Life 103

Monday, January 02, 2006

a new response

This week one of our beautiful and gifted pastors asked us to pose this question to God in the quiet of our worship together: God, what would you like to do in me this year?

In the silence that followed, I heard these words; “I want to write a new response for you.”

A coworker and I have been talking recently about Dr. Daniel Siegel and his book, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are and the neurobiology of interpersonal relationships and our relational experiences. I know exactly what “I want to write a new response for you” means and in my case, it's definitely not a minor adjustment. I also know I would not have chosen this as a new year's resolution which helps me hold out hope for the promise it suggests.


  • The parts of this I can understand sound cool. You're going out of my league with a lot of it, though.

    And wait a second while I put my tongue in my cheek... :^)...there we go.

    What, as opposed to the normal ugly and ungifted pastors?

    By Blogger Gregg Koskela, at 3:29 PM, January 02, 2006  

  • Gregg, I admit that some of your review of After Our Image is over my head too. It's really good but my vocabulary isn't expanding fast enough.

    Dr. Siegel’s premise is that the human brain is constantly under construction and that while genetics provide the general framework for brain development, it is largely relationships and social interactions that determine how the framework is built upon. The actual “wiring” of the brain, the interconnection of its neurons, is dependent on social interaction, most notably in early childhood. Repeated experience creates and strengthens neural pathways, while lack of experience causes the corresponding unused tracks to wither. Recent brain research indicates that the neural tracks which cause a certain response to the same stimulus each time can be changed with a new response and that even withered tracks can be rekindled.

    This means that kids tend to repeat the same response to similar situations over time, strengthening specific neuropathways so that we grow up using the same response to, say, stress or disappointment, that we learned once upon a time. The good news is that our “automatic” responses can be rewritten so, for example, (tongue in cheek goes here) your defensive response to my comment about the beautiful and gifted pastor who wasn’t you this week can actually be re-learned; replaced with a healthy sense of self that can rejoice in another’s good fortune. You can also choose not to retaliate....please.

    The Developing Mind means a lot of things, the implications for kids with detachment disorder are huge, but as it relates to this post, it means that Christ wants what I want: a new response to an old problem. It means that the change won’t be a surface makeover but rather a significant and permanent revision. It also means that I am not the one doing the re-writing, which is good because by now I’ve proven myself incapable.

    By Blogger kathy, at 7:04 PM, January 02, 2006  

  • :) Self-deprecating humor is hard wired!

    I got you now, and this is very cool. Thank you! What a cool picture to think of inviting God to rewire our response to his leadings. Thanks for your words and your example.

    By Blogger Gregg Koskela, at 9:01 AM, January 03, 2006  

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