Wednesday, April 19, 2023

When kids don't forgive

This is for kids and their parents (who used to be kids). It's an excerpt from the 2nd Edition of Brain Retrain: The How-To Renew Your Mind Guide.

Your parents may never recognize how they’ve hurt you. They may never apologize. But, if you’re a believer, forgiving them is non-negotiable (Matthew 6:15, NKJV). 

Forgiveness frees you from taking up mental real estate with feeling bad about your past with them and allows God to take that burden on your behalf. 

He knows what to do and when to do it. He can do something about what you can do nothing about. Take what you wish your parents would do, and do it for your own kids. 

Apologize when they say you’ve hurt them. They’re not saying you meant it (and if they do - forgive them if they’re mistaken). They’re saying they had an experience they associate with you, so just tell them you’re sorry without explaining, justifying, denying, or minimizing. 

That’s all they want to hear and what will help them heal: “I’m so sorry I hurt you.” It’s not about your memory, intentions, or reasons - it’s about acknowledging their experience so they can be heard or seen and move on - in their timeline, not yours.

If you sincerely apologize and your kids don’t let it go, keep the door open while you give them space. Ask God to remove any root of bitterness and to heal all wounds (Hebrews 12:15, ESV). 

Finally, permit yourself to feel joy, even if everything isn’t resolved. Sometimes others more easily move on when they see we’ve made steps in that direction ourselves.

Order your 2nd Edition soon (God willing) from or from

#Dr.KarenLiddell, #thebrainretrain, #womeninministry, #forgiveness, #God, #parents #mykidswon'ttalktome, #teenanger, #agingparents, #healing, #renewyourmind

Friday, April 7, 2023

Shut up, sit down, and listen to the Holy Spirit, or, advice I need to hear.

 "Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God's law by transgression or neglect—being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will)." John 3:4, AMPC

I knew the first part, that sin violates God's law - but the second? 

Sin is also living unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will. Ouch.

Sure, that could mean acting like a fool, partying, and running wild. But, what about doing what I want when I want to without asking God if it's His best, in His Will, or pleasing to His Holy Spirit - my true life partner. 

Well, Who else do believers truly do life with? He's the One who has humbled Himself to live inside me to love, care for, and, most relevantly - guide me. 

"So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]." Romans 7:6b, AMPC

Look, I'm not talking about being afraid to decide or say a word without God's say-so. 

I mean pushing forward with an action, statement, or behavior that I know isn't the most pleasing Spiritually, but I'm feeling tempted, hangry, like I deserve it, or the all-important - I've got to make it happen (like Sarah) and take the feel-good now over the wait-and-let-it-pass. 

Thankfully, God understands and, true to form, He's already provided the way out:

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV

Fun fact: temptation lasts an average of 3 minutes. Come on, we can do anything for 3 minutes!

We can pray, drink a glass of water, and ask ourselves what the likely outcome of our decision is, then - we can choose. 

While I can bet neither you nor I bumble it every day, I've done it enough that I've learned the hard way - plowing ahead often results in feeling embarrassed and/or needing to repent. 

It's that "Why, oh why, don't I learn?" feeling that Paul talks about:

"For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right but no power to carry it out.]

For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.

Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [[c]fixed and operating in my soul]." Romans 7:18-20, AMCP

But what can we do about it? Are we helpless? Is there any hope, or is God shaking His head, ready to cast us aside because there's just no teaching us? 

"O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25a, AMPC


Well, If you've got a better way - please let me know, but if not, try mine: 

I'm starting to know myself enough that I pray in advance, asking God to help me be more sensitive to His Holy Spirit before I go into situations where I want to please people, push myself forward, get my own way, or go to the front of the line. 

But for me, that's not enough. That's right, you might be less driven by your unconscious, but I've also got to recognize temptation at the moment, while it's a thought and before it births action (James 1:14-15) - then pray again for God to help me take the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)

That usually means to stop talking, stay put, or sit down.

Now, if you know how I roll, you've anticipated I've started brain retraining on this issue. See, I can tell when I need help - when I start noticing a bad habit happening more often than not. It's the Holy Spirit showing me another layer I need to address. 

So, I ask myself questions like, "When do I usually do this; how do I feel when it happens; what triggers me, how did I learn to do this or that I needed to," and, importantly, "What do I want to feel and do instead?" 

For many of us, that's the final key - taking care of the unconscious resources we're responding to and feeling unable to control. 

