deal with stress in unhealthy ways well actually what they looked at is the amount of stressors that children experienced in childhood and then how that affected them in adulthood and so they called it the adverse childhood experiences study and that's why a C. S. So the truth about face is the truth about the adverse childhood experiences and basically they took over seventeen thousand people from the Kaiser Permanente health care system in California and they study and they said what does childhood stress do to children when they grow up and become adults well they look to different sorts of stressors they looked at abuse for example physical emotional sexual abuse they looked at physical neglect they looked at emotional neglect they looked at household dysfunction having a family member with mental illness in the house having an incarcerated relative having a mother treated violently substance abuse and divorce so these are some of the stressors that these children when it went under. And so. What are the consequences to undergoing these these these stressful things that actually disrupt the attachment systems in our mind so remember I said that God uses stress in three ways with three steps. To help us actually become victorious in the Christian life and to grow closer to him so step one is the consequences right so step one What impact do these stressors have so. Here we see that. With behavior. Lack of physical activity what do you think this person might be doing sitting on the couch. Watching T.V. right so imagine this person has been maybe abused as a child they don't want to think about that they don't feel safe maybe they're even afraid of leaving the house and so they go into flight mode avoidance mode escape mode and they're sitting in front of the T.V. watching their life go by right smoking alcoholism drug use missed work so all these things. Are increased the more stress you have the more likely you are to actually engage in these unhealthy behaviors and those unhealthy behaviors those Fight or flight behaviors then translates into other problems like. Diabetes depression suicide attempts as C.D.'s heart disease cancer stroke C.E.O. P.T. and broken bones. So. In the end we can see the consequences of the stress of both that's been in flicked it on us from the world which then turns into the stress that we inflict on ourselves right you see how that happens so we've been stressed because we've been wounded by the we're the by the world maybe it was our parents maybe it was someone else but maybe it was you know problems at work but we've all been under great deals of stress and problems that have disrupted our attachment systems that have made us go into fight or flight and made us make decisions that are unhealthy and then we inflict stress upon ourselves through those unhealthy decisions and then the consequences are that we become physically spiritually emotionally and socially destitute. So this is really where we hit rock bottom and you've probably all heard that term it's usually used when when when someone with an addiction problem comes to that place of rock bottom but I would like to. Say that that can definitely happen not just with addiction but with all sorts of stress right we're talking about burnout before hitting rock bottom with burnout can be just as bad. So at that point what happens to the individual Well the individual wakes to their need of something better. So you can you start seeing already how this the consequences of stress even though it's not fun to feel physically or spiritually or emotionally or socially destitute how it can be a blessing because it awakens people to their need. And that's why Jesus said bless it are what the poor in spirit Blessed are those who are willing to recognize that they are destitute unfortunately so many of us are not even willing to recognize how destitute we really are when we're faced with those consequences and I deal with that every day that people come in and they say just fix me I just want a pill I want something magical to take away the pain but I want to continue on with the same behaviors the same way of functioning. Now after this. Now that at this point really. Many people when they get to that rock bottom point they're willing to actually make a change they're willing to make a commitment and oftentimes there even. Are willing to make a commitment to Christ. Now the good news is when we make that commitment to Christ something happens. Sometimes we think you know what that's the end that's great I realize that my life was a mess I was addicted to pornography I was addicted to drugs I was deducted to work I was in that fight or flight mode and it just got me to that rock bottom point and so I committed my life to Christ and now things are perfect array is that the way the Christian life goes. No it doesn't and think God because when we commit our lives and hearts to Christ that is but the beginning of a beautiful journey that he wants to take us on and that's what we're going to explore is how the Lord wants us to actually awaken to seeing where we've been damaged in those attachment systems where we become become attached to those things of the world where we've learned to trust in money or work or alcohol or unhealthy relationships or whatever it might be and helps us to recognise where we've become attached to those things attached to him and how he actually helps us through stress to break those attachments and actually attach more closely to him so it's a beautiful thing that the Lord does and you know I'm I'm really glad that the name of this conference or the motto or the theme has to do with commitment which is absolutely important but you know there's another step in the Christian