Participants: Wayne Blakely (Host), Danielle Harrison
Series Code: PC
Program Code: PC000122A
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:03 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:05 may be too candid for younger children.
00:40 Welcome to Pure Choices.
00:41 I'm Wayne Blakely from Coming Out Ministries.
00:42 And today,
00:44 I'm speaking with my colleague Danielle Harrison.
00:47 Hi, Danielle. Hi, Wayne.
00:48 Thanks for being here today.
00:50 Thank you.
00:51 Hey, you know, after hearing your testimony,
00:55 I think that I'd like to ask you some questions,
00:57 some follow-up questions
00:59 that are probably pivotal in your experience today.
01:03 As you've experienced lasting victory
01:07 over previous things that have held you,
01:11 sin that has held you,
01:13 what do you think has been the real change
01:15 that brought about, you know, this experience for you?
01:20 You know, Wayne, I've noticed when I look back
01:23 and I've reviewed the changes
01:24 that have taken place in my life,
01:26 it's become evident to me
01:28 that the significant changes really came as a result
01:32 of a change of perspective for me,
01:35 and that change of perspective
01:37 wasn't just general change of perspective.
01:39 I really had to come to see things
01:42 from God's perspective.
01:44 So any time in my life
01:45 where my mind was illuminated
01:48 to God's perspective on a certain topic,
01:51 that was what really helped to make the shift in my heart
01:55 and mind to have a desire
01:57 to want to walk away from the direction
02:00 that I had been going and turn and start walking
02:03 with God into a new direction.
02:05 And as that was happening,
02:08 you know, of course, I have to make a surrender,
02:11 you know, at that point,
02:13 I have to be willing to let go of the stronghold
02:17 that I have had on these things that I think complete me
02:22 and fulfill me and give me direction and purpose in life,
02:25 be willing to let them go and surrender them to God
02:28 and trust specifically
02:32 that he has something better in store for me
02:34 in exchange for those things that I've been holding on to.
02:38 And I think something that's especially important to mention
02:43 when I'm saying that, I have to let those things go,
02:46 I also have to acknowledge the fact
02:48 that I have not the power
02:51 to be able to let those things go.
02:53 I don't have the power to walk in a new direction
02:57 because I am married to my sorrow,
03:00 I am married to my sin as much as I don't want it,
03:03 and even when I see it for what it is,
03:05 there is something that...
03:08 there's just that weakness in me
03:09 that does not allow me to let go.
03:11 And so as much as I have to surrender that thing,
03:13 I also have to just cling to the promise
03:17 in Philippians 2:13 where it says,
03:19 "It is God that worketh in you both to will
03:23 and to do of his good pleasure."
03:25 So it's a gift from Him to come to the place where I want to do
03:29 what pleases Him,
03:30 and it's also a gift to be able to do the things
03:32 that please Him.
03:35 You know, I'm thinking about, back on my work history,
03:38 and like my colleagues, and co-workers,
03:42 and whenever somebody introduced change,
03:45 it was like, "Oh, no," you know,
03:47 and there was all kinds of backtalk and resistance,
03:50 and "We don't wanna do that, it's not gonna be right.
03:53 And it's gonna be too hard to get used to."
03:54 And so when change comes into your life,
03:58 it's a real interruption.
04:01 I'm wondering how do your thoughts
04:03 and feelings play into this.
04:06 Well, thoughts and feelings are probably the biggest challenge
04:11 in moving away and moving in that new direction.
04:13 And I've had to realize that I have to completely distrust
04:17 my feelings and even my thoughts.
04:19 There are a lot of thoughts that come into my mind
04:21 and I know they're not in harmony
04:23 with the expressed will of God.
04:25 I know they're not in harmony
04:26 with the direction that I want ahead.
04:28 And so when that happens, I have to deny that thought.
04:34 You know, if it's against the expressed will of God,
04:37 we can know that it's not inspired of God
04:40 and that obviously
04:42 it's inspired by the spirit of Satan.
04:43 And so I can say, that's not my thought,
04:46 I'm not going to choose to own that thought,
04:48 to dwell on that thought, to accept that thought.
04:50 I'm gonna say, "You know, this is from the enemy
04:52 and I refuse to..."