Those learned programs trying to keep us safe or ensure our needs are met must be healed so that we can hear and respond to the Holy Spirit within.

Neither of us is alone in this. If you need more help, reach out. We can do this together.

#thebrainretrain, #dr.karenliddell, #womeninministry, #neuroplasticity, #christiancounselor, #christiancounseling, #stopsinning, #bookofJohn, #HolySpirit

Friday, December 30, 2022

If you're going to be a hater, hate what God hates

 We waste a lot of time and energy hating people for their looks, attitudes, choices, beliefs, clothing, tattoos, and piercings - you get it. I'd rather love people and stop doing anything God hates. Let's look at the log in our own eyes instead of pointing out the splinter in theirs.

"There are six things the Lord hates - no, seven things he detests: 

haughty eyes,

a lying tongue, 

hands that kill the innocent, 

a heart that plots evil, 

feet that race to do wrong, 

a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family." 
Proverbs 6:16-19, NLT

"'And let none of you devise or even imagine evil in your heart against another, and do not love lying or half-truths; for all these things I hate,’ declares the Lord.” Zechariah 8:17, AMP

"The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights." Proverbs 11:1, NLT

"Neither shall you set up an idolatrous stone or image, which the Lord your God hates." Deuteronomy 16:22, AMPC

Let's resolve to hate what God hates this year, and love people.

#thebrainretrain, #womeninministry, #dr.karenliddell, #hate, #God, #Bible, #liars, #beliefs, #Christian, #renewingyourmind,

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dr. Andrew Huberman taught me the newest and best way to rewire your bra...

#hubermanlab, #brainretrain, #renewingyourmind, #dr.karenliddell, #happinesscoach #happiness #gratitudepractice #gratefulthankfulblessed #christianlife #christiancounseling #christiancoach #womeninministry

Monday, November 22, 2021

God blesses the humble so how do I become humble

I've been studying "waiting on the Lord," which led to my usual rabbit trail towards how to be humble (not pretend to be humble, because I am a pretty confident buoyant person so I want to know the difference) which led to meekness.

A.T. Pierson commented that meekness is a true preference for God's will. Truly desiring to know what does God want in this situation, and truly waiting on Him to discover it - if it is not obvious knowing God as you do - and then having zero struggle to do that instead of what I want to do and would gratify my limited understanding of all the facts.

Dallas Willard said, God will give us humility (Oh thank God, He can give it to me versus me struggling for it) IF - here it comes - we trust Him and wait for Him to act on our behalf, and IF we stop pretending to be what we claim to be and know we are not, and as a result presume some favorable position is ours and push for it or try to override the will of others...

Do you know what was humbling (humility-giving) to me? God speaking to us, or giving us supernatural experiences, does not prove we are right, righteous or make us important. It doesn't even guarantee we heard Him right. "God's purpose is not to merely support us, or make us look or feel secure in our roles, or confirm we are right." Dallas Willard.

We already are important - to Him. Stop trying to be important (preaching to myself) and simply sit in awe that you are important as is. Is God important to you - not what He gives us or does for us, is He important to you as is? Are you in awe and have a little bit of respectful downright sense of fear that the maker of heaven and earth has a purpose for you and it might or might not result in other people thinking you are important?

If so, simply pray, "Lord, what is important to you today, and please give me the humility to desire that above and beyond anything I would have thought is a better use of my time, in the name of Jesus my Savior, amen."

#God, #humble, #brainretrain, #renewingyourmind, #christiancounselingandcoaching, #importance, #righteousness, #meek, #meekinherittheearth, #Godopposestheproud, #dallaswillard, #a.t.pierson, #dr.karenliddell

Sunday, November 14, 2021

How to fall in love even if you are already married

Looking for your marriage? Many relationships die of boredom or neglect because we focus on raising the kids, growing our business or careers, or simply haven't developed any dreams or goals together beyond what's expected: get married, have kids, make money, buy a house, get to retirement. Then what, and what about the many years in between? Wouldn't you love to be in love? One way to get things moving in the right direction is to spend an hour together, or as long as it takes, to dream about your life the way you did when you first fell in love. Only this time, you're going to make it happen! Sharing individual and relationship goals is crucial to keeping a marriage vibrant, according to famous love and marriage expert, Dr. Neil Clark Warren. 

This wonderful marriage satisfaction plan was adapted from a session described by Dr. Warren in his book, Learning to Live With the Love of Your Life, and Loving It! and fits perfectly within my Brain Retrain format for life-changing and neural rewiring habits.

