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Kay Wyma: Change Your Response–Change Your Brain

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2022 2:00 am

Kay Wyma: Change Your Response–Change Your Brain

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 14, 2022 2:00 am

Wish you could be naturally…kinder, more peaceful? Author Kay Wyma explains ways to change your brain through outward practices that transform your world.

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Abidan Shah

So I have a confession. I hate this.

It's not a big one, but in some ways it could be a big one. Often I have a hard time being thankful. I can remember one time I was standing on the Detroit Lions sideline, you know, NFL football game as their chaplain, and we're getting beat again, you know, and I remember just standing there going, this is terrible. I hate this. I don't want to be here. I'd rather be anywhere else. And then it hit me. You know, I'm standing there in this NFL stadium and that billions of dollars have been paid for, and all these people are sitting in the stands who have paid lots of money to be there. And I'm like, I'm complaining standing on an NFL sideline.

You know how many people would want to do that? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson, and I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. Today, we're going to talk about that because we have Kate Wyma back in the studio with us, who is one of the most positive people I've ever met. You're a lot like my wife. I mean, as I was talking to you at lunch, it's like you two are two peas in a pod. But welcome back to Family Life Today. Thanks for having me back.

Yeah. I mean, you're smiling as you say that. And you wrote a book about being thankful called The Peace Project, which is just this. And we've already talked about choosing every single day. You know, and you said for 30 days, do an experiment to choose to be thankful and to act kindly and to show mercy to people. And I got to be honest, as I was listening to you two, both of you tell stories about, you know, how thankful you are.

I was like, man, I love hearing these stories. I just got to be honest. There are times where I want to choose it. And I feel like I'm like locked up, like stuck.

Is it ever hard to choose it? I do think it's hard. Yeah, I think that's the first step.

And what do you do? You just buy the book. Yes, thank you for that. I do think you have to just do it.

You know, it's the Nike just do it. And you do you just do it because even when you don't feel like it for sure. I think sometimes it's the best when you don't feel like it. There was one of the stories in the book that I really loved, especially about thankfulness, was a reporter that was from the United Kingdom that had interviewed Brene Brown. And she was super dubious about gratitude. Really, especially because you could go on Amazon and do gratitude journals, and they'd probably be 50,000 plus. I mean, there's tons and, and she just was sort of like, good for you.

I'm glad that works for you. And when they got off of the air, whatever, however, they were doing the interview, Brene said to her this quote, which I love, she said, it's not possible to be stressed about something when you're being grateful for it. That's really deep and good.

Right. And so she listened, this reporter listened. And she thought, you know what, I'm just going to try it because she wouldn't have categorized herself as a grateful person, not an ingrate, but just kind of like, just it's great for other people.

Thanks, but no thanks. And so she started doing it in her own home, simply being grateful. And it was one of those things that changed everything for her because it is that powerful. And I think the power that's around it really has the most to do with perspective, which is what happened on the football field. It took you out of a moment that had stuff going on in it.

I mean, it isn't great that this football team is losing or whatever. And it's just like, please just get me out of here. But when you, for a moment, start to call out those things for which to be grateful, it changes it. And what's stealing your piece gets pushed off to the back burner and pieces ushered in. And because no longer is it like, oh, if only or what if or comparison usually is when you're not grateful because you're looking at what everybody else has instead of what you have. And those get pushed to the back burner because you're not thinking about that and you're looking at what you have to be grateful for.

And I think that's the biggest power about it. Yeah. Kay, as you were saying that, I thought even in my situation on the sideline, and you said this yesterday, it's like when you looked up and you saw the sunrise and it just reset your perspective. I don't remember exactly, but I did look up on that sideline.

I'm looking up at 80,000 people and I'm like, I'm in a stadium. So it reset my perspective. And I was just, when you were saying this, I thought of, I don't know how familiar you are with Psalm 73, but it's this interesting Psalm I remember reading years ago where ASAP is complaining to God.