04:54 That's hard to do sometimes. It is. Yeah.
04:56 It is really hard, but when I've...
04:59 I think that when I've externalized it
05:02 and I haven't owned it as my own thought
05:05 and just said, "No, this is inspired by the enemy,"
05:08 it's easier to push away
05:10 because it's not something I have to take ownership of.
05:12 And so then, you know, that helps me to realize
05:16 that I can push that thing away
05:19 and it's not something that has to be personal to me
05:21 and remain personal to me.
05:23 I know that you've expressed a couple of object lessons
05:28 that demonstrate, you know, surrender in Christ.
05:31 I'm wondering if you might share those with us.
05:35 Well, I think the first object lesson
05:37 that became prominent to me
05:38 even before I became a Christian
05:40 was observing the transformation
05:43 of the metamorphosis of a butterfly.
05:45 You know, it being that lowly worm
05:48 that creeps on the ground
05:50 and then going into this chrysalis phase
05:53 and then becoming a butterfly.
05:55 And, you know, when I think about the chrysalis,
05:59 that space where it has to be still,
06:03 it has to just be inactive there
06:05 and it has to be still and know who God is.
06:09 And I think the first part that really is important
06:12 in that caterpillar's metamorphosis
06:15 is that it has to submit to the change
06:18 that God is gonna bring forth in it.
06:20 And it spins that little tuft of silk
06:24 and it anchors itself to that tuft of silk
06:26 and then it lays back.
06:28 And I think that just very clearly illustrates
06:30 that surrender that I was talking about.
06:32 And then in the place of stillness,
06:34 God brings forth that transformation
06:36 and then it emerges as this beautiful new creature
06:41 because if any man be in Christ,
06:43 he is a new creature.
06:44 Old things are passed away and all things have become new.
06:47 So the metamorphosis of the butterfly
06:49 has been the biggest thing for me.
06:52 And as I started working out on a farm
06:55 and working with seeds
06:56 and watching the plants sprout and grow,
07:01 the farmer came in and he started talking to me
07:03 about what was happening with that seed
07:06 and he was saying that inside a seed
07:09 it has a certain amount of intrinsic energy,
07:13 natural energy,
07:14 that's contained within that seed.
07:15 And when water is poured onto the seed,
07:19 it activates that seed to start using that energy
07:24 to create the first sprout, the root,
07:27 the stem, and the first two leaves,
07:28 which are called the cotyledons.
07:31 And so the cotyledons come out above the soil
07:37 and then the plant begins to use photosynthesis
07:41 to continue to grow.
07:43 But up until that point,
07:44 it uses up all of the intrinsic energy
07:47 with inside of that, 100% of that energy is used up
07:49 to just create that first sprout.
07:51 And as he was explaining that to me,
07:54 I really saw a spiritual application,
07:56 here I am and, you know,
07:58 kind of a new age spiritual mindset.
08:00 But I started to realize, you know,
08:02 it takes all of the intrinsic energy within me
08:07 to reach away from self,
08:09 and as Christ started to come into the picture
08:11 and I started to understand Christ,
08:12 you know, it takes everything,
08:15 dying to self completely to reach away from self
08:18 and to reach above the earth
08:21 and to put my hands up in that surrender position.
08:25 But once my two little cotyledons,
08:28 if they were, come above the soil,
08:31 then I start to receive all of the energy
08:33 that I need from the sunlight, the Son of God,
08:36 to give me all of the strength that I need to grow
08:38 and continue to flourish in the right direction, so...
08:41 That's a great analogy. Amen.
08:45 You know, when you're in the process
08:48 of making a change,
08:50 and I make this applicable to myself
08:52 because a lot of change has taking place in my life,
08:55 but it's interesting to talk to other people
08:58 about what this is like when you're breaking a habit
09:02 or when this change comes about,
09:04 your feelings are intrinsic to the past,
09:07 you know, and so you got a feeling or an urge,
09:11 let's say someone's been previously has historically
09:15 indulged in pornography,
09:17 and so the adrenaline runs,
09:20 the call for embracing in the habit is there,
09:24 your thoughts, your feelings are all charged up.
09:28 How do you deal with that? Sure.