1. Picture your marriage 10 years from now. What is likely to happen? What are the circumstances you will be living in? Will the children be grown? Will grandkids be spending time with you? Will you be retired? Will you have the time and money to travel or develop hobbies separately and together? 

2. Envision where you each would like to see yourself in 10 years, and also where you would like to be within your marriage? Healthy marriages exist within the freedom for each partner to have their individual goals that the other person supports, encourages, and enables, as well as having goals for the marriage together. Write down everything you would like to be doing, achieving, or having accomplished 10 years from now, and how you would like to spend your time together. It is alright if you both don’t share the full vision, but come up with core agreements of the state of your marriage, your finances, your individual and mutual goals. At this point, the “how” is not as important as the freedom to dream and become aware of your desires.

3. Create a chart for the next 10 years, broken down into 6-month increments. Work backward inputting all the steps to each individual and marital goal until you have identified which actions will take you to the next step. Every mountain can be climbed with enough preparation and time and every mountain is climbed one step at a time. When you imagine simply taking the next step, one day at a time, you’ll climb the mountain without even seeming to try. Your mountain dreaming provides the vision and the motivation, the 6-month steps provide the how-to and the momentum.

4. Now, for each 6-month step, list all the obstacles to completing those steps for individual and marital goals. The solution is never for one person to achieve their goals at the expense of the other person having any of their own. Simply wonder about what might hinder your progress at each step. Each year, plan in a retreat for the two of you in which to re-imagine your dream, and add to your plan, and re-engage in all the excitement as you move one year closer to your goals.

5. Devise a plan to deal with each and every obstacle. Some answers will be obvious, others you may brainstorm possibilities until you find a solution, perhaps one that you might not have considered before. It’s important to see potential, and not shoot down one another’s ideas as “impossible.” One important challenge might be discipline. Are these goals you are both committed to, both in helping one another achieve their own dreams as well as moving your marriage toward the life you envision? Sticking to the plan or revising it as need be is vital to getting where you dream of 10 years from now. You will go where you focus your attention, so attend to your plan and keep your excitement for it alive.

6. Now, this is the most important step that will magnify and amplify every atom inside your brain and body to unconsciously move toward your desired results. This builds a biochemical map in your mind of living this life right now. Your brain does not differentiate between physical reality and imagination. If you can be this new life inside your mind and really feel what that outcome is like, your brain accepts it as a reality that it wants to prove is true. Your R.A.S. will begin to filter into your awareness anything that confirms this choice and to filter out information that is not relevant to your inner life. Make it count! Write one page about how it will feel to live this life, and yes, writing it out by hand is key as this activates learning programs in your brain! How will you feel in 10 years when everything you planned out has come to fruition and you are living the life you designed? Make your statements full of excitement, celebration, and hope. Use rich and affirming adjectives to describe your emotions and your life together.

7. Finally, create an overall mission statement for your marriage that you can laminate and carry with you at all times. One couple Dr. Warren worked with created the following:

a. We commit to love each other under every circumstance for the rest of our lives

b. To search after meaning and satisfaction together wherever it may be found

c. To support and encourage each other at every turn of life

d. To love our kids generously and personally and to raise them wisely

e. To be involved in serving others, especially the underprivileged

f. To respond actively and enthusiastically to the love and guidance of God.

What if my spouse has no interest in this activity, says there is nothing wrong with our marriage, or believes their goals and dreams are the only ones that are important? Do this exercise for yourself with everything you dream for yourself and your marriage. Your enthusiasm and attitude changes might be contagious. If nothing else, you will develop hope for your marriage based on what you can control and change and that will result in a more positive experience for both of you. 

Buy the book Brain Retrain: The How-To Renew Your Mind Guide in print or audio.

Follow Dr. Karen Liddell on youtube 

#fallinlove,  #marriage, #brainretrain, #renewingyourmind, #dr.karenliddell, #Dr.NeilClarkWarren, #neuroplasticity, #marriagefails, #relationshipgoals

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Rewarding kids for moving closer to the goal can jump start their learning

When we are talking about parenting, we often talk about natural and logical consequences for poor behavior. That's important, and I also want to talk about the pairing of consequences with rewards for learning more positive and desired behavior.

This style is often more motivating for younger children and for those who have become immune to consequences: reward. 

