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A Worshipping Brain is a Happy Brain

By Cheri Fuller

A research study was done on what separates stars who win the Olympic gold medal, a prestigious marathon, or national championship with other athletes who have just as much talent, but do not win the coveted prize. The scientists found it was the athletes' ability to stay focused under stress that made the difference in who won the grand prize. There is much we can learn from these athletes.

Being a mother and nurturing our children is a marathon of its own. It's not a short sprint! And just as the champion athletes found, we need to stay focused under stress- and moms have plenty of stress today. There are problems everywhere we turn. Perhaps your child is struggling to learn in the classroom or is achieving way below his potential. Maybe your husband's job is unstable, or you have financial struggles. Perhaps it's a medical issue which is the problem; you or someone you love is sick. It seems we get one problem solved and another wave of problems rolls into our life and family.

In the midst of difficulties, it's so easy to focus our attention on the mountains of problems instead of the Mountain Mover. When we focus on the problems, we get overwhelmed, discouraged and anxious- and even feel like dropping out of the "race."

But when we focus on God as we were created to do, the benefits are real and valuable. Praise lifts our eyes from the struggles to the One who promises never to leave us or forsake us. Praise drives away frustration, tension, depression and fear. Praise cleans the atmosphere in our homes and hearts, gets rid of all the smog and fog of circumstances so that we can see Who is in control. Our focus is drawn from the complexity of the problem to the adequacy of God's infinite resources.

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Dr. Richard Smith, a prominent neurosurgeon in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has a term I love: a worshipping brain is a happy brain. He actually did brain research on the effects of praise and worship on the human brain. He found active praise and worship is great therapy. Our brains are constantly inputting information and when we focus on God like He created us to do and give Him our thanks, worship, and praise, our thinking actually changes from anger or anxiety, sadness or fear to peace, joy, love, and confidence. For those of us who care for active and sometimes challenging children- we need happy brains!

Each day, spend a few moments turning your focus from the problems to God. How can you do this? You might put on a worship CD as you drive to work. I often sing a favorite Scripture chorus or song to God in my quiet time which redirects my gaze to Him. Read a psalm aloud to God or if you are really feeling distressed, pray the last seven psalms back to God every day even when you aren't feeling like it. As you do, you'll find as I have that the heaviness and negative thinking begins to lift.

Worship and praise is like hitting the "Refresh" key on your computer. It's like zooming out and refocusing on the big picture and the fact God unconditionally loves you when you least deserve it- and loves your children even more than you do (which is a good thing because kids need love when they are the most unlovable- and we do too.) Worship and praise isn't just for a church service but for our everyday lives as well, for it gives us a "happy brain" and a renewed mind.

(Use only with permission of author.)

© Cheri Fuller
Cheri Fuller is an international speaker and award-winning author of forty two books including her newest, Mother-Daughter Duet: Getting to the Relationship You Want With Your Adult Daughter, The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional. She has also authored a number of books for moms like: The Mom You're Meant to Be, The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional, the bestselling When Mothers Pray, A Busy Woman's Guide to Prayer, Connect With Your Grandkids, as well as The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible. Her books have been translated into many languages and her magazine articles and speaking ministry provide encouragement to moms throughout the U.S. and overseas.

A former Oklahoma Mother of the Year, Cheri has been a frequent guest on "Focus on the Family" and other national radio and TV programs. Her articles on prayer, family, marriage, and children have appeared in Focus on the Family, Family Circle, ParentLife, Guideposts, Today's Christian Woman, Better Homes & Gardens, and other publications.

Cheri's passion is encouraging women, mentoring moms, building families, and inspiring and equipping people to connect with God in their busy life so they can impact their kids and their world through prayer. Her ministry and course called "Parenting From Behind Bars" and gives hope and purpose to mothers in prison. She and her husband Holmes have three grown children, six lively grandchildren and live in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Her website, includes a blog, articles, free Bible studies, encouragement, and more.


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