life and that's really what we want to dig even more deeply in here over the next moments that we have together so step two step one was the consequences of God uses the consequences in order for us to experience what that that our decisions that what the way we've been living is not working well step two is Revelation So let's start with the question. So Jeremiah asked this question and he says the heart is deceitful above all things. Things and desperately wicked or incurably sick who can know it now is he talking about cardiac disease is he talking about people having heart attacks here no Jeremiah is talking about the heart that is in the mind in other words the emotional part of who we are the place that that Jesus was talking about when he says out of the heart comes blasphemies and adulteries and forty cations and lies and murders and all these things right that's what Jeremiah is talking about which is really out of our mind right so Jeremiah is saying the mind is it curable the sick who can know it so what's the answer does anyone know verse ten because we often stop with the verse nine. Was the answer. Don't you want an answer why does everyone know verse nine they don't know verse ten I the LORD search the heart. I test the mind what does it mean to test. To measure yes to test and also to to. Go through even sometimes a difficult experience or I test the mind even to give every man according to His ways and according to their fruits of his doings praise God God is willing to take us through trials and difficulties and stress so that we can actually start seeing the fruit of our doings the fruit of what is actually happening in our minds and it can lead us to a decision point to make to do things differently and the reason for that. Is because under stressful conditions we are actually exposed the heart is exposed so under normal non-stress alert conditions this is the brain and I know you can't see it so well but just pay attention here the frontal lobe the front part of the brain is lit up and is helping us to behave well OK that's why when we are. Chipper well rested well dressed good smelling and A.S.I. we can do everything right and say everything right and things look perfect on the outside but what happens when we're under stress conditions well under stress conditions or something that occurs that is very very scary because it helps us actually see what's in the heart and other words the frontal lobe you see out turn to green to gray. Shuts down and at the same time the activity down here which is the emotional part of the brain increases so what happens well the emotions take over you've been hijacked and what neuroscientists call that is bottom up control and top down control and other words instead of the logical part of your brain telling you you shouldn't do that because it will get you into trouble the emotions have now taken over and you're doing whatever you feel like doing whatever your habits are telling you to do whatever you've practiced doing in your thoughts or your behavior in the past so. The automatic behavior takes over so can you start to see how this then starts to reveal what's in our hearts and other words when we lose that filter. When we're stressed out when we're upset then there's often a lot of ugliness that can come out and you know what. That is a blessing because we're actually having an opportunity to see what is in the depths of our heart and you might not feel like it's a blessing at the time but it is a blessing because the Lord has given us an opportunity to see well maybe I'm not quite as surrendered maybe I'm not quite. As perfect as I thought because you know if we were so perfect then even under the moments of the most intense stress or sleep deprivation what would come out would still be beautiful but it's not at least not for me all the time maybe there's some people here or it's a lot more beautiful and praise God for that and you know we're all on that journey here is a quote from Acts of the Apostles where writes he who reads the hearts of men knows their weaknesses better than they themselves can know know them just like Jeremiah said right in his providence he brings these souls into different positions and varied circumstances that they may discover the defects that are concealed from their own knowledge he gives them opportunity to overcome these defects and to fit themselves for service often he permits the fires of affliction to burn that they may be purified. So I love that quote because here white is saying these are people that are committed to Christ and yet we are all blinded to those weaknesses weak spots of our character of the of our heart and God in His providence he says you know what I see that Daniel has this we carry he does the I'm seated himself it's a blind spot and isn't that the case like so so often we don't see our own deficiencies right but I'm praise God that that he does and yet he's gentle and he says you know what we're going to allow God to allow Daniel to go through this experience so that he actually has the opportunity to see what's in his heart and as he sees that he's going to reach a decision point and he's either going to hang on to that issue attachment that unhealthy attachment or he is going to choose something different. So the step to Christian. And this is the process that the beginning there commit. But not submitted in other words they've committed to walk with the Lord and they have said I will I want to follow you Lord because I see that the worldly way of doing things is not getting me any any good I've just had all these stressful consequences right I just ended up with addiction and heart disease and broken relationships so we say I want to walk with you Lord but