09:31 Well, you know, I think that
09:33 just as much as we have to make that surrender
09:35 and make that commitment to God,
09:38 when we come to see from His perspective,
09:40 the conviction comes in
09:41 and we realize we need to make that change,
09:44 that surrender needs to happen
09:46 not just that first time,
09:50 it has to happen again and again and again,
09:53 every time that trigger comes in.
09:55 You know, whatever it is that triggers you
09:57 to want to turn back to that thing
09:59 that you've been addicted to or you've been relying on,
10:02 every time that trigger comes, you have to turn back to God,
10:06 turn back to His promises and believe
10:09 that you are a new creature and set your mind back on God.
10:13 So, you know, whether it's an enticing idea,
10:16 or a situation, or some kind of an emotion,
10:19 or maybe some sensory input that comes into your mind,
10:22 you know, whatever it is that triggers you,
10:24 you have to recommit in your heart
10:27 and repurpose your life right then.
10:29 You know, that you're going to...
10:31 That you're gonna stay with Christ.
10:32 Yeah. You know, that you're gonna walk with Him.
10:35 To me, I just thought about it,
10:36 it must be kind of like when you adopt a child,
10:38 you don't first think of it as the child
10:40 because you didn't give birth to it,
10:42 but as you begin to spend more and more time with that child
10:46 and adapt them to your environment,
10:49 they belong to you, it becomes natural,
10:51 becomes yours.
10:54 And so it's kind of like the same
10:56 when you're making a new pattern in your life.
10:59 At some point, the new pattern becomes natural
11:02 and you totally own it.
11:03 What are the brain mechanics like when this is going on?
11:08 You know, I think that this is something
11:10 that was really profound for me
11:13 that helped to really establish me in victory.
11:19 When I started to understand the mechanics of the brain
11:22 and how the mind really works,
11:26 you know, the neural pathways that are within our brains,
11:29 these are the pathways in which the neurons fire
11:34 and that's how habits are formed.
11:37 This was supposed to be a beneficial process for us
11:39 as the neurons would fire in this series
11:44 and we could create healthy habits,
11:46 but of course, just like anything else,
11:48 the enemy tries to come in
11:50 and take what God has intended for something good
11:53 and for something beautiful and use it to his advantage,
11:57 and so the enemy has come in and he's sown terrors, right?
12:01 And so we start developing these bad habits.
12:04 And as they've actually studied the way
12:09 that the brain has worked,
12:11 they found that these neural pathways,
12:14 these neural processes,
12:16 they work just the same way that your muscles do.
12:19 So if you go to the gym
12:21 and you're working out every time
12:23 that you lift that weight,
12:25 every time that you use that muscle,
12:27 it strengthens that muscle.
12:29 And it's just the same way with your neural pathways.
12:32 This is how these habits are formed.
12:35 But just the way that with exercise
12:38 they are strengthened,
12:40 the same is true in the opposite direction.
12:43 So as you discontinue the use of those neural pathways,
12:47 as you're no longer using them,
12:49 then it's just like if you stop going to the gym,
12:52 you don't keep those muscles that you've built up.
12:55 Slowly your muscles dwindle and, you know,
12:58 especially if someone is bedridden
12:59 or something we see that to the extremely effect,
13:02 your muscles begin to atrophy
13:05 and eventually the tissue starts to die away
13:07 if you're not using those muscles at all.
13:10 And so this is what happens with your brain.
13:13 If you discontinue those old thought processes,
13:18 then those neural pathways become weaker and weaker
13:21 until eventually the neurons,
13:23 those neurons inside of your brain
13:25 eventually begin to atrophy and they will die.
13:28 Your neural pathways will die and pass away
13:31 and so as you're practicing a new habit
13:33 instead of the old one,
13:35 then you're recreating your brain in a sense,
13:39 you know, you're forming new neural pathways in the brain.
13:42 So as I started to consider this
13:46 as it was in relation
13:47 to experiencing victory in my life,
13:51 I really started to pair this with some other knowledge
13:56 that I had gained about how the brain works.
13:58 And that is that the average craving that,
14:02 "I need this thing, I need this.
14:05 I want this," whether it is a cigarette
14:07 or it's some kind of intimate encounter
14:10 or whatever it may be that,
14:12 that addictive drive,
14:14 that screaming voice in your mind that,
14:16 "I need this right now."
