Quieting…why? (how do you do that?)

The latest news is that Chris has a herniated disk. It remains to be seen how this will play out. Let’s hold him in prayer as he walks through this pain filled time.

I wanted to share with you this week about quieting, brain skill #2. How well this skill is mastered is a predictor of an individual’s lifelong mental health. And remember, that ideally, these 19 skills are mastered by age 3 1/2!

With national and world events as they are, these are difficult times and the temptation is to fear. Fear is one of “The Big Six Negative Emotions” that we need to learn how to return to joy from. This skill of quieting will be essential in the days ahead.

 

Skill Two – Soothe Myself

Skill2_fmt

Why is Quieting important? Simple Quiet – Quieting (shalom) after both joyful and upsetting emotions is the strongest predictor of life-long mental health.

Can you identify a time in your life when you were wrought with worry and dread? Intrusive thoughts robbed your peace. Maybe you felt misunderstood, even wrongly accused. Possibly you were concerned about paying the bills or worried about health issues. Your shallow breathing and tense body gripped you. You wondered if this riptide would ever end. When Skill Two is missing you do not effectively quiet your thoughts or body. You feel exhausted.

Another reason you need to learn this skill is that relationships require a rhythm of joy and rest. You rest then cycle back to joy. You build joy and return to rest. This moment by moment interaction leaves us satisfied. Short moments of rest provide strength and stamina for more joy. You see this in infants who reflexively look away from interactions once they reach a peak of joy. They quickly return for more face to face joy, and the dance continues.

When synchronized, energy levels mutually climb and drop. Your brain knows these patterns and the fun feels natural. The lack of rest makes you feel overwhelmed. Alternating joy with rest prevents relational casualties.

Just think about a time you enjoyed a tasty meal with a friend. Each bite is savored as you synchronize your breathing, eating, tasting, swallowing and speaking. Your senses are pleased. Much like the result of your good meal and fellowship, Skill Two is a primary commodity that keeps relationships balanced. Skill Two releases serotonin on an “as needed” basis to recharge your relational battery. Serotonin leaves you content and peaceful. As a sunrise leads to a sunset, Skill Two follows Skill One to soothe your body and calm your mind. Joy and quiet are cyclical, each compliments the other.

A third reason to learn and practice quieting is that memories, language, talent, muscles and skills that are not used will atrophy. When it comes to relational skills, every generation can only transmit what they learn and use. As skills drop out of family lines, generations spread undesirable traits such as abuse, pain, addictions and distortions. Regardless of intention and determination, you cannot give what you do not have. Skill Two diminishes when families and communities either do not allow or have not learned to rest. Without Skill Two you overwork, burn out, feel depressed, become lost in your devices, avoid states of quiet and push yourself until something gives. You pass this deformity on and call it normal.

Skill Two is difficult to identify because replacement patterns are socially acceptable. You replace quiet and rest with BEEPS in the form of busyness, work, sex, music, iPhones, television and sugar. Who you are may be based on the things you do, the items you buy, the cars you drive, the places you work or clothes you wear. Synthetically calming your emotions and ignoring rest signals create strain and deregulate the brain. BEEPS replace the natural ebb and flow families rely on.

The inability to down-regulate emotions to rest and up-regulate positive emotions to joy lead to the largest risk of developing a mental illness in a lifetime. Skill Two, when absent, leaves you vulnerable to depression, anxiety, addictions, ADD, ADHD and a myriad of behavioral and personality disorders. You recognize the need for Skill Two when you fear slowing down, resist rest and surrender to the urge to disconnect in non-relational ways.

Skill Two is best learned by spending time with people who rest. Like all of the nineteen skills, Skill Two is relationally transmitted. With practice you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that rest and quiet feels enjoyable, even restorative. Small steps of quieting create a positive link that extends into relationships. Rest is rewarding. Over time quieting begins to replace previously learned behaviors that replaced a genuine need for rest. Racing thoughts can be slowed. To-do lists can be written down instead of finished right now. Impulsive responses can be tamed. To varying degrees, yoga, silent retreats, the Sabbath and mindfulness exercises are some of the ways our culture embraces Skill Two.

Rest is a gift you give other people. As you demonstrate this skill you become expert at recognizing the need for rest. You allow others the freedom to rest. Breaking eye contact, low or high energy levels, overwhelm, loss of a relational mode, rising tension levels, even yawning can be signs that a breather is needed. With a bit of practice, quiet no longer threatens your busy lives, rather rest enriches productivity. Rest is one of the most productive skills you can practice.