we haven't fully submitted to him because that process takes time and we might have submitted everything that we know of but God knows us better than we know ourselves and the example of that would be Peter does anyone remember that fine story how Peter he had he he was committed right. He was committed to Jesus what did what did Jesus say to him at the beginning of his ministry said follow me right and Peter said what you said do you say No Lord I'm not going to commit to you I'm not going to follow you. What did Peter say. He said absolutely and he left all he left all to follow Jesus that sounds like a commitments I mean that sounds like a big commitment I mean I'm not even sure that. In some respects I've really gotten that like to be able to just walk suddenly away from from my livelihood from everything that I've known and follow Jesus that's that's a big deal that's a commitment right. But does that mean that he was fully submitted. Was Peter submitted. He wasn't right and we see that now Peter thought he was submitted but we have to be very careful because we are going to deceive ourselves and Peter did Jesus said you're going to deny me and Peter said why he said no no way everyone else is going to die you but not me there's no way I'm going to deny you and yet under the pier. Of stress under the period of trial what happened to Peter. He denied him right do you see how that brought out of Peter what was really in his hearts do you see how Peter actually came face to face with the truth that Jesus knew him much better than you knew himself. And I would have to say that this is where most of God's church is at and I'm that's not you know point the finger because I think that I'm usually there at this point to and I'm this this talk is really just as much for me as it is for you because I am saying Lord help me to get to the point where I'm not just committed to you but I'm fully submitted to you so the in everything that becomes such a normal way of life that I am in that trusting mode with you it doesn't matter what trial what temptation what difficulty I'm going to fully trust in you I'm not going to doubt you're leading and when that happens we get into that step three which is the glorification which is really we're going to talk about that in just a minute but when we're at that point that's the point where God's name can truly be glorified because all the trials all the difficulties all the stressors that come our way our opportunities to see him as work and we are no longer going into fight or flight we are no longer trying to take control and fix the situation or avoid addressing the issue. But just to make sure that we can understand. That it is possible to have that experience of really detaching from the things of this world to attaching to the things of God I just want to give you two quick examples. So attachments can change. And the change at what I call the decision point or the crisis point. And at that point we have to actually choose either the new path the new which is not just a power theoretically but a literal new path in our brain or the status quo and so the two examples that I want to touch on are falling in love and pregnancy falling in love and pregnancy. Before we do that I think it would be wise especially you know we how much time do we have we're supposed to go to court or tell or five because I'm thinking it might be good just to take a real short break because I know let me put it this way in mental health from study I know that people's attention spans are usually only about forty five minutes and then you start falling asleep and and your frontal lobe is just not going to work as well OK so let's go ahead and talk about falling in love so everyone likes a love story or a but what actually is happening in the brain when we're falling in love well I don't know about you a bit when I when I fell in love with my wife I had a real sense of euphoria and excitement it didn't even take seeing her and I was excited I'll have to do is picture her in my mind's eye and I could already feel my heart starting to pound and started to have that sensation of excited been just looking forward to seeing her and you know it's interesting because falling in love Believe it or not is actually a highly stressful event. It is and and it's a good it's a good thing that the first stage of love is actually relatively short usually a maximum of one year because if it wasn't. I don't think we would get much done at all after we fell in love. Because our mind would be constantly obsessing about that person we couldn't get to get our thoughts off of them. We wouldn't be able to sleep very well that sort of thing. So what's happening in the brain when we're actually falling in love well there's two two hormones called base oppress and oxytocin and they're the key players in our brain. Now what's interesting is that these two chemical messengers in our brain actually have opposite effects on the fight or flight center of the brain so which is the there they suppress and actually increases the activity of the So in other words that it increases the activity of the fight or flight it says I don't know this person I don't know if they're really trustworthy they might hurt you in some way so maybe you should not give your heart completely to them on the other hand oxytocin decreases activity in the image. So oxytocin calms down the fight or flight response and oxytocin saying no it's fine this person is wonderful give your heart to them open your heart so what do you think determines which one wins out oxytocin or the base of pressing right because there's this battle going on between the two of them. Well the answer is which one is more so if there's more oxytocin than