So what happens when you are exploring, and an unpleasant memory comes up?
Last time we talked about some of the reasons we stay stuck. We want to move forward, but feel like we are standing still, or going around in circles. Sometimes it helps to follow a trail back to where we may have gotten stuck in the first place.
We can be explorers with God.
The emphasis is on with God. Please, don’t stop reading, I know I say this a lot. This is so important, we need reminders to always start here. But there is more, so keep reading.
WARNING do not attempt to look at unpleasant memories without God!
We have God’s Spirit, living in us, to guide and show us the way. Psalm 139:23
Okay, that has been said. Now, moving on to. “What to do if unpleasant memories and emotions come up?”
I was majorly nervous about having people over for the first time in over 18 months due to Covid. I wasn’t nervous because Covid may still be active, but fear of not doing a good enough job. Several years ago I had hosted a work event and comments were made of my choice of food not being the high quality they had envisioned. I felt incredible shame and failure and did not want to revisit those emotions! But in His mercy, God invited me to a “re-labeling” time. He showed me this was not a mean comment. It was simply an instruction to clarify expectations. Simple. Re-label from “I failed … I am a bad host” to “I received instruction.”
So here is the thing, for whatever reason, many of us want a formula to follow when there is something unpleasant to deal with.
Please, make it quick and painless God.
But God wants a relationship with us. If we rely on a formula we are back to religion.
There is no shortcut to getting with God and talking to Him. He shines His light on things so He can help us. This is the “with God” part.
Where there is not a formula, God does provide us with dozens of tips and “tools.” His Word tells us stories of how He has connected with people all through the ages. In the New Covenant, He lives in us and helps us each step of the way. But, in order to become aware of His help…
We need to ask.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24 NKJV
What I have learned about memories is that they can reveal some “wonky” thinking. We start out with,
- “Why do I always do that!” and it morphs into, “I’m not good enough,”
- “Why do people always hurt me,” starts to mean “People are dangerous, I must protect myself.”
- “What if bad things keep happening to me” turns into – “God doesn’t care.”
These are thoughts that keep us stuck.
We dug up the artifact (memory) and gave it a wonky label.
From Why or What to Who.
- “I’m not good enough” to Who do You say I am Lord?
- “People are dangerous, I must protect myself.” to Who do You want to be for me, Lord?
- “God doesn’t care” to Who have You been to me through my life, Lord?
Is there a re-labeling event that God is inviting you to?
Is there a why or what that can become a Who?
On His path of joy,
P.S. I would love to hear from you in the comments or send me an email.
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