Some parents feel this is bribing heir kids to do what they should already do, although this assumes children automatically see intrinsic value in doing chores, which if you think about it, makes no sense. Valuing abstract concepts like a clean room resulting in a sense of peace and creativity are a result of maturation as well as learning first to clean up as it is what the family does - they care for their space. Most kids are interested in playing, not working and most adults could do with more playing and less working. 

So part of teaching and training is making chores an enjoyable experience instead of expecting kids to do what makes no sense to them. Have you ever seen Barney, the "clean up" song - annoying, but was an easy way to get my kids cleaning up at a young age - they wanted to because we did it together and we sang a fun song just like the kids on tv. Even today sometimes when they are cleaning I will sing the song and they laugh!. 

The alternative is simply to punish for disobedience, which can be a good tool for dangerous situations (putting a fork into the light switch or running into the street) but if we want to have close relationships with our kids, parenting with firm kindness seems a better choice these days. In any case, to be effective, punishment is best used with emotional restraint, never done in anger or as a way to get even, and only after the punishment was explained in advance and expected by the child. Too often parents spank or physically punish when they have lost control and this leads to a breakdown in the relationship that may last, as well as turn abusive.

If it helps, I will suggest some differences.  A bribe induces someone to violate their conscience or what is accepted as wrong. Sometimes kids extort money or privileges from their parents by manipulating their emotions, but this only works because it is easier for the parents to "give in" so their kids act "happy" and seem to "like them" but this actually erodes a child's self-esteem and respect for parents and those in authority. An incentive, on the other hand, inspires positive action. Bribes are secret, but incentives or rewards are done openly and offered to all who meet the requirement. 

Say you have a chore chart for your child, so they understand with pictures or a brief description of what is expected, an appropriate consequence for not doing the chore. You could instead of having a consequence for disobedience, which some kids might find worth it as the price of getting out of the chore, add a reward for doing it. A reward for chores done is a great way for kids to want to do chores, sure initially for the reward, but it is about learning first to do what is required. Pair the reward with praise so over time associate praise with doing the chore, more than they will the reward. Ultimately, kids want to know they are good enough, and they partly learn this by their jobs being done "well enough" and appropriately for their age level. 

Speaking of which, sometimes - especially in the beginning of learning at younger ages, we need to let the job stand, even if it is not up to our standards. I notice I cut myself slack on chores, sometimes saying, "good enough" but I would not have allowed a child to "get away with that and they know it. We want to move them into greater proficiency over times, just like in any job we are hired to do, it is expected that learning involves some mistakes and over time we will improve. 

This is called shaping, meaning the first goal is to teach a child how to do a job, not how to do it perfectly, and reward their efforts so they are more likely to want to do it again. May be the next time you say, "oops there's a spot" and praise their cleaning of the spot without pointing out all the others. You gradually shape their behavior with praise so that they begin to value doing doing the job as well as doing an increasingly more thorough job. This is also a good incentives for the older kids for doing it on their own without a prompt of, "It's time for chores."

When my daughter asked to get driver’s training, I told her she needed to demonstrate more maturity to me by getting herself up for work on her own, being polite to me (being the driver of her going to work), getting one chore done before we left without being asked, and getting herself out the door on time for church. Those were the milestones meaningful to me and I felt they weren't burdensome. From then on I didn't bring it up, other than if she wanted me to drive her, I would take a look and if she hadn't done her work, I simply and matter of factly said, "Once the chores are done." If that made us late, then I guess she chose to be late that day and was able to get a natural consequence to not being ready to go on time.

And when she was rude to me, I reminded her she had one chance to change her behavior (not her feelings) or I would not drive her, etc. Now, when I noticed her being kind to me or otherwise meeting my requirements,  I tried to make sure to comment on it and praise her or think her, to say I appreciated it or was proud of her. Kids need to see we notice them trying to change. 

What we focus on, we get more of. 

Setting a timeline is a good idea such as the time it takes to break a bad habit, about 30-90 days,  with the condition that she could have access to her permit and drive only on days she was behaving in an overall considerate manner. This wasn't about perfection or not allowing her to have moods, it was about words of respect and consideration.

So, rewards can be a dollar value given to each chore, but then the chores only get done when the kid needs money, and if that is ok with you, fine, but don't then enable laziness by paying for things the youth could have purchased with their earnings. 