that one rule it out well what determines whether there's more oxytocin. What actually determines whether there's more oxytocin or not is the the past experience we've had with other relationships and also the current behavior of that person in the relationship in other words if we've had really bad experiences with other relationships then we're going to be very leery to enter into a new relationship also if that person is acting really weird when we go on a date with them maybe they're looking at the waiter or waitress and they're there flirting with other people or they're not reliable they're not showing up on time what do you think is going to happen the brain of a suppressant. It's actually going to increase in the brain and the brain is going to say run away from that person because you're going to get hurt you see on the other hand if they're reliable they're selling you love consistently and all the right messages than the oxytocin is going to increase and win out so what's interesting is that both of these actually impact the dopamine reward system and in the end so that it gives you that sense of reward and happiness and motivation to be with that person and in the end it actually starts disrupting the brain pathways the neural pathways and so what's actually happening as you're falling in love with somebody and this is why you often get kind of foggy brain and googly eyed when you're falling in love is that there's neurological processes going on where the nerve cells are actually being disordered. And you're opening your heart you're opening that part of your brain to actually be able to catch to that person you see and I'm saying does that make sense everybody OK So let me give another example well OK on the next side so loved deepens after that initial fall in love then you start feeling more safe balanced with that person brain activity is normalized and intimacy and commitment increase steadily and you get the long term health benefits of being in a committed positive relationship by the way a lot of people after they get through Stage one about falling in love where they were they don't have those butterflies in those feelings of excitement anymore they start thinking Oh I'm not in love with that person anymore I've ever talked with young people that are like I broke up with them because I didn't have the same feelings for them anymore. What's. Now there's no more magic right there's no more magic and in fact a lot of those relationships actually could have probably done just fine if they would realize. No doubt it was just that stage one was getting over and now I was heading into stage two falling in love OK And so and this stage is maybe not as exciting you don't get those feelings of euphoria all the time but it's actually much healthier and so you actually experience a depth and a closeness in a relationship that you never would. Thought could actually be so it's a real blessing Let's talk about pregnancy so here's a quote from a study that said the maternal brain is the very definition of a plastic organ So remember we're talking about how attachment is not permanent In other words attachments can change right which is a blessing that's how we can heal from being attached to you like drinking or work or whatever it might be to actually attaching to the things of God So the maternal brain is the very definition of a plastic organ maternal behavior makes a rather abrupt appearance following childbirth the transformation of an offspring often offspring versus a virgin animal to an offspring seeking mother represents one of the most dramatic examples of behavioral flexibility in all of animal behavior. Have you ever heard of baby brain. Up to seventy five percent of women report short term memory loss forgetfulness disorientation lack of concentration or reading difficulties during the period part of a period which improve within one year after birth. So the brain is actually being disorganised it's been changed during pregnancy research shows decrease verbal recall and prospective memory in women during late pregnancy and the early postpartum period do you think this is something a stressor for the mother as she is going through prayer. Do you think it's a stressor on her brain absolutely it's very stressful. But thank God memory problems likely due to are likely due to the interplay between hormones and their plasticity that actually prepare the mother for the arrival in care of her young. Thus a tradeoff may occur with other cognitive abilities. And I would like to say there's a reorganization of priorities in other words as that those hormones and all the changes that the mother's body is going through and the mother's brain starts going through the nerve cells actually start detaching from the old connections and then they start. Opening themselves to actually be ready to attach to that child when it arrives does that make sense is that amazing the way that God created that so the yes there's disorganize ation going on you can't think clearly but there's a reason for that the reason is because the nerve cells are actually preparing themselves to detach from old priorities and attach to new priorities have you ever met mothers where before they were a mother they were like yeah I'm going to be a career woman for the rest of my life and then after they have the baby suddenly it changes suddenly they're like you know what I the moment I saw that precious child all I wanted to do was take care of that child I lost that that desire to be a career woman any longer have any of you ever heard of people like that well what happens what happens there is that literally the brain as it is being torn apart it's actually detaching from those old priorities from work