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Episode 92 - How To Change A Pattern


So friend, how are you doing? How’s your heart? And I don’t mean that amazing, essential organ that keeps your blood pumping. I really mean your soul and spirit. How are you doing spiritually and emotionally? If you’re like me, sometimes you can get off track. Lose your edge. Lose your focus and end up far off the target.

Sometimes I feel like I just need a big ‘ole sign - like a poster board - that just follows me around reminding me what I should be doing, and thinking, and how I should be acting. Do you ever feel that same way?

Last week, I mentioned that one of the three lessons I learned about being a Christian came as an analogy from my skydiving experience. It was that Christians are sinners. Sometimes I hit the target and sometimes I don’t. But I have to tell you, when I miss it, I feel really bad about myself. Ugh. Like really bad. I beat myself up and say things like, “What in the world is wrong with you?” But I must be in good company. Because like I mentioned last week, the Apostle Paul said, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7 verses 15 and 16. I’m imagining him ending that with UGH, too.

So, last week I was reading through Ephesians 3 and was using a system that prompts me to slowly and carefully read the scriptures in four different versions and then make notes on how what was being said either caused me to adore my Heavenly Father, convict me to confess sins of omission or commission, moved my heart to give my Heavenly Father thanks, or created space for me to ask Him for something. It’s the most enlightening and personal way for me to read the Bible. If we’re friends on Facebook, you can see my post about it a week or so ago. And, hey, if we’re not friends on Facebook or Instagram, why not?

Okay, so as I was reading verses 14 through 19 in The Message, which is actually a paraphrase, not a translation, the first words of verse 14 caught my attention. Paul says, “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father…” Then reading on to verse 19, it’s an encouragement to experience the depth and richness of God’s love in a personal encounter. Then with a final encouragement to, “Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” This “living a full life” is the aliveness that I’ve been talking about since the very first episodes of this podcast. And yet at that moment I found myself making that UGH noise over and again, and then asking the Lord to show me what this looks like and how to do it. How to practically, on the daily, live a full life in the fullness of God. Like, right in the middle of the “To Do” list, the phone calls, making lunch, paying bills, client calls, all the routine of the day. How do I live full when a lot of my daily activity feels like they’re taking from that fullness more than giving?

And this is what I’ve been beating myself up about lately: I’ve realized that I have a really bad habit about being so quick to call someone looking for an answer to a problem or a question I may have or a decision I need to make instead of asking the One who can do far more abundantly above all that I could ever imagine or guess or request in my wildest dreams. That’s what Ephesians 3:20 says. Again, I ask, “What the heck is wrong with me? Do I not believe that God’s love is deep and wide and high, and that I could personally experience that love? And isn’t it that love that fills me to the full?

So, when I read the Apostle Paul’s response was to get down on his knees before the Father, I knew there was something there. It wasn’t just in thanksgiving to what he had witnessed in the believers. It was Paul’s life. A surrendered, full, engaged-with-Christ life. Getting down on his knees before the Father was probably his response to everything. And this was his fullness.

So, what about me? I had to believe that I, too, could experience the deep, rich love of God and this fullness of life every time my response is to get down on my knees before Him. So, I made a sign. Not quite as big as a poster board, but big enough to set on my kitchen island so I couldn’t miss passing by. A healthy, constant reminder of my intention to live a full life, full in the fullness of God. I got down on my knees in response to everything: the call with my business coach, the client call, the phone call with my financial broker, the text, the coaching with my life coach, the A/C repair guy, lunch, an idea, a break, another two clients, everything. It became a day full of response to God’s goodness, provisions, and activity in my life. And each an occasion to invite Him into my life’s circumstances. This is what it is to live a full life, full in the fullness of God. It’s living in His presence. And for us humans, we get so distracted with the day to day activities, we need to practice His presence again and again until it becomes habitual, natural. When my response to everything is to get down on my knees before the Father, I’m training my brain how to quickly switch gears out of the singular focus of my daily task and onto heavenly things - God the Father. Training my brain, one kneel at a time, how to make the connection between mundane tasks and God’s presence. Practicing and practicing and practicing. Being transformed by the renewing of my mind - Romans 12:2 - living a full life in His presence.

Now, this is easy when you’re at home most of the day. But how do you do that when you’re out running errands? Or at an office in a building with other people around who might think you’ve lost your mind if every few minutes you’re dropping to your knees? Well, honestly, I’m not sure. There are so many times as Christians we’re fighting our propensity to please others, to push against the tendency to want to act the way we think they want us to act, to relinquish the urge to be more concerned about what people think than what God thinks. This is our struggle. So, for you, I can’t tell you how you should do this exactly. Maybe it’s an internal kneeling. I’m pretty sure God would be just as honored. Let’s just make sure we’re not getting legalistic about it, though. In fact, I’m sure there are many ways to practice the presence of God; many ways to make a cognitive connection between daily tasks and our Heavenly Father’s presence; many ways to invite Him into our circumstances.

For me, I knew I needed a physiological change in my body to punctuate the response. Because, we know that physiology or movement disrupts a pattern we don’t like. There’s a lot more to say here about pattern disruption that maybe we’ll get to on another episode. But making a physiological change in your body also reinforces a pattern we’re trying to create as a habit. You’ve heard me say time and again that the mind and the body are intimately and intricately connected. You are training your brain to connect the two. Here, as kneeling as a response to everything, it elicits a verbal response, which might be being thankful, or asking God for something, or maybe even just inviting Him into the next thing. But a change in physiology and a verbal response always results in an emotion that is full of life. It’s an emotion that sends dopamine to the brain that reinforces the pattern. Then the brain is saying, “Let’s do that again!” And that’s how you create a positive pattern in your life, a habit.

So, friend, how about you? What could you do to make that cognitive connection between your daily tasks and your Heavenly Father’s presence? What would you choose to do to disrupt an old pattern in order to reinforce the new? Would your response to everything in your life be to kneel before the Father? Be sure that if you want to live a full life, full in the fullness of God, it is found in experiencing His love and presence in your day-to-day.

Hey, friend, are there some old patterns you’d like to break free from and just need a little help? I’d love to be your Life Coach and help you create those new cognitive connections for new positive patterns in your life.

I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.

Also, don’t forget click the link in the show notes to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode.

Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life podcast.

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