The Brain Train

It's still puzzling me

Guest blogger, Karen Burroughs

Some minds are designed to plumb the depths of knowledge, to delve into the puzzles of the universe, furthering humankind’s understanding and propelling us to unimagined realms of insight and expertise, leaving a legacy for future generations!

Something tells me that is not my case……my mother used to say, “When they passed out brains, you thought they said ‘trains’ and you missed yours!” At this point you might be inclined to feel a twinge of sadness for the emotional scars I must surely bear. I admit that is one angle to look at it from, but I believe that one of my mother’s great legacies to me is that she taught me to laugh at myself. (And I laugh a lot!) But! back to brains and trains……

A “train ” I did manage to jump on (and one I am so grateful that I did not miss) I’ll call the Memory Express! In 1999 I accepted a challenge, the challenge to plant God’s word in my heart until it stuck in my mind, taking firm root in my soul. Some people call this Memorization. I wince at that word. Images of painful torture explode in my mind at the very suggestion of memorizing something.

No, this has been my ticket to much happier destinations. In fact, this habit of digging at the soil of my thoughts, inserting God’s truth and then watering it with time and repeated fertilizing (meditating) has become my ticket to green pastures and mountaintop vistas. It has also driven me straight into the sharp edge of his scalpel where festering attitudes have been lanced, allowing his healing word time to penetrate the toughened layers of unhealthy thoughts and self-centered thinking. So, no, this is definitely not about duty but delight! I guess I would call it “Learning by Heart.”

And it’s propelled me into a lot of thinking about thinking! (I know…that’s so profound!) But, seriously, what goes on in our minds is pretty profound. The truth is our thoughts hold sway over our lives.

Scientists confirm that these brains of ours are really complicated organs. It’s astounding how much is going on in there. “Our thoughts and plans, our hearing and seeing and walking around, even our breathing and bodily functions are all controlled in the brain. It works with electro-chemical processes nobody fully understands.” (And of course I cut and pasted that science-y statement from a high brow-something-or-other! Next time, I’ll remember to cite the source – sorry!)

So while I’ll never be a neuroscientist, I am intrigued by the power that God’s Word has to transform my thoughts into motivation which changes my behavior which affects my world. And that, I find, is what I have become passionate about. For quite awhile I have felt a growing compulsion to somehow capture and make sense of what I have learned on this journey. My idea is to use this tool as a kind of table top, a place for laying out the pieces of the puzzle, discovering where they intersect with each other in order to gain greater perspective, insight and clarity. So basically, it’s all about me. But maybe, just maybe there will be a spark, an “aha!” that will benefit someone else. That is my hope.

I invite you to travel with me through this journey of learning, learning his word by heart to be all that we can be.

All aboard?

10 comments to The Brain Train

  • Natalie

    Love it!! Thanks for sharing your story and making scripture memory feel attainable. I would say that the greatest misconception about Mom is that she is some kind of super genius. Yes, she’s incredibly smart but that is not why she has been able to memorize. That is a result of discipline and dedication. I think your story will encourage a lot of people with that truth!

  • Paulette

    Thank you for your beautiful insights. I needed this today. It is never easy,but always a joy,when I look at the great Savior.Thank you very much for your encouragement! Blessings

  • Patty

    I would say the Lord has given you a beautiful mind that is full what is most important, His Word. Thank you for inspiring us to do the same.

  • Shan

    Karen, not only do you have a great sense of humor, you write beautifully! I love what you said: “In fact, this habit of digging at the soil of my thoughts, inserting God’s truth and then watering it with time and repeated fertilizing (meditating) has become my ticket to green pastures and mountaintop vistas.” Memorizing God’s Word is such a wonderful habit to cultivate! Planting seeds of God’s thoughts in the soil of our heart and mind is a great start. But then the soil needs to be kept softened, watered, fertilized and weeded!! That’s where the habits of weeding out distraction, digging deep into and obeying His Word, memorizing and meditating come in. Oh, but the joy of bearing fruits of praise, thanks, peace, joy, righteousness, and complete trust in Him!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Karen, Your words ring true. Our brains control our actions, so it matters what we put into our brains. God’s Word replaces our own thoughts with his. What a life-transforming adventure. Thank you so much for your insights. And your gift of putting thoughts into words.

  • Shan,
    Thanks for your comment. It made me reread my own words! 🙂 I have been fighting distraction lately and it’s hampered my “review” goals. Thinking about what weeds I need to pull is helpful!

  • Natalie, Paulette and Patty,

    I thought I posted a comment earlier but it looks like it didn’t stick! I wanted to say thank YOU for our encouragement. I am just launching out in trying to write more consistently about how God uses his word and the discipline of planting it deeply in my brain and heart to make me more like Him. I get easily discouraged, so thank you!!

  • Juliana

    “Learning by heart” is exactly the phrase I needed to hear today. Right after I finish this message, I am going to call my fellow Scripture memory group friends and tell them about this. Just this morning we reviewed Chapter 3 of “His Word in My Heart” (we are on our second trip through the book) and one person brought up a statement of Janet’s on page 47: “I’ve chosen to make this discipline [Scripture memory] one of the joyful habits in my life.” We all confessed our fear of turning this discipline into drudgery, and agreed together to pray for and pursue joyful discipline in our Scripture memory efforts. “Learning by heart” – in my perception – somehow captures a sense of joy. Thank you, Karen!

  • Thanks, Juliana! And that’s a great idea – going through Janet’s book in a group setting. I’m about to try to get one off the ground here in Orlando. Thanks!

    • Juliana

      Janet provides an 8-week study guide in the back of her book. We used that the first time through. After that, our group committed to continue meeting weekly to recite and pray. One member who had missed the first three weeks due to a prior work commitment requested the book review, and also asked that we go at the pace of just one chapter per week. I’ve been developing some “supplemental” questions for optional use. We are all finding the review helpful. I wish you all the best with starting a group. The fellowship, encouragement and caring accountability have been wonderful for us.