and other things and it's actually attaching to that little child and saying that is the more important priority is that beautiful and praise God really bless his mother. Because what happens is that initially you get a decrease in your total brain size but later on. Memory is enhanced during the late postpartum period and after weaning suggesting an enduring effect of reproduction on cognition reproductive experience has persisted in Hansing effects on spatial learning and memory. And the events of pregnancy and production of young may be considered enriching with a complex set of stimuli bathing the brain that results in persistent if not permanent outcomes. And other words God in healthy attachments and healthier reprice zation when we're detaching from things that really should have less priority anyway and attaching to better things God blesses that abundantly and even though there might be that that that time of haze where we can't think clearly we can't remember things we we just our brains are being disorganized later on as we're prioritizing the right things our memory actually improves we do better cognitively. Now I want to share briefly a personal experience. And this is my daughter here Eliana. And you know it's interesting because sometimes we pray and we say Lord help me to get to that point of not only commitment but more full submission so that I can be more ready to work for you Well Leon is a beautiful little girl and she is three years old right now and. Eliana has a beautiful meaning you know early on it means. Well it's a Hebrew name so if we had to do the L. part means what god are right and. On a par means answers God answers and you know her birth text is Jeremiah thirty thirty three and Jeremiah thirty three three says call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know and I remember the day that she was born and I found that text and I said this is the text that God has given me for her and but little did I know how through having her in my life how that has helped take me one step closer and I'm not saying I'm completely there to being one hundred percent submitted but one step closer to being on that path to true submission to God not just the committed part but the full submission and you know what's actually happened is that as a medical professional you get really trained and of course even from my childhood like I shared earlier I was I I trained myself to say you know I need to be in control I need to take care of myself because I had to protect myself after my family went to chaos to remember and so there's this element that I realize that I tend to go in to fight mode. Not as much the flight mode anymore that was before in teenage hood but now it's more of the fight mode in their words I need to perform harder I need to be stronger I need to fix things and especially as a physician you're supposed to fix everybody that comes to you. So I But the thing is and God is so wise and he's he knows exactly what we need Eliana she's had some challenges and she's developed epilepsy around the age of ten months and we didn't know what it was at first and we've struggled in trying to figure out you know what's caused this and how can we fix it and how can we do this and you know Russell with all. These things trying to trying to fix her trying to control the problem. And you know what she still has a pull up see today and that's hard but you know it has made me Russell day by day with the with the Lord and say Lord. I don't understand this but. You need to show me because I I don't know what to do I'm at the end of my knowledge and that's hard for a physician to say you know especially when you have all these natural remedies and all these things and all these things you can explore but the Lord is so good and he has brought me to that point of civilization same Lord not our will not my will but your will be done in her and if she if she keeps having the seizures if she keeps you right at this point she's not talking yet if she never talks Glory be to your name because you have a purpose for that. And I willing to submit to God in all things. So that brings us to the step three becoming a step three Christian Jesus at the end of his life his earthly life his earthly ministry he said a very important statement he said a lot of very important statements but in John the twelfth chapter he said Father glorify the high name that was. The sounding point the trumpet call of his entire life wasn't it Father glorify that I name not me but let me glorify you then came there a voice from heaven saying I have both glorified it and will glorify it again and by the way. This verse is right there in the chapter they just previously he talks about a seed of grain that needs to die in order. For it to bear fruit and he says that we need to follow him the same way in other words we need to be so submitted to him that we're willing to detach from anything on in this world and say whatever you see as fit glorify the I name when we are fully submitted to God's will in our life he can truly use it for his honor and glory the stress challenges and trials and difficulties only serve to show his faithfulness because now no longer is it just focused on revealing our defects that can still happen I'm not saying we're completely perfect at that point but what I am saying is that we're consistently submitted to his will so much so that when the difficulties come our automatic tendency instead of going into fight or flight mode our automatic a tendency is to say glorify the name I've submit to that I will. And that's where we want to be not just fifty percent of the time not just twenty five percent of the time but one hundred percent of the time. So. I knew this was going