Monday, April 11, 2011

ANTs, Post-Traumatic stress and God's way out

I read a book years ago called “None of These Diseases” by S. I. M.D. McMillen and David E. M.D. M.D. Stern. It was based on Exodus 15:26 which says, “And He said, " If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."” I’m not sure what of my ideas came from that book but I find the promise in this Exodus passage interesting when you consider that much of the law had to do with cleanliness, washing your hands before you eat, how to handle disease among the people and disposal of dead things. It was centuries before people understood scientifically how to prevent the spread of disease but the solution was already in their hands.

I was thinking about that in connection with Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Doctor Amen, of the Amen Clinics writes a book called “Change your Brain, Change your Life.” In it he talks about killing the “ANTs” which are automatic negative thoughts. He talks about breaking anxiety and depression by killing ANTs. Most understand the effects of stress on our bodies and on our lives. It is hard to know what to do to combat the things that bombard us day by day but again if we take God’s word to heart there are answers to there that I had never really considered. Want to know how to kill those ANTs? Dwell… live on the true, honorable, right, pure things… dig and find the things worthy of praise and live there

I don’t believe that means to stuff it or refuse to feel what you can’t help feeling. Much of what goes round and round in our heads is really post-traumatic stress. Things replay in our minds because our brains are trying to process the unthinkable. Twisty, hurtful and wrong… the thing that we can never seem to process is evil. I don’t believe we were ever created to experience evil. It always feels like a punch in the gut when we experience it and there is no way to make sense of it. But our brains try, and try, and try. But God did give us ways to survive evil one of which is to shine a light on the path out of the darkness. That is turning our eyes from the evil and focusing it on the good. Not denying that the evil is there but taking away it’s power by turning to the LORD in our pain.

Sometimes my way of doing battle against the enemy is to write music. I figure if I write a praise song every time satan attacks me he might back off. Now, as I look at that passage in Philippians 4 it makes even more sense. When I am laid flat by evil, or left flailing by some twisted truth, recognizing that the path out is focusing my eyes on Jesus instead of on the waves. (Matthew 14:28-30)

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