I'll read it to you. He says, I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. The first part of the Psalm is, I think a lot of us have probably done that, is like wicked people seem to be blessed and the righteous seem to be in trouble. And then at, and I'm going to jump down here, but me basically complains for 13, 14 verses. Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?

I get nothing but trouble all day long. And he goes on and on. And he said, I'm trying to understand why the wicked prosper, what a difficult task this is. And then verse 17, it changes. He says, then I went into your sanctuary, Oh God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. And it's this moment where he went vertical. He looked up. He, again, his way of saying, I went into your sanctuary, but it's like, I stopped and I said, God, I don't understand.

I looked up and the whole rest of the Psalm is like, okay, now I sort of understand. That's sort of what you're saying, right? I guess I'm talking to myself because there's times where it's hard to do that, but it is a moment where you sort of have to hit the pause button and say, and that's what 30 day experiment is like, I'm for 30 days. I'm going to do that. I'm going to hit the pause button.

Just to get it into your groove. Yeah. And Ecclesiastes is right along that same route. I mean, it just is bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people.

And Solomon is like, good luck with that. If you're going to figure that out, you will be doing it the rest of your life and you never will, you know? And then he says, but what is the gift to us is our toil to just go out and do what you're supposed to do. And that it's the joy that comes with that, that quote is the gift of God. And so in this process of just being able to exit for a moment, whatever it is that's tripping us up and you feel a certain way, like you feel unsettled or in discord. It's like, if you're feeling that, stop. And in that moment, find something for which to be grateful. And yes, it's like, oh, who really wants to do that?

Please. And it's for you. It's one of the many things that is for us. And I think in practicing that, because so often the Lord will say, this is for you. It's for you. Even the hard times are for us.

And I don't want the hard times. We don't want for it to be unpleasant. But if we can land in that place and trust and faith and know that it's for us, that something in it is for us, that's where gratitude is such a helpful tool. It sort of jump starts the rest of the story, but more than anything, it primes the pump to be able to move from the thought process, which is where gratitude is, to actually doing something, which is what takes your thoughts and cements them. And this again, we talked a little bit about the neuroscience last time, because I like to know why, like if this is working, why? Because really the way your brain functions, it's through your neural pathways and the synapses that are going on in your brain. And here's an amazing thing about our brains, neuroplasticity, which means that it can change.

Okay. And so when we started the Soul 30, part of what made me want to do it is because I was sitting there going, okay, if my highest traveled neural pathways are the ones that have to do with frustration or fear or worry or anxiety. Even if you're a positive person, that is a rut in your brain because your brain has been working since you were a little bitty. Like you drop a kid off at Mother's Day out and the anxiety is like, they can't breathe.

Well, that's part of what's forming the paths in their brain. What if you could change that? What if my first stop wasn't because there's such a deep rut into anxiety, worry or anything like that? What if it is in peace? What if it is in gratitude? That's worth a little effort because then, and I'm just going to tell you, it works because we haven't lived the easiest life.

Most people haven't in the last few years. There was no way for me to even imagine that it would exist. And for me personally, I'm so thankful for this project because of how it put fuel in our tank before I even knew our tank was going to be empty. And it's significant and it's real. And I can tell you, having lived it, it's worth the effort because of what you get on the other side. And so much of that is a deeper, more intimate knowledge and experience in God, which I think we would all love. And it's like, guess what? You could do that any day.

You can do it today. Yeah. And I love that you said it and you wrote about it where when we choose thankfulness and then we show kindness, it comes back. It isn't just the other person that we're being kind to that gets the kindness. Not only does it change the way we think as we practice it, right? We feel better by being kind. There's a part of your brain that actually lights up when you're practicing kindness, especially if it's just being kind without getting anything in return. There's a spatial area in your brain that is only activated by doing that. Wow. Isn't that fascinating?