to happen where you only only have a few minutes left but you know so whoever needs to go can go I know we're supposed to technically I think and it a quarter tell. But I'm going to keep going because this is something that I studied into is a case study that has been very helpful to me. So we're going to talk about George now George was the son of a German tax collector and I love stories about Germans because that's my heritage. He was educated on worldly plain principles by his father. Prior to age ten he repeatedly stole government money. Age eleven he was sent to school to prepare for university study by the way his father wanted him to become a a. Clergyman so that he not because he was interested in little religious things but so that he could get a parish and then take care of his father later on and have enough money to do that so anyway he said steadily This is George writing he says studying reading novels and indulging in sinful practices were my favorite pastimes my mother died suddenly when I was fourteen years old that night I played cards until two in the morning and went to a tavern the next day her death made no lasting impression on me instead I grew worse by the way what kind of attachment issue do you think that George had here do you think it was a healthy attachment or ambivalence or avoidance attachment. You know I think it was probably an avoidance attachment disorder because he was he was kind of just in his own world even his mother dying didn't really seem to affect him that much. The amazing thing is somehow this man I'm going to give you the end results and then we want to look at what happened in between because obviously he had a pretty rough start in the end he cared for over ten thousand orphans and his life he established one hundred seventeen schools which offered Christian education to over one hundred twenty thousand children he received in dispersed one million three hundred eighty one thousand one hundred seventy one pounds around ninety million pounds which is about one hundred seventeen million U.S. dollars in today's terms by the time of his death primarily using the money for supporting orphanages and distributing Bibles New Testaments other religious texts which were translated into twenty other languages the money was also used to support other faiths missionaries around the world such as Hudson Taylor he never and this is one of the most amazing aspects he never made a request for financial support nor did he ever go into debt. He never ask a soul for money and I'm not saying you're doing something wrong if you're if you're have a ministry and you're asking for support OK but this man said You know what I am going to rely on hundred percent on God. So how did he go through this these three steps Well step one it's pretty obvious he had some bad consequences to his negative behavior at the age of sixteen he became an inmate of a prison for a year he was staying at hotels and in and he would run away and not pay the bill or pretty soon the law caught up with them and put him in prison he became quite physically ill. And intermittently made resolutions to become different broke them almost as fast as I made them in other words he was saying I want to become different but then the next moment maybe a day later he was back to the same old George he started to feel very empty and unhappy but he wasn't really sure where to turn how can I get the fulfillment I know I need to change I know I'm poor in spirit but where can I get that well. At the age of twenty he writes this one Saturday afternoon in November I walk I took a walk with my friend Beda he told me that he had begun to visit a Christian's home every Saturday where there was a prayer meeting he said that they read the Bible saying prayed and read a printed sermon. When I heard this I felt as if I had found the treasure I had been seeking in all my life we went to the meeting together that evening I did not understand the joy that believers have in seen any sinner become interested in the things of God So I apologized for coming and so here is GOD I'M SORRY I WAS that be like someone saying coming or coming to your church I'm so sorry for being here and you're like no this is great this is wonderful but he didn't understand. This it all. And so. We sat down and sing a hymn so this is where the commitment of his life started. Then Brother Kaiser Nelson asked a blessing on our meeting his kneeling down made a deep impression on me for I had never seen anyone on his knees before nor had I ever prayed on my knees. The entire evening made a deep impression on me and I felt happy although if I had been asked why I could not have clearly explained it you start to see that George was sorry to experience something new something fulfilling that he had never experienced before he said you know what I want to make a commitment here to follow this way when we walked home I said to Beta all of our former pleasures are nothing in comparison with this evening this one simple evening is not beautiful his heart was touched by the Spirit of God. In regard to this experience more than ninety years of age George Mueller said the following and some of you might have already guessed that this is yours Mueller I was converted in November eight hundred twenty five but I didn't come to the point of total surrender of my heart until four years later in July one thousand nine hundred eighty nine. Eight hundred twenty nine so I think you typo in July eight hundred twenty nine so. It was then I realized my love for money prominence position power and worldly pleasure were all gone God and He alone became my all in all but one question I have is what happened what happened when I read that I said and I read