June 15, 2016
An Unlikely Gift
Have you ever been suddenly overwhelmed by anxiety, frustration, or despair? Maybe you were simply going through the predictable motions of your daily routine, and out of nowhere you began to feel a sense of guilt or panic. All of those emotions have snuck up on me at one point or another. At times, when they’ve remained unchallenged and unchecked, they’ve had the opportunity to wreak havoc on my self-esteem, my relationships, and my well-being. However, a few years ago a dear mentor and friend taught me that my emotions, even the negative ones, can be a gift. I learned that if I treat them like a signal they can help me identify the negative thought patterns and lies that go unnoticed as I experience them unconsciously throughout the day.
I learned that if the thought goes unnoticed, it can be difficult to change, which is discouraging when the thought is damaging to our well-being. However, if we treat our emotions like a signal, they can let us know when we’ve just had a thought from the inner critic that we need to confront. When you begin to feel anxious all of a sudden, take a moment to see if you can identify what you were just thinking about. That thought was more than likely the cause of the anxiety or (insert another negative emotion.) Once you’ve identified the thought, take a moment to challenge it. Is it truth or is it a lie? Is it something you can actively work to change, or is it something out of your control that you need to release to God? How does the thought stand in contrast to who God says you are? How does the thought stand in contrast to who God is according to Scripture? Taking the time to notice the connection between our feelings and our thoughts can have a profound impact on our battle against the inner critic. Take the time today to be aware of how you’re feeling, and when a negative feeling erupts, see if you can trace it back to a specific thought.
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