It's like you really were created for this. Let's play with it because it's incredible what it does for you physiologically. When you look up, and yoga uses this a lot, looking up and breathing deeply. And the reason why that helps you is that we have a nerve called the vagal nerve that literally goes from your brain and it wraps around through your torso down into your gut. And when you breathe, when you take a deep breath, it resets that nerve. That's why you feel better.

And so it's like, try these things because they're good for you. Take it the extra mile to be able to see the bigger picture that's happening with the Lord's perspective being allowed to inform whatever the situation is, especially including the people. So yesterday, I was honked at. People honk all the time now.

I think people are just frustrated. And so I was turning, I was in the lane I was supposed to be in. There was no reason for this person to honk at me. And yet they honked at me.

I had a lot on my mind. And I was like, ah, that jerk, you know, my 19 year old son is with me in the car. And he was like, okay, stop. He was like, don't get angry. Why would you get angry at that?

You have no idea what's going on in that guy's day. And okay, this is where it's like, if you don't think it spills out onto the people that are next to you, and he must know that it works, or he wouldn't be telling me that. Well, anyway, on this guy, so he says to me, don't get angry at this guy. And I did. I was like, you're right. And then I needed grace too. Because I was like, you know, it's been a really long day. I've had a lot on my mind. I think that's why I kind of got a little bit angry.

And he's sitting next to me and he said, I totally understand that. And so grace is at play through all of this. And Christ is such a powerful, powerful source that again, do we really tap into it? I'm not sure. Yeah, I mean, and obviously, you know, the third aspect, you call it mercy, grace.

That's a huge one. I mean, kindness is hard in itself, but then to extend, you know, kindness to someone that we could punish, that maybe deserves what they should get from us. And you said it, we can't do mercy in our own strength.

I don't think we can. I think this is where the soul aspect really comes into it. Because this is the part where we really have to tap into the things of the Lord, because it involves forgiveness, it involves grace and involves compassion. It steers clear of things like bitterness and bitterness is a great example of the antithesis to mercy, because you would have a right to be bitter for something that happened to you that was wrong. And so is letting go of that actually saying it's okay that somebody hurt me?

And the answer is no, that's not what it has to do with at all. It has to do with freeing you from that having any hold on you. One of the things, as you talk about mercy, that hit me is at the Family Life Weekend to Remember that Ann and I have been teaching at for 33 years. So it's this marriage weekend getaway for couples and even engaged couples. The first time we went, we were engaged, and I'd never heard this concept taught.

And I don't know any other marriage conference that teaches this concept. It's from 1 Peter 3, where Peter writes, When you are insulted, instead of insulting back, give a blessing instead. In fact, he says, And you will inherit a blessing. It's a simple concept. When somebody insults you, hurts you, says something or does something wrong, instead of hurting them back, which is the way of the world. We applaud people. We go to movies where the bad guy gets what's doing. We stand up and applaud.

So it's like in our DNA. But Peter said, No, no, no. When you're insulted, bless back. And who does he use as an example? Jesus, who was insulted, he blessed back. That's sort of what you're saying. It's like blessing somebody, being kind to them or giving them mercy.

Talk about how to do that, because that is not natural for us. It isn't. That's David Ann Wilson with Kay Weymah on Family Life Today. We'll hear Kay's response in just a minute. And what if I told you at Family Life, we believe God does some of his most amazing work right in ordinary homes, whether that's a small group Bible study or laughing on the floor with your kids or sharing a meal with your neighbors, the home can be the launching pad for God's work in this world. And if you believe that, too, would you help more families experience this by partnering with Family Life all this week as our thanks for your financial partnership? We want to send you a copy of Kay's book. It's called The Peace Project, a 30 day experiment practicing thankfulness, kindness and mercy. You can get your copy when you give this week at or when you call with your donation at 800-358-6329.

That's 800 F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now back to David Ann's conversation with Kay Weymah and the sometimes surprisingly difficult task of being kind to those around us. I think the best way to start is by practicing on strangers. And so it might get you in the mode of actually thinking that way. I think like just even the honking guy to be able to say, like my child said, you just don't even know. So that's the first thing is to get to because one of the cores at the center of mercy, I think, is why like if you can ask that question, why is he being this way or why is she acting this way?