14:18 On an average, lasts about three and a half minutes.
14:21 So of course, if it's an average,
14:23 that means that sometimes it's shorter
14:24 and sometimes it's longer.
14:26 But on an average that "I need this thing right now"
14:28 only lasts three and a half minutes.
14:30 So then you have the bit of information
14:34 that a new neural pathway,
14:36 a new habit is formed within the brain
14:38 on an average of 45 days.
14:41 So as I'm putting all of this information
14:43 together in my mind,
14:45 this was pivotal for me
14:47 because I don't have the strength
14:50 to stop doing this thing that I am so addicted to
14:55 that I try to walk away from but I just keep coming back to,
14:58 I just keep falling back into or whatever.
15:01 I don't have the strength to step over that
15:03 and every time I try and I fail,
15:05 every time I try again and fail,
15:08 every time I try harder and fail,
15:11 it's like this sin that I'm trying to overcome
15:14 gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger in my mind
15:17 until it's this mountain that I can never summit,
15:20 I can never overcome,
15:22 and I'll never find myself on the other side of.
15:24 But when I started looking at all of this
15:26 and putting it all together
15:28 and contemplating it and considering it,
15:31 I can't find myself on the other side of that mountain
15:35 on my own, but I can determine
15:39 to spend the next three and a half minutes
15:41 when that temptation comes in with Jesus Christ my Savior.
15:45 Now I can turn to Him, I can speak to Him,
15:47 I can focus my mind on faith in His expressed word
15:52 as opposed to my feelings or as opposed to, you know,
15:56 whatever the enemy is whispering
15:57 into my heart and mind.
15:59 And if I make the commitment to turn back to my Christ
16:04 every time it comes in the next 45 days,
16:07 then I will have allowed a new neural pathway
16:12 to form in my brain.
16:13 I'm actually allowing a physical change
16:16 to take place inside of my brain.
16:18 And for me, that is profound because, you know,
16:21 I can actually wrap my mind around that
16:23 and it helps that mountain
16:25 that's been cultivated in my mind
16:27 to come down into a molehill
16:29 that I can actually step over that,
16:30 that I can actually see happening.
16:34 And then that combined with the faith
16:37 that God promises to provide us
16:41 and gives this extra measures of faith,
16:44 you know, helps us through that process.
16:47 Something we didn't talk a lot about in our series here
16:51 but comes to mind right now is God's grace.
16:56 And that if there is a fall
16:59 or we stumble somewhere along the way,
17:02 Jesus doesn't just say to us,
17:04 "Oh, well, you failed so you're out of here,
17:06 forget it."
17:07 Sometimes we've done that in our church environments,
17:11 we don't believe that,
17:13 "Oh, well, he must not have been
17:14 strong enough to hold on."
17:16 And so that's really too bad
17:17 and we just kind of let them go their way.
17:19 But God's grace is so wonderful that He says,
17:22 you know, if you seek forgiveness,
17:24 I promise you forgiveness,
17:26 and I'm right here to tell you to get back up
17:28 and to move forward
17:30 and we can start this process again.
17:32 Don't give up because I haven't given up on you.
17:36 Have you realized in your experience
17:38 that there are certain things that pull you back
17:42 or into desires maybe of the past.
17:46 Sure. There definitely are.
17:49 There are certain things
17:50 that bring my mind on to the wrong track.
17:55 And I think that's one of the things
17:57 that I've really had to practice,
18:00 and I'm still on the journey of that,
18:01 it's a daily battle,
18:04 and it's something I'm still really praying about.
18:06 I think it's a lifelong process.
18:08 Yeah, I'm familiar with it.
18:09 Yeah, of becoming mindful of what's in my mind.
18:15 You know, I think it's really easy for us
18:17 to just go through life
18:19 and allow ourselves to let our minds run
18:22 wherever they want.
18:24 And my mind just goes off into all of these,
18:28 you know, it goes off on a tangent,
18:30 goes into a conversation,
18:31 a make-believe conversation with someone
18:33 that it will never happen.
18:35 You know, I...