Another say is to grant point marks for each chore done, and if it was done without prompting maybe an additional point. Add the points at the end of the week and take a trip to the dollar store to choose one item or give the equivalent money and help kids practice managing, tithing on, saving or spending their money - just as they will need to be practiced at already by the time they become adults.

I gave a small allowance so they could learn to manage money but didn't pay for chores, which I taught are a part of living in a home.  Other parents use giving allowance after chores to reflect earning a living from our effort, and either is fine, or not using money at all is fine as long as money management is taught in some way.

I don't recommend using food as a means to reward or even as the main element in any celebration (we have all Brain Retrained (TM) addressed learned food addictions in our family thanks to my former focus on food is all of that.

 But things like little prizes, or enough points in a month earning going to a movie or picking a Netflix movie for the family, or a sleepover with friends are all great options. Your kids are the best judges of what is rewarding for them!

You will come up with some great ideas over a family meeting with your kids, after all, you want the rewards to be meaningful to them without being so extravagant that it loses meaning or never happens.

Have at it and I wonder what reward ideas this will spark for you? 

God blessings on you! Dr. Karen

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Rewiring relationships with Ephesians prayer moments

 I am reading a great book called "Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer" by Pastor Ken Wilson.

He made a suggestion of taking time throughout the day to "remember loved ones" in prayer as Paul did in Ephesians 1:15-16.

I would like to suggest to each of you to take time out for a few seconds to start, build up to minutes and longer to do the following. 

1. Stop and imagine you are sinking your brain into your heart, imagine you are going into your heart inside your body, literally feeling your heart as if you are inside of it.

Paul said:  I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination (also translated heart or innermost) flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling (to you, to which he is calling you)...  I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the mighty power that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to the place of highest honor and supreme authority in the heavenly realm! Ephesians 1:18-20

2. Imagine someone you love, and begin to list for yourself what you do love about them (if you are angry you can still remember times you felt loved by them or felt they were doing a loving thing. We MUST stop discounting the loving moments because there are ugly moments. Separate them for now.) Your brain is always in a state of now, when you remember, your brain re-experiences the event - not like a photo or video, but in the way you imagine it with the feelings you associated with it. Your brain releases chemical messengers that bathe the cells of your entire body with that information: love in the now. Areas of your brain are activated that amplify and reinforce the experience of love. 

3. Accept and believe that the Holy Spirit (who is in constant contact with God the Father and Jesus the Son) is also in residence in your heart. 

 If you really love me, you will keep the commandments I have given you and I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you (within you) always. I mean the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot accept, for it can neither see nor recognize that Spirit. But you recognize him, for he is with you now and will be in your heartsJohn 14:16 

4. Focus on the "memory" of your loved one and pair it with the emotion of love for as long as you can. Resist the devil's temptation to move your attention to condemning them before God - thinking of their failings and wrongdoings. Remember the PURPOSE - which is to rewire your brains to focus on love regarding this person, and as a result become more loving yourself.

5. If you catch yourself listing their wrongs, immediately choose to forgive them, ask the Lord to help them change, then ask yourself what ways you do the same thing, are the same way (it doesn't matter if you think you are not that way - trust me, this helps) and in faith that there just might be some way you are guilty of the same behavior in some form, just repent of it yourself.

6. Go back to loving your spouse while pretending/imagining/feeling you are inside your own heart.

7. Go on to the next person you want to experience in a more loving way. 

Remember, this is not about them, this is not for them, this is for you.

ALSO - set standards of behavior for yourself and commit them to God. Choose how you would like to behave even in anger and ask God to renew your mind in this area. Romans 12:2. Instead of focusing on what you don't want (what we focus on we increase), focus on what you do want. Read the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 and ask God what that would look like for you, in your circumstance. Simply ask the question, knowing the answer will come, may be in a dream, may be in the morning, maybe over the course of a few days, may be in a sermon, or some other means. Have faith - choose to expect an answer because I always say, what we expect we experience. 

There was a time when I noticed that when I really began praying daily for a certain change, and I also believed God would bring it about and I would pray daily for as long as it took, that it was taking about 30 days for me to see change.

It took 21 days for the angel of the Lord to break through the demonic army that was trying to prevent him from reaching Daniel with a message from the Lord. And Daniel was very practiced at prayer and Faith. 

Why do we expect we are going to get breakthrough immediately or else we are giving up?

Now, I see change much quicker because I have much less unconscious and conscious resistance and barriers to change and to God's way. For more understanding of how we block God from evidencing Himself in our awareness, go to my website