Resources for Skill Two: How to learn to quiet

  • Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone – the book
  • JoyQ Assessment – online (free)
  • 30 Days of Joy for Busy Married Couples – a book of joy growing exercises each requiring only 10-15 minutes
  • Jesus In Mind: Talks on Kingdom Life  – CDs
  • THRIVE Skill Guides 52 weeks of training exercises

 

Training Opportunities: Where to learn

2014

Joy Rekindled marriage retreat in Morton, IL from September 19th and 20th.

Joy Starts Here in Edmonton, AB Canada for October 3rd and 4th.

2015

Thrive Training in Austin, TX from Feb 23 – 27th.

Annual Gathering on Sustained Relationship in Chicago, IL from April 9th – 11th.

Thrive Training in Grand Rapids, MI from July 27th – 31st.

More info on these events can be found here:

http://www.thrivetoday.org/speakingschedule.html

We always encourage you to begin study groups with the Joy Starts Here  book which will lead to Connexus classes where you can begin to learn these skills. You can look in our past posts to see an explanation of Connexus classes.

Another excellent idea is to take the online Joy-Q assessment of joy levels to gauge your joy levels and to help jumpstart seed-planting in your communities.

May your joy be full,

Chris & Carol,

Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive                            www.fromgodsheart.com Carol’s email — godsheart@comcast.net

Collateral Damage

Have you noticed how something always happens when you make spiritual progress? The enemy sneaks in and hits you in your weak spot. For Chris, his weak spot is his back. And wouldn’t you know, it gave out on him just as Thrive Training approached! Or, if satan can’t hit you, he hits one of your family members or friends.

We thought it important to share this prayer tool with you since the purpose of this blog is to share solutions, encouragement and tools that work! Here is a prayer we found that can invite God to shield your weak spot and the weak spots of anyone associated with you.

Prayer to prevent collateral damage-History

Legal grounds for a class action lawsuit

An example of collateral damage in war is when a target building is bombed, but then it falls or sets fire on the school next door that was not an intended target. We have seen a bit of this recently in the Middle East conflict. An example of collateral damage in spiritual warfare is when you do deliverance for one member of a family, then immediately another member of the family is hit in the same area that the first member was just delivered from.

Sometimes it is institutions. You cleanse one church or company in a cluster and it gets relief, but the symptoms then break out in another church or company in that cluster.

Covenant also needs to be understood. When one nation conquered another, they typically made an agreement, OK, we won’t wipe you out if you pay such and such tribute each year. Israel had times they required conquered nations to pay tribute and there were times they had been conquered and they had to pray tribute. Let’s say that one of the tribes of Israel decided they had had it, and was ready to fight for their freedom and so quit paying.

The nation that had been collecting tribute has to decide whether to let that go or fight the tribe trying to get free. They could either fight the tribe that was getting free or simply collect twice the tribute amount from their nearest tribe and let that tribe decide what to do about paying another tribe’s share in addition to their own. The conquering nation doesn’t care who suffers, just so they get all the money they decided they could squeeze out of the conquered nation.

This is why unity is so important, so be encouraged to pray in agreement with someone, like your spouse or a friend to cover ungodly agreements to prevent collateral damage.

Prayer to prevent collateral damage-Class Action Lawsuit

Father, in accordance with your great love[1], align us with Jesus who prayed,” Father forgive them”. God Most High, the Ancient of Days, forgive the sin of people, including me and my family line[2], for as Jesus said, we “do not know what we are doing[3]”.

Especially have mercy[4] on us and our neighbors and our family lines for ways we condemned the innocent[5] and withheld mercy, especially where we covenanted or agreed together to do evil[6]. Apply your blood to overrule these agreements and in your mercy apply your blood to the consequences of these agreements and to the consequences of renouncing and repenting of these agreements[7]. Also, God Almighty, forgive us for the times and ways we broke covenant with you or others, without regard for the honor of your name[8].

Father God, when we pray for salvation, healing and deliverance for people and healing and deliverance for a home, church, business or area of land, then by your great mercy and the supreme power of your son’s blood shed for mankind, stop evil from enforcing collateral damage[9]. Every time we are offended, may we pray mercy[10] and every time we pray, may your Holy Spirit bring us into unity with Jesus who forgave friend and foe alike. Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one[11].


[1] Scriptures are from the NIV. Numbers 14:19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

[2] Psalm 79:8 Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us…

[3] Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

[4] Matthew 15:22, 28 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” … 28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

[5] Matthew 12:7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

[6] Example, Genesis 37:27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

[7] Isaiah 25:15, 18 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. :18 Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.

[8] Isaiah 24:5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Jeremiah 11:10, 14:7, Daniel 9:19, and Malachi 2:14,

[9] James 2:13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

[10] Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” John 20:23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

[11] Matthew 6:12-13

Trusting this will be helpful.

May your joy be full,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer,  www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris  

Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive         www.fromgodsheart.com 

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net