18:38 Something that was really hard for me
18:39 was getting out of the habit of singing the worldly songs
18:44 that had been in my life from before,
18:46 you know, whenever I was coming into the fold,
18:51 well, before I was coming into the fold,
18:52 I was a walking jukebox.
18:54 Everything that someone would say
18:56 or every experience that I was in would prompt
18:58 a memory of a song
19:00 or a movie quote or something
19:01 and I was just constantly rambling off words
19:04 that weren't my own,
19:05 so I had to become mindful of where my thoughts were going.
19:08 And recently, the Lord showed me
19:10 this image of my mind
19:14 being like an untrained horse.
19:17 You know, an unbridled horse that has never been trained
19:20 and has never been ridden all of its life.
19:23 If you try to get on a wild horse,
19:26 it's a pretty intense experience.
19:29 And God was showing me that I've never bridled my mind.
19:34 I've never allowed Him to bridle my mind
19:36 and take the reins and lead into a new direction.
19:39 And as I was thinking about that that morning I just said,
19:43 "Okay, Lord, I don't know
19:44 how to take control of my thoughts
19:46 that are so out of control."
19:48 And I just saw in my mind,
19:51 you know, turning the reins over to God
19:53 and Him taking the reins and allowing to redirect me
19:57 when I am turning to the right or to the left
19:59 and get me back onto the right path.
20:01 So, Danielle, why wouldn't you just turn on the radio
20:03 like everybody else
20:04 and play it when you're in the car
20:06 and roll down the road,
20:07 I mean, you go to church,
20:09 you know, and you're studying the Bible
20:11 in the morning and stuff.
20:12 This is just music,
20:13 so why wouldn't you just roll with it?
20:17 You know, Wayne, I've just come to understand
20:20 how much music really has an impact on the way
20:24 that I think, the way that I view spirituality,
20:28 and life, and God, and everything, you know.
20:32 And it's not only the lyrics of the songs.
20:36 When I first started to come into being a Christian,
20:39 I started to realize the words of the songs
20:41 were not in harmony with what I wanted,
20:44 but I started to realize also that
20:46 there can be elements of the music itself
20:50 that can excite me into a certain mindset or,
20:56 you know, even just be repetitive
20:58 and kind of put me into this not really wanting to think,
21:01 almost hypnotized kind of state of a mind.
21:03 It has a purpose and a design,
21:05 and I think the people don't always recognize
21:08 what goes in the planning of a song sometimes
21:11 because artists sometimes have a motive at hand
21:14 that they want the audience
21:16 or the listener to respond a certain way.
21:19 And I know in our ministry that we've kind of adopted something
21:24 that where we hear somebody,
21:26 you know, starting to react to something
21:28 that was part of our past where we used to,
21:31 you know, dance or even have sex,
21:36 you know, to certain music or whatever,
21:38 we stop that person
21:40 because we realize they got momentarily sidetracked
21:43 and we tell them that
21:45 I need to hear a spiritual song out of you
21:47 that will glorify God
21:49 and that actually gets us back on track.
21:52 And it's kind of a fun little game that we play,
21:53 but it has, you know,
21:54 very strong spiritual implications.
21:57 Something that I have recognized,
22:00 and it's taken me a long time to recognize,
22:02 in fact, in the Adventist faith denomination,
22:05 one of the strongholds is the health message.
22:09 Today, the world again has marketed
22:12 just like media does for music, and for theories,
22:18 and thoughts,
22:20 they are after our taste buds as well.
22:21 That's right.
22:23 And they have flooded us
22:25 with all kinds of what we would call junk food
22:29 and even not junk food
22:32 but stuff that we've adapted to,
22:34 my personal favorite, cheese.
22:37 I have a great difficulty in having given that up,
22:41 but recently I really spent some time with God
22:44 and just let Him talk to me,
22:46 and I am convicted that something has to change.
22:51 We hear from the writings in Ellen White has told us
22:56 how our lower passions are, they would be...
23:01 we would have more control over them
23:03 if we had control of our appetite.
23:06 And if we think back to God's original plan
23:10 and design for food,
23:12 it didn't really involve like high-powered flavors,
23:16 preservatives, chemicals,
23:20 heavy intensified oils and sugars
23:23 and things, I mean, I am seeing more and more
23:26 how that is a counterfeit plan to God's original plan.