that in the devotional a few weeks ago and I said what I want to know what happened in that for your lives spin. And because I want to go from that place of being not just committed to Christ but fully submitted so that I can be used by God That same way that he was that doesn't mean I'm going to do a bunch of orphanages right because God does have a specific work for each one of us but it means that God's name is going to be glorified to the maximal possible extent. Through me and I will be able to fulfill the mission and the purpose that God has given me in my life. So what happened well now he writes My life became very different although I did not give up every sin at once I did give up my wicked companions going to taverns and habitual lying so I guess he was still lying on a case in but at least the habitual line was gone. I read the Scriptures prayed often loved their brother and went to church with the right motives and openly professed Christ although my fellow students laughed it mean so. This is what I actually started to change him not just the commitment aspect but it actually started to prepare him for full submission and other words he was practicing the truth he was not only committed to the Lord but he was actually following what the god has asked him to do step by step he was practicing in the little things to submit to God he was studying the Bible he was praying he was having fellowship with other people he was doing his best to say Lord help me to not be a liar. And he was witnessing he was involved in active service for others. And then came the crisis point so. George Mueller had learned how to submit to God in the little things along the way but now. In eight hundred twenty nine he became quite physically ill and. He said in my estimation I was beyond recovery yet the weaker I became in body the happier I was in spirit every sin I had ever committed was brought to mind reminds me of Jacob right when he was wrestling but I realized that I was washed and made completely clean in the blood of Jesus. When my doctor came to see me my prayer was Lord you know that he does not know what is best for me therefore please direct him when I took my medicine my prayer was Lord you know that this medicine is no more than a little water now please Lord let it produce the effect which is for my good and for your glory let me either soon be taken to have been or let me be restored Lord do with me as you think best. Does that sound like submission to you. And the reason he got to that point was because of the little decisions the little behaviors that the practice that he had said up to that point. I had a great deal of time to study the Bible why recovered during this time God showed me that his word alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things the word can be explained only by the Holy Spirit is the teacher of his people the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our sinful state show us the need of a savior enable us to believe in Christ explain the Scriptures to us and preach to us preach the word. The Lord enabled me to put this to the test by laying aside my commentaries and almost every other book and simply reading the Word of God that first evening when I shut myself in in my room to pray and meditate over the Scriptures I learned more in a few hours than during the last several months is not amazing because what happened was that through the habitual study of the word over those years and it inhibits really. Following Christ in the little things that had prepared him to meet that final great test where he was asked whether he was going to really submit to God in all things and as he went through that stress can you just imagine the cloudiness that it was in his brain and how his brain was being disorganized and just like falling in love or pregnancy right there is that disorganization that was going on in the brain and he got to that point and he said Father glorify the high name not mine and it was that point where his mind was actually opened. His heart was open he was able to receive the Word of God like he had never received it before and he was able to attach to God in a deeper way than he had ever attached to anything in the past and really find that peace that passes all understanding and that's really where he began to truly glorify God's name his influence and work expanded rapidly by eight hundred thirty six the first orphanage was opened and he wrote this he said so many believers were harassed and distressed in mind or brought guilt upon their consciences on account of not trusting in the Lord and that is I will tell you one hundred percent. Root of our all of our problems are at their on account of not trusting the Lord this awakened in my heart the desire of setting before the church at large and before the world a proof that he has not in the least changed in this seemed to me best done by this stablish ing of an orphan house it needed to be something which could be seen even by the natural eye and remember he never ask a soul for money right never even through insinuation because he wanted to glorify God's name that was so he was called to now if I were a man simply by prayer and faith obtained without asking any individual the means for. Establishing and carrying on an orphan house there would be something which with the Lord's blessing might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God Besides being a testimony to the consciences of the N. converted of the reality of the things of God. This then was the primary reason for a selfish thing the orphan house. I certainly did for my heart desire to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children but still the first and primary object of the work