As I shared in yesterday's post, I recently had a life-changing encounter with a licensed professional counselor. Our time together began with her telling me that she rarely if ever gets angry. And, she used to be a person who had a serious anger problem! Now that got my attention! I "manage" my anger well but as far as eradicating it...well, attempts on that have not been totally successful.
She shared with me is that in the majority of cases when someone is overcome with a negative emotion, it is a trigger for something they experienced in the past. (To clarify, this doesn't refer to things you aren't sure happened or digging up repressed memories, etc. What she was talking about are painful things you can actually recall that took place at an earlier time.) In other words, the issue is not the issue. There's something deeper going on.
When someone hurts you now, it's real, and by all means should be addressed. However, it is probably magnified because of your past experience, left unfinished.
What lie (from the enemy) have you believed based upon that past experience that affects you right now?
Yesterday, I referred to some of those lies, three of which I've believed. And, from the mail I got yesterday, well...a lot of you believed them too.
"Maybe I'm not good enough...that's why they don't show up."
"Maybe I don't really matter. That's why they didn't keep their commitment."
"Maybe I'm not all that important. That's why they forgot."
When we get to the root of why something makes us so upset, it prevents us from reacting in such a huge way to current disappointments. In my case, I don't usually react outwardly with people. I keep my emotions in check around people, because that's an important aspect of being successful, keeping your job, etc.
However, I usually get sick.
That's no uncommon for people who hold things in.
So, to put things in a nutshell so far...
I was really disappointed with some people/things.
I took their failures personally. (I didn't realize it had nothing to do with me, until the counselor told me that.)
I was angry and couldn't seem to shake it no matter how much I prayed.
It was brought to my attention that I was angry about more than just what I thought I was angry about.
When faced with this revelation, it reduced me to a pile of tears. I don't cry a whole lot and if I do there's a real good reason for it.
The tears were relief. Cleansing. Washing away the debris of disappointment that had been languishing there for so long.
After the revelation that my emotions were about more than current things, what did it take to move forward?
The counselor gave me four steps that changed my life.
I've been sharing the steps with a few people the past few weeks. I shared them with a pastor friend the other day who just wept when they received them. It hit them too, right at the point of their need, which was completely different from mine.
Upon seeing how much the four steps affected someone else besides me, I thought maybe I should open up and share with more people. I revealed my experience to the congregation and taught the four steps on Wednesday night in our Fusion service at Celebration and I have heard from so many in the church that what was shared is helping them to a greater level of freedom in their lives. To be perfectly clear, these are four biblical steps to freedom, not some kind of hocus pocus or psycho-babble.
I've been a Christian for a long time, and these four steps are helping me look at timeless truths in a new way.
I am now being so bold as to blog about it and share my experience in hopes that it will help you who read here.
I will be sharing the four steps tomorrow.