Someone close to me is definitely aged and older and has had a lot of physical ailments and in that as kind of lost senses. And so recently we were together with another person and he was getting so frustrated because he couldn't remember the name of what a very simple object was. And the more frustrated he was, the more angry he was getting. And the anger was definitely spilling out over us. And in that moment, we could either go, you know, and walk away or for that moment to be able to go, why is he so frustrated?

What's happening here? And the why is he can't remember. And so at the core of that is fear. And so if you can get to that place to actually see what's happening, then you can have compassion without it being super hard. And then maybe start practicing on the relationships that are close to us because those are the ones that have a lot of history. And to be able to go, why is it that she always does this, you know, and even possibly preempt it.

Preemptive mercy is super helpful to be able to say, I know that we're about to move into a situation that is going to be really hard. And so please give extra measure to your sister. Please give extra measure to your brother.

Please give extra measure to me. And if at all possible, if we can do it with other people, we might be able to do it with ourselves. Because when you look in the mirror, I'm telling you, we're the hardest on ourselves. And to be able to give yourself a little grace and give yourself a little mercy is so powerful. And just then in those moments, we get tiny little taste of freedom. And it's so good.

That's where you want your neural pathways to be landing. Because the freedom spot, he gave everything for that. It is for freedom that he has set us free and his blood cries out for us. We have been made righteous. And it's like we could live in that a little bit longer day by day by day. Will we ever be perfect on the side of heaven?

No, you know, no. But maybe we can enjoy more and more moments of that freedom. And in that freedom, that's where it feels the best to be able to care about the people that are walking next to you. I think, Dave, you started by saying I'm so positive. But I would say our first 15 years, I wasn't. And Kay, I don't think I had that freedom. I wasn't because I was so locked into my own needs, my own letdowns, my own- Disappointment with her husband. Yeah. And I had my eyes on- That would be me.

Just in case you're one of your first husbands or only husbands. Yeah, really. My eyes were not there. But it took me a while to learn that. And I can remember starting at this point, Jesus, I can't do it. I can't.

I don't have the power within me. I see the negativity and the brokenness of myself. I see it in those around me. And I'm in a habit of just saying all of that to everybody. And honestly, Dave didn't want to be around me. And I was critical of our kids all the time. And man, it took work.

I love that you're at a 30-day because it takes 30 days, generally speaking, to break some bad habits and to get out of those grooves that we've dug so deep. But I think that Jesus can do that. Absolutely. And that's the exciting part is because he never said go do it on your own.

That was never part of the story. And it's by him, through him, and for him are all things. Come experience it because it's incredible. And those times where you go, I cannot do this.

Oh, yeah, you never said I had to. Exactly. And that's where I think it's so powerful is this experience in God because he is compassion. Like he is Shalom. He is peace. His name is Jehovah Shalom. Like love, you know, God is love is the beautiful 1 Corinthians passage. And it goes into all these things.

And of course, we make it about ourselves. Well, I have to be patient. I have to be kind.

You know, becoming a mother, I was like, well, I thought I was patient. Now I know I never have I ever been lost. Like, I can't even do the first one.

So why even go to the rest of them? You know, however, that's not really what he said. He's saying, this is who I am. I am patient. I am kind. I am slow to anger.

All these things that when you engage with love, you're engaging with him. Yeah, that sort of changes the story, doesn't it? And that's where practically speaking, I had no idea because I did not go looking for this. I mean, I really didn't. I was hit over the head with it.

It was shoved on me. I'm so thankful that I thought about it for a minute to go, wait, something's different here. And to say, I think I want that. Could that change? Let's try and see what happens. And to be on the other side going, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I had no idea. And now whenever I feel discord, whenever I feel unsettled, whenever I am concerned, whenever fear is entering in, anything like that, I'm like, get, switch the thoughts. And if I can find a way to practically engage with something that has to do with encouraging another person in an act of kindness or through an act of compassion.

