We recently started a series on emotional and spiritual maturity called, "Life Abundant." This past Sunday, Andy preached a message about looking beneath the surface (sermon link) and we want to share three exercises adapted from the Emotionally Healthy Church book to help us process and apply what we're learning. Ready? Let's dive in!
Exercise 1: Finding the Patterns
Patterns in our lives and relationships are often a sign that we're acting out from deep places in our "iceberg," or parts of our lives that are often unseen and unknown to us. They usually reveal a "bug" in our emotional programming, something that plays out over and over again in our lives. If you or a close loved one notice a "pattern of unhealth" emerging in your life, that is usually a good sign that something's amiss in your internal wiring.
To help find your patterns, fill in the blanks below:
- "Most of the time, I feel as if I am ____." (e.g. invisible, unimportant, failing, guilty)
- "What often happens to me in relationships is ________." (e.g. people leave me, take advantage of me, betray me)
- "Why do others at work or school or church keep on _____me?" (e.g. ignoring, expecting unrealistic things of, criticizing)
- "When I am under stress, I often find myself _______." (e.g. fighting, angry, medicating myself, blaming others, losing myself in an unhealthy way)
- "When I think about the future, I feel _____." (e.g. depressed, anxious, lost, unsure)
Exercise 2: Asking the "Why" Questions
It takes the grace of God to get at the bottom of our iceberg. Thankfully, there are "disciplines of reflection" to help us walk in that grace. One of these is the "Why?" or "What's going on?" question. As we notice patterns in our feelings, situations, and relationships that emerge in our lives, God desires that we ask ourselves the "Why?" question in the safety of His presence.
Some questions to help you figure out, "What's Going On?"
Think about a recent situation in which you have felt some anger, frustration, fear, shame, bitterness, hate, grief, or jealousy. Use the questions below as a starting point to get at "What's going on?"
- Rage/anger: "How was I hurt?"
- Frustration: "What did I feel helpless about?"
- Shame: "What was I hiding?"
- Resentment: "What did I expect or hope for?"
- Depression: "What did I lose?"
- Jealousy: "Where did I feel inadequate?"
Exercise 3: Seeing Your Blind Spot
Think of a person in your life who loves Jesus, knows you well, and loves you. Invite them to speak into your life by sharing what they see in you. Ask them to share strengths you have that you're not aware of and also share honestly about some weakness or sin issues that you might not see.
We're praying that the Spirit would give us greater self-awareness that leads to a deeper love of God and others through the transforming power of the gospel!
In His grace,
The Restored Uptown Staff & Elders
p.s. if you have not taken the emotional maturity assessment yet, you can do so here!