With less than a month before school starts again, I have started to buckle down on getting lessons together, as well as multiple backup plans depending on how the year unfolds. Every time I sit down to work on things I am distracted by Margot asking for a snack every five minutes and Charlotte’s tendency to climb in my lap, either grabbing the pen out of my hand or slapping the computer keyboard to the point I need to troubleshoot whatever she did before I can continue. As distracting as my children are when attempting to work from home, I am also blocked by the fact that my brain is just not functioning like it should.
When I was 16, I was in a bad car accident. I miraculously walked out of the hospital that night with no real injury. The one effect that lingered for a couple years was my ability to quickly pull up and articulate information. I was always a good student and school came easily to me. After the accident, I struggled with speaking in class. I could complete classwork and take tests just fine, but it was a different story whenever a teacher called on me to answer a question. I felt like my brain was just circling around trying to load until it took so long that I would start to feel hot and panicky. I would usually try to say something funny or blurt out a joke, but the truth was I couldn’t pull up and voice information on the spot and, quite frankly, it made me feel a little dumb.
I’ve noticed that I am experiencing that same kind of disconnect now. I was talking with my best friend, Lauren, the other day and she mentioned something Oprah Winfrey had said. I paused as I tried to remember who Oprah Winfrey was. I knew the name was familiar, but couldn’t connect why. Was she an old friend of ours from school? Maybe a girl we used to cheer with or one of Lauren’s work colleagues? After staring blankly for a few seconds, I finally asked, “who is that again?” We both had a good laugh after she told me, especially because I had just been explaining to her how I felt that my brain was only functioning around 20% these days.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”Romans 12:2
It was explained to me that your brain works like a filing cabinet, grouping like experiences together. When you go through trauma, there is not a preexisting file for that kind of experience and your brain doesn’t know what to do with the information. The trauma is just constantly running through your mind until it eventually finds a place to settle down. While your brain goes through the process of finding a place to file your trauma, it is working overtime to declutter and weed out other information you don’t need, making it harder to pull up things like an answer in world history class or a celebrity’s name.
In this world we live in where so much information is accessible at our fingertips, more than ever our brains are becoming cluttered with information we don’t need. It’s time to weed out the unimportant things that have begun to pile up. I personally know way too much about the Real Housewives and not enough scripture. We need to renew our minds to focus on what is important and pleasing to God. This takes practice, but I am striving to make a point of focusing on what is important as I prepare for an unprecedented school year. I challenge you this week to block out just 30 minutes to focus on your priorities, carefully assessing the information you choose to take in. Replace Netflix with a devotional, use your phone to actually call and catch up with a friend instead of mindlessly scrolling, or just step outside to enjoy the sunset and really take in God’s glorious creation. Renew your mind.
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