Your Church +Portland


Study of the Brain


When I was in high school for my senior year, I attended a school geared towards the advanced learners (no jokes as to why I attended there please). They offered some courses for senior students wanting to earn extra credits, courses that were the equivalent to over a semester’s worth of first year University. Being the highly intelligent one in my family, I chose 3 college courses to suit my fancy; Law, Psychology, and Accounting. I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them, but I have to say that I enjoyed psychology the most. The courses were quite difficult to maneuver through and in the end I passed 2 out of the 3. Unfortunately, the one I failed…you guessed it…was the one I enjoyed the most. I’ll never forget my mom’s reply that day when I told her my final grade. “Oh-bah Shian. You failed the study of the brain?!”  Yah, thanks mom!
The fact was, I liked the ‘study of the brain’ as mom called it because I had always found the mind fascinating. It’s probably because when I was a kid I enjoyed daydreaming. I think I got lost in my imagination at least 8 hours a day for the first 12 years of my life. I spent many a day wondering what life would be like as the Bionic Man, how I could be the lead singer of my own Southern gospel group, often wondering whether or not Scotty was going to beam me up out of school to the Starship Enterprise, and then of course the replaying of the story of Joseph in the Bible whereby my brothers would one day bow down to me and serve me! (Except in my story even after my brothers repent to me for all the times they lied and ratted me out, I decide they aren’t worthy of food and so I let them starve to death) However, when I became a teenager I set aside those childish imaginations. As a teen I decided my life would include racing fast cars, becoming a millionaire by 25, and choosing the perfect woman amidst all the pretty girls begging to date me. I even think my voice was sounding a lot more like Elvis at that time too. I guess you could say my imagination was still out of control as an early teen since I didn’t own a car much less a fast one, had only $3 in my junk drawer, and none of the girls in 8th grade considered me dating material. I did sound like Elvis though.
When I look back, my powerful imagination reminds me a lot of the kid Ralphie on the movie, “A Christmas Story." It’s so similar to my upbringing that it’s scary. But by the time I hit my junior year in high school I finally decided it was time to make some changes and start pursuing what I really wanted in life. I realized that more than anything I wanted to be a preacher. So I put away my car magazines and many of my lofty thoughts and began turning my daily Bible reading into my own personal Bible study; my fascination with the brain eventually turned into a fascination of God and the scriptures.  
Many years later this fascination has yet to fade. Today’s fascination of the scriptures led me to the book of Isaiah 40:31. It read, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” To some that means a proclamation for how strong we are, but for me, the kid who failed the study of the brain, I see it all about our ability to wait on the Lord. At first glance it almost sounds like Isaiah is making a push for being patient, but because my brain has a hard time taking something for face value I did some research on it and found the phrase, ‘wait on the Lord’ to actually mean: ‘to expect. To bind together.’ In other words, Isaiah says this to his reader; ‘those who bind themselves to God and expect, the Lord will renew their strength.’ I really don’t think that it’s a verse speaking of how strong we can be but rather a verse reminding us of what happens when we lock arms with God and expect Him to come through. When I remember that God and I are bound together than I remember that God is in this with me, and it’s at that point that a new-found strength comes. When I stop micromanaging my every move and start expecting something good to start happening, then my view on life takes on a whole new perspective; like that of an eagle above its surroundings. When I realize that God and I are tied together, I realize we have become inseparable. My win is His win. If it means I need to get up and start running, I can do that even if I don’t feel like it. If it means that I need to take the first step in something I’d rather not, I can do that too. I guess in the end my brain interprets it like this – when I’m able to see God differently, I am able to handle life differently – a great perspective that determines whether I make it or break it!
I feel some Elvis coming on…
Pastor Shian 

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