was and still is that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only by prayer and faith with anyone without anyone being by me or my fellow laborers whereby it may be seen that God is faithful still and hears prayers still. And that is what glorifies God's name when we are so fully reliant and trustful of him by the way I know we're basically out of time but I just want to say his library. Is only full of Bibles that's all you had for his entire library OK. So in closing. In growing from step two to step three we want to actually allow stress to take us from being committed to being fully submitted to God's work and how do we do this well there's five steps. The first thing is this is a first step so you know we're talking about commitment that's wonderful but that it's not where things stop that's really where the fun begins we commit to Christ we make that decision and we spend time with Christ just like George Mueller started to spend time with Christ he started spending time reading the Bible and prayer and in fellowship with other. Believers Peter the disciple he started spending lots of time with Christ. But then we need to step three embrace stress signals instead of going into avoidance you know one of my big things when someone asked me if I like my wife is usually the one that says you seem stressed you know lawn not stressed I'm fine. I know I don't get stressed or hit we're in denial but we actually need to recognize when we're in stress mode because when we're stressed out that's an opportunity to actually change our way of behavior instead of going into fight or flight mode submitting to God and practicing in the the little things of life. Asks to see yourself through his eyes. In other words you know when we when we see the deficiencies and the problems that we are facing when we are faced with all these these things that need to change it can be overwhelming but when we see ourselves through his eyes which is the same way that Peter saw himself when he when Christ looked at him Christ gave him a look yes of sadness but it in expressible love and compassion and. Jesus was not hurt for himself. Really Jesus was hurting for Peter and the pain that Peter was going through because of the decision he made and when we see that we can actually be strengthened and when we see His infinite love him for us what do you think happens do you think oxytocin is being released in our brain oxytocin is being released because we're connecting we're connecting with the Lord and that actually brings down that stress level and allows us to get into that mode of trusting and abiding. So when you think about building muscle. When you think about exercise well doing intense exercise what does it do to that muscle it tears the muscle right but as it tears it has the possibility of repairing and growing new attachments to the muscle and healthier ways so that it can actually become stronger. And I think that that's a good thing to think about when we're building heart muscle in other words when we're talking about allowing God to change our hearts. Yes God is going to allow us to go through trials through difficulties is going to allow us to go through intensely stressful time and I don't know about you but it seems like everywhere I look I have acquaintances relatives friends patients the stress level is rising the pressure cooker is heating up. We're getting closer to this world final hour but God is doing that in His mercy because he's saying I want you to be able to practice submitting to me in the small things of life. So that when the greater crisis comes the natural inclination will be instead of going into fight or flight mode it will actually be to submit to God's will and as we're going through those stressful times yes it might feel like our heart is being torn out within us and literally you know those nerve cells are being Drange and changed and things are happening in our mind that we don't even understand but as we behold the beautiful face of Jesus and His love for us His infinite love even when we see those imperfections even when we see the problems. Our mind will be able to open and we'll be able to detach from those things of the world in a time. To him in a deeper way in a more meaningful way than we ever thought possible it's like my grampa says he says when I look within me I get depressed when I look around me I get distressed but when I look to him I am blessed I am caressed and I am at rest praise God that he wants to give us that rest in Him That will really be the peace that passes all understanding always stand for your word of prayer. Dear Father I thank you so much for your mercy and your compassion towards us I thank you that through the gift of Jesus you showed us that you love us so much and that we are so valuable to you and that you will go to whatever extent necessary to show us how valuable we are to you I thank you so much even for the difficulties for the stresses in the trials that are brought upon a speak because these are truly your instruments for helping us to detach from the things of this world and attach to you Lord. Every one of us here today and wants to glorify your name. And I pray that you would help us to submit in the little things of life day by day in the little stresses that we wouldn't embrace those as opportunities to allow us to to form the habit of truly trusting you in all ways and all. So that there are in the greater. Middle and that your name. Uses. This medium was produced by audience. Having just layman's services in. If you would like to learn more about. Please visit. Mr. Or if you would like to do this for free online sermons visit W.W.W. body averse.


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