In Alaska there are only two seasons: winter and July. When the weather gets warm in the summer, the snow melts and the dirt roads become muddy. Cars drive on them, creating long ruts. There is a sign along one Alaskan road that reads, “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next sixty miles.”


We all know what being in a rut feels like. Thinking the same thoughts, doing the same things, experiencing the same problems. It’s like we’re hopelessly entrenched on a muddy, rugged backroad.

And when a rut gets really deep, when your tires are all the way inside, you can let go of the steering wheel and the vehicle will just keep going down the road. Stuck in one direction with no options to get out or get off, until the rut ends.

So let’s talk about how our brains work.

Every thought you have produces a neurochemical change in your mind. Your brain literally redesigns itself around that thought.

The brain is a command center that directs the parts of your body through neurons. Neurons link together to create messages. The same message sent multiple times will create a neural pathway. The presence of a neural pathway makes a thought easier to think and makes it easier for your body to send that same message again.

Think of neural pathways as ruts in your brain.

Now, how do ruts get created? Let me tell you about a cute little mini collie named Bandit that I once owned. Oh, Bandit’s color, you ask? C’mon, what color dog do you think someone with my unbridled coolness would have? Brown. Yes, my dog was the same color as my 1979 Buick Century (upgraded with the spoiler, eagle decals, and nighttime-only stereo—the car, not my dog.)

Bandit had a big yard to run around in but for some reason always ran in a circle in the exact same path. That pattern killed all the grass on his repeated, precise route and eventually created a circular rut that made it look like an alien spaceship had landed in our yard. In a similar way, repeated thoughts create paths in our brains.

Again, neural pathways are brain ruts.

Craig Groeschel Winning the War in Your Mind

We have just released a new Bible Study on the topic Winning the War in Your Mind

These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.

These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.

Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.