We are only beginning to understand the brain and how we think.
Author and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says that we essentially have two brains. A fast one and a slow one. Or, put another way, a lazy one and an active one. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, he explains the research that proves his theory.
Over our lifetimes, according to Dr. Kahneman, we develop short cuts in our brain to help us cope and make decisions more quickly and - many times, but not always - more accurately. Our brain combines our life experiences, our knowledge and our preferences into a decision framework to ease and speed up our decision making.
Recommended Resources (there's a cool TED video in here!)
Our brains betray our true self interest
Our lazy brain tries to fit everything we experience into this decision framework - even if it doesn't really fit. And sometimes, if it doesn't fit into the framework, the brain just discards the information altogether!
We operate most of our daily life on the autopilot of our lazy brain without truly considering most of what's going on around us. In depth thinking takes a lot of energy and the brain tries to avoid it unless we consciously choose to engage in it.
God created us and made our brains to work this way for a reason. The modus operandi works well in many situations, but it also betrays us in others.
God created us and made our brains to work this way for a reason. It works well in many situations, but it also betrays us in others.
And, since he designed it, he knows how the brain works and how to get its attention.
Complacency is the emeny
He knows that as long as things are going well, we will stay on autopilot and drift through life without truly thinking about very much.
He also knows that when we drift through life like this, we often drift away from him too. Our sinful nature and the pull of living in a fallen world (2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:2, John 12:31) conspire to slowly pull us away from God if we don't make conscious choices to align ourselves with him.
Many times, crises are either allowed by God or put into our lives by God to draw us back to or into relationship with him. A crisis jolts our brain out of laziness and into active thought.
Choose to change your frame of reference
We usually see crises as bad things in our lives because they're uncomfortable and challenge our status quo. God sees them as a means of drawing his children to himself and reminding them of the true source of their hope, security and peace.
When we have these times in our lives, we can choose to look at them as merciful opportunities from a loving Heavenly Father. If we want to live righteous, Godly lives, we must allow these times to draw toward God rather than pushing us away.
He doesn't have to reach out and draw us back to himself. He could let us drift away. But he chooses to enter into our lives because he wants what's best for us...an unbroken relationship with him.
If we get into the Bible (I recommend Psalms or Job as good places to start) and cry out to God in lament and prayer, God will meet us in the crisis.
Trusting God's desire for relationship with us
Trusting God's desire for relationship with us means choosing to trust in the purity of his motives over the purity of ours. Many times, crises come into our lives to draw us into further relationship with him.
When and how crises will end is shrouded in God's Providence. But if we use our active brain to choose God rather than letting our lazy brain draw us away from him, God will begin to rewire our brains little by little to trust him more no matter our life circumstances.
Drawing us back into a right relationship isn't the only reason God allows or puts crises in our lives, of course. But it is one of the primary reasons for it. Check out the other articles in this series for more reasons.
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