By Amy Brown and Ray Woolridge
“Waking up to hope.”
“More transformation than I ever dreamed possible.”
“A brand new way to approach spiritual growth.”
These are ways I (AMY) have heard the Life Model described. Because the Life Model is such an integral part of my story of freedom after decades of depression, I love to hear other people tell their Life Model stories.
It’s amazing to see the transformation that occurs when we align our spiritual and relational lives with the way our brain is created.
Our Creator designed our brains to grow and change through strong relational attachment to Him and to the important people in our lives. Putting practices in place that deepen these attachments brings about character change, maturity, and transformation into Christlikeness.
As a Life Model trainer, it’s been a great joy to help people engage with these practices and strengthen their attachments. Through an unusual set of circumstances, I was a trainer for one couple through two full weeks of training. Here is the husband’s Life Model story:
I was stuck and I didn’t know it.
My wife and I first read Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You in 2008 in a church small group. One of the couples had been working on their marriage with a counselor. The counselor walked them through Living from the Heart. They enthusiastically recommended it, and our small group agreed to try it. Over time, three couples continued to study Living from the Heart but the rest resumed a more traditional Bible study.
My wife devoured the book and it began changing her life and ministry immediately. I gave it a quick “left brain” read, and put it down, thinking, “I’m glad that Life Model book works for you as you work with women, but I don’t get it.” What I didn’t realize was that I was stuck emotionally and relationally. I didn’t know how to stay relational with others, and couldn’t quickly recover from overwhelming emotions.
During that season, my wife often talked about how the Life Model book was changing her, and the lives of the women she worked with. What I know now is why I didn’t “get” Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You. I didn’t get it because of big gaps in my maturity. I didn’t get it because I was living a “half-brained” life. I believed back then that if I am “in Christ” and if I am “in shape” and if I am “in church”, then I am doing all I need to do. I had spent more than fifty years building my “left brain” and giving direction and helping people solve problems. My home library, degrees and career success had made me think that I had all I needed to be the man I was supposed to be. I even began researching “emotional intelligence” but this did not help me mature or connect more deeply with others. Rather, the knowledge made me more effective at manipulating others.
My wake-up calls arose from a dire cancer diagnosis and the words of my loving, persistent wife. She took a risk, and began to gently speak to me about how I had made her feel. She asked me to attend Thrive Training with her in Peoria, Illinois. Some close friends were also attending that training. Arriving at the hotel for the training, I heard that the principles behind the Life Model are best experienced in interactive exercises. After a few days of that training, I began to resonate deeply with the Life Model, relational brain skills and Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You. Our trainer was Amy Brown.
I feel like I have had two “spiritual awakenings” in my life. The first was when God by His grace revealed His Son Jesus Christ to me personally, and powerfully, beside a lake in upstate New York in 1978. The peace, purpose and community I discovered changed my life.
The second “awakening” has been the emotional and relational renaissance I have experienced through the Life Model. I have discovered that I have been nonrelational all my life because of an insecure attachment style I learned early on. This dismissive attachment style makes others around me feel unseen and unheard. I have not even realized that I do this. I just “do my stuff” and “get things done” but I can miss connecting deeply on a heart level with other people.
I could tell you a lot more. But I know this: I am no longer stuck. I’m on a journey of transformation. Most days it is “three steps forward and two back”. I do still wrestle with old patterns that are dying hard, but I now have tools and language to be transformed. I am Ray Woolridge and that’s my Life Model story. What’s yours?
Join us on February 23rd at 12:00 pm MT for Introduction to the Life Model: THREE Proven Practices for Transformation, a free webinar with Dr. Jim Wilder, one of the creators of the Life Model, Ray Woolridge, Executive Director of Life Model Works, and Amy Brown, Trainer with Life Model Works, Thrive Today and Alive and Well.
Amy is a content developer, trainer, and consultant on staff with Alive & Well, Inc. As a consultant, she creates monthly training events for the Online Practice Community with THRIVEtoday, creates training materials for Life Model Works, and leads the Certified Journey Group Leadership Community with Deeper Walk International. She co-authored the book Relational Skills in the Bible with Chris Coursey and wrote the Journey Group curriculum. She is a relational skills trainer with THRIVEtoday.