23:30 Can you tell me a little bit about health?
23:34 Well, sure, you know, Wayne,
23:36 I think it is interesting that you brought up
23:38 what you did with the cheese thing
23:40 because there was actually a recent scientific study
23:44 that was done that said
23:46 that cheese has an addictive pull on the mind
23:52 and the brain actually,
23:54 cheese has the same effect on the brain
23:56 as certain drugs do.
23:59 When they've introduced cheese into the system
24:02 and they've watched the way that the brain has responded,
24:04 they've seen that it's the same
24:06 as when a person is on hard drugs.
24:08 So, you know, I think that
24:10 there is a certain weight of gravity
24:12 that's happening inside of the brain
24:14 that we don't necessarily consider.
24:17 There are other foods that are also stimulating
24:20 as well as cheese, flesh meats, vinegar, spices,
24:24 different things like that, but as far as health goes,
24:27 I think that it doesn't stop at diet.
24:31 Sometimes we just don't even really consider
24:35 how much water we're drinking throughout the day
24:37 and if our brain is not hydrated,
24:40 it's not gonna fire as clearly
24:42 and really the brain is the avenue
24:44 through which we are communicating with God
24:45 and through the willpower,
24:48 you know, to turn to God in those moments of temptation
24:52 instead of just turning back to the sins
24:57 or giving in to the temptations so,
25:00 you know, when I think diet and water as well as exercise.
25:06 If we have these components in our life
25:09 and we have these things, then we have balanced hormones
25:15 and our stress levels come down
25:18 and it helps us to really be focused on the Lord.
25:22 And I think also an important thing
25:24 to express is temperance
25:26 because it's easy to go off onto either side of the ditch,
25:32 you know, so we have to...
25:34 I know people who have exercise addictions
25:36 or eating disorders, where they're...
25:39 That aren't really healthy.
25:40 They become so restrictive of their diet that they,
25:42 you know, that they're not getting the nutrition
25:44 that they need.
25:45 So there is a balance of temperance within all of it
25:47 and I think temperance is just
25:49 as much of an important health component
25:51 to having victory as anything else.
25:54 You say victory, Danielle.
25:57 Can you describe victory to me?
26:00 Well, you know, when I think about victory,
26:04 I think about Proverbs 24:16,
26:07 and it says that the just man falls seven times
26:12 and rises up again
26:13 while the wicked falls into mischief.
26:16 And that shows me that
26:17 the difference between the wicked and the righteous
26:20 was not whether or not they fell
26:22 because they both fell,
26:23 but the righteous man rose up again,
26:26 and I think that's the important thing is that
26:29 even if we fall, it might be a discouraging experience,
26:36 but we don't have to stay there.
26:37 We don't have to stay down, we can get back up,
26:40 and we can trust that
26:41 God's mercy is sufficient in those times.
26:45 And just like a baby who is learning how to walk,
26:48 at first, they fall and they might fall a lot
26:52 as they're learning how to walk,
26:53 some children fall more than others
26:55 as they're learning to walk,
26:56 but as we continue to walk more and more,
26:59 it becomes more natural to us and we fall down less and less.
27:04 And now as an adult, I don't fall down much.
27:08 There are moments when I do.
27:09 I trip on something and I fall,
27:11 but, you know, it's not something
27:14 that makes me want to give up.
27:17 It's a journey that I can continue in
27:19 and I can walk in.
27:21 And this illustration of a child
27:22 has become more and more clear
27:24 and more and more beautiful to me
27:25 as my niece has come into the world.
27:28 You know, Hadassah was only four and a half pounds only
27:30 when she was born,
27:32 she was tiny, but she was perfect,
27:35 and then as she got bigger, she learnt to crawl,
27:37 she learnt to walk, and now she's riding her bike
27:40 and, you know, Hadassah might not,
27:43 you know, she might make mistakes every now and then,
27:45 but she is making her best effort
27:47 where she is at, and my Hadassah is perfect.
27:50 God's Word is a balanced fuel for us.
27:53 Thank you so much for joining us on Pure Choices,
27:56 and we wish you a healthy and blessed life.
27:59 Thank you.