Dear Lord, you are the LIGHT of the world, I give you permission to override my below the line tendencies that project “lights off” rather than “lights ON” to the world around me. I know that I can’t give out what I haven’t mastered within my interior world. Open the eyes of my heart Lord to tune into those phrases and verses that pop out to me reminding me of an opportunity to identify and adjust my perceptions and behavior to more fully embrace and live out your will in my life. This invitation to detox my life from negativity is not for the faint hearted. Strengthen my weak knees so that I can unzip my old self and zip up my new self being renewed in the Holy Spirit with the gift of each new dawn. I want to be a city set on a hill and a light that outshines the darkness for you.
Edge God In Podcast Week 18: A Negativity Detox: Step 2
In the previous podcast: Negativity Detox Step 1, we explored high noticing around those negative thoughts and intonations we use with ourselves that dim our light for Christ. We now move into the experience of putting off those behaviors that fuel darkness in and around us as we step into shifting our attention on anchoring those actions that assist us in living a life worthy of the calling we have received.
As we touched upon in the first step of detoxing negativity from our lives mirror neurons reveal an essential element to the point of entry of negativity: our thought life… which ignite our emotional state of being. An emotion is simply your body’s response to your thought life. Mirror neurons will fire, triggering a similar emotional response in the receiver as put forth by the sender.
So, what does this look like when it comes to outshining the darkness? If you want to experience more kindness in your life, be kind. More love? Be loving. More compassion? Be compassionate towards others. This is such a powerful blueprint in behavioral neuroscience that reveals the handiwork of God. Studies have exposed the power of a person’s choice to remain in a place of love and kindness in the midst of outer negativity that is demonstrated by another person. The brainwaves in the sender are actually shift from the two-inch energy of the mind into the unlimited energy that radiates from the heart (The Heartmath Institute). Simply put, we have the ability to shift the brainwaves in another human being for a greater good simply by our choice for love and kindness.
Ephesians chapter 4 and 5 are jammed pack with behaviors that restrict our ability to shine, in fact that fuel darkness in and around us:
- Going to bed angry
- Stealing, even another’s reputation and sense of worth and value through slander, gossiping and bullying
- Foul, polluting language that cuts others down rather than edifying and encouraging using generous assumptions
- Bitterness, indignation and wrath
- Sexual Vices: Lust
- Greed: selfish desire for something: wealth, food, power,
- Wasting time
- Resentment: bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly
- Slander (evil-speaking, abusive language that hurts another person).
- Malice (spite, one-uping, revenge)
- Bitterness: anger at being treated unfairly
- Coveting: a deep yearning to possess or have something.
- Do not be vague (Deuteronomy 30:19 I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you may live, that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him).
The following practices and behavior fuel your ability to SHINE, in fact OUTSHINE the darkness and live a life worthy of the calling you have received in Christ:
- Humility (complete lowliness, void of hubris: excessive self-confidence/pride).
- Meekness: quiet and gentle, not asserting one’s own way over another’s.
- Unselfishness: putting the needs of others above your own.
- Gentleness: kind and tender
- Keep the harmony of oneness
- Seeing the best in others (generous assumptions).
- Express truth
- Enfolded in love: loyal and benevolent (disposed to doing good).
- Put off the old self and take on the new
- Grow in Christ
- Forgive: cancel a debt, release angry feelings towards someone for an offense.
- Tenderhearted, loving, kind, gentle
- Renewed in the spirit of your mind
- Release all false talk (gossip, slander).
- Understand what the Lord’s will is
- Filled with the Holy Spirit
- Make an honest living with your hands
- Reject falsehood: the state of being untrue
Reflect: Read Ephesians 4 & 5:
- Thoughtfully read through the first list that highlights the “old self” or nature. Ask the Holy Spirit to sift your mind and help you tune into those behaviors that you most closely relate to in your life. Perhaps they are behaviors you have set aside on your spiritual journey with the Lord. Perhaps they are behaviors that still creep into your life when you are in the HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired…or sick). As you shine the light of your awareness on your “shadow behavior” invite the Holy Spirit to lighten your grip and assist you in the release process. Picture specific times when those behaviors take the main stage in your life. Create a container of psychological safety as you lean into the Lord’s loving grace and healing, nothing thrives in a state of accusation and judgment.
- Next turn your attention to the second list, those behaviors that flow from your “new nature”, created in God’s image in true righteousness and holiness. Which behaviors come easily for you? What behaviors do you desire to see more of in your life? What holds you back from show casing those desired behaviors? Highlight or circle those behaviors.
Identify & Integrate:
- After reflecting on the list of your old nature behaviors, “BC”, before Christ entered into your character and began transforming and pruning for growth, identify and write down the last time you remember a behavior that revealed your “old nature.”
- Next pause, identify and write down the last time you revealed your “new nature”? Identify how you felt in each situation. Identify your feelings of peace, love and confidence when you are Outshining the darkness as your behavior reflects your “new self” in Christ. Galatians 2:20.
- Materials: 1 large index card. On one side of the card write down your top 3 new nature behaviors that come easily for you and 3 new nature behaviors you would like to see more of in your life.
- On the back side of the index card write down 3 behaviors from your old nature that you want to release, unzip and step out of in your life. For each behavior pause and ask yourself: What triggers this behavior in my life? What do I need to remember in that moment to help me lean into Jesus’ love for me? Hear and lean into Jesus compassionate declaration over the life of the woman caught in adultery: “Women, is there anyone here to condemn you? Go and leave your life of sin.” Jesus is all about beginning again and again and again.
- Ask questions to help unveil any hidden agendas around unwanted behavior: what is the upside of holding onto this behavior? What do I get out of it? Is it power over others? The need to be right? Liked? Understood in order to feel that you have worth and value? Peel back the onion to reveal the main fuel behind unwanted behavior. Invite the Holy Spirit into the shadow and ask for the grace to forgive and release.
- Watch out for the serpent of guilt and shame. Satan’s trickery comes in the form of self-accusation that leads to paralysis and more darkness: Did God really say that? Did he really forgive you? Declare boldly as Jesus did: “Get thee behind me satan, I choose to hold fast to my identity in Christ…by his stripes I am healed!”-Isaiah 53:5
- As you master the old nature behaviors, continue to reflect on the list and add new ones as those shadow behaviors reveal themselves to you. Whatever you drag out into the light of your awareness and the light of Christ’s loving redemption loses its grip on you.
Dear God, more of you less of me. I declare the new nature behaviors as my set point in life. I choose, by your loving grace, to put off my old self and completely immerse myself in you, where darkness is consumed by the light. I am your ambassador Lord, make your appeal through me. May my choice to detox negative behavior from my life result in revival wherever you call me to go. I want to outshine the darkness!
~Lauren & Estella