Take a few deep breaths and relax your body. Invite God to speak to you in the next few moments as you make time for silent introspection.
Step 1: Awakening
Recall any recent events, conversations, or experiences that have stirred up unrest within you. If it helps, list them on a sheet of paper. Think about the things that are troubling you, embarrassing you, or burdening you. Don’t discount seemingly small moments – a mistake at work, a fleeting comment, being ghosted by a friend. If it stuck with you, take note of it.
Step 2: Exposing
If you’ve listed several items on your sheet of paper, choose the most pressing item. Set aside the rest for another day. (There’s no rush. God isn’t in a hurry.)
Now, look at your “one thing.” What emotions does it evoke? To quote Grace counselor Eve Walden, “Discomfort is data.” In other words, your uncomfortable emotions are trying to tell you something. Sadness tells us we’ve lost something we love, or we feel disconnected from it. Anger tells us a boundary has been crossed. Anxiety or fear tells us there is danger – the presence of a threat or uncertainty. Guilt tells us we’ve done something wrong.
Consider what your feelings are trying to tell you. Are they grounded in truth? Are you disconnected from someone you love? Has a boundary actually been crossed? Is there a real threat in your life? Did you actually do something wrong?
If your feelings are grounded in truth, what could you do to make things right? Could you reach out to connect with someone you love? Could you reestablish a healthy boundary? Apologize to someone you’ve wronged? If your feelings aren’t grounded in truth, move on to step three.
Step 3: Disputing
Thoughts and feelings that aren’t grounded in truth are damaging. Ask God to help you identify some of the most formative lies you’ve been believing. One way to do this is to consider the thoughts that are connected to your feelings. For example, feeling sad because you’re emotionally disconnected from a grown child is a legitimate feeling. But the thoughts tied to that feeling may not be true. Some of the sadness may be fueled by deceptive core beliefs that say – See, everybody leaves you. Nobody loves you. You can’t count on anyone.
As you recognize the lies you’ve been believing, confess them to God. Ask Him to help you take your thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Then read through the following truths and meditate on the ones that resonate. Consider looking up the Scripture passages and reading them out loud:
God knows me and is intimately involved in my life. He created me in His image, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:1-18; Genesis 1:27).
God is kind, compassionate, loving, and forgiving. His heart is always open to me. He gives me freedom to fail (Psalm 103:8-14, 130: 1-4; Zephaniah 3:17; Luke 15:11-16).
God is trustworthy and wants to give me good things. His will is good, pleasing, and perfect. He will faithfully work all things for the good of those who love Him (John 10:10; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 8:28-29).
God is proud to call me His child. He is committed to helping me grow. I don’t have to be the same person forever. As I align myself with God, He will make me more like Him. (2 Corinthians 7:4; Hebrews 12:5-11).
Remember, freedom isn’t a one-time experience. It’s an ongoing process that won’t be completely finished until we meet Jesus face to face. The joy isn’t in doing it perfectly. The joy is in the journey.