Thursday, December 10, 2009

Living the Abundant Life Yet...? What Excuses May Be In The Way...? (Part II)

"Change will just be too difficult."

"It's too hard -- this is how I've always been -- I can't change my innate nature."

"It's overwhelming -- I don't know where to start."

"Why rock the boat ... if I change it would affect too many others, it would be too much of a battle."

Any of those, or something similar, sound familiar?

I've certainly had those thoughts ... and they still creep in, when I'm not aware of my own thinking ... (I'm in process here!).

Let me get honest with you and myself for a minute ... life itself is hard. Whether I'm struggling with relationship issues, addictions, habits, obesity, depression, or anything else in my life, if I REALLY look closely, I can see that it's not what's happening to me that's causing my suffering ... it's what I'm *THINKING* about what's happening to me that's causing my suffering. The story I tell myself makes ALL the difference in how I experience