Yeah. And I think, you know, even as I listen to you right now, I'm thinking the 30-day experiment is almost really a 30-day meet with Jesus. Pause long enough to connect with your king, the author of your life, long enough to shift your perspective, to be thankful, to choose kindness, to practice mercy. Our youngest son started a prayer house ministry.

It's really discipleship ministry, but part of it is several aspects. But one of it is every day from 9 to 10 in this little area in Lake Orion, Michigan, he says, come for an hour prayer. And it's just, and even when he said, I'm like, you're doing a prayer house? Maybe don't call it a prayer house. That'll scare, I literally said that to him.

That'll scare people away. Like I'm not going on a prayer. He goes, dad, why don't you just come once and see what we do?

And I'm like, okay. So I went and they've got a person up there leading some worship, but it really isn't like sing with me. It's just like, I'm going to worship. You can listen. But it's really sit and pray and do whatever you want. And maybe somebody will come up on the mic and pray. I went in there and I was there an hour and I thought to myself, this is so refreshing to be still and know that he is God.

So I'm 46, 10. It just came to me and I was like, why don't we do this more on our life? Because we rush, rush, rush. We complain, complain, complain. We're mad at everybody and we're honking back at them. I'm the worst. There's nobody worse than me in the car.

Just ask my wife. Everybody but me is a jerk driving because I'm the only perfect driver. And I just sat there and I thought this moment is resetting my soul. It's breathing. And as you walk out, you feel better. You're more kind. You are able to extend mercy because you have received mercy.

And I thought that's what the 30 day experiment is. You're challenging people to say stop long enough to connect with him and he's going to give you what you need, not just for yourself, but to be kind and merciful to others. And it's impractical speaking.

You don't have to know the Bible verses or anything. Just do it. You know? And it is a beautiful reset that actually puts so much fuel in your tank that so many of the things that will go, oh, we have to do this in order to do, do, do in order to be okay. I need to be doing this. You go from doing to being a reflection, which is really what it's all about because it's coming from the inside out because this is the part that impacts the soul.

And so you don't even know that you're doing it. It's actually this part of life that's where the abundance is, even in the circumstances that stink. I've always been amazed that the Lord slept on that boat in the middle of a storm. And you know, it was a bad storm because those were seafaring men that knew the Sea of Galilee like the back of their hand.

And if they were freaking out, it was bad. And there was one person asleep and it was the one that knew they were getting to the other side. And we are tapped into that piece. Paul's beautiful statement, you know, I know the secret to being content, whether in plenty or whether in want, that's what it is. It doesn't matter if it's the storm, it's the same piece. If it's the happy days, it's the same piece. And that's where I think Solomon sat going, here's the deal.

Just do what you were put on this planet to do. And it's Philippians 4, a piece which surpasses all understanding. Right. Yeah. That you're living. Yes.

I want that to be my neural pathway. And it can be. You've been listening to Dave and Anne with Kay Weymah on family life today. Have you looked at a yearbook lately from when you were like 15? Well, first of all, what were you thinking wearing that?

And then second of all, do you remember what life was like back then? It's a time when you can really struggle with figuring out just who you are. And as a parent, it can be pretty tricky knowing how to help.

But let me just say, getting a copy of Passport to Identity is a good place to start. It's a chance to get some quality time away together one on one. You'll listen together to biblical teaching on what it means to be a young man or a young woman.

It's quality time that's just priceless. Today is the second to last day you can get Passport to Identity, Young Men's Edition or Young Women's Edition for 25% off using the code PASSPORT. Just go to or call 800-358-6329. That's 800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And tomorrow, Dave and Anne Wilson will continue their conversation with Kay Weymah as she unpacks the fact that the worth of others around us is huge. That's coming up tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-11 23:47:42 / 2023-01-11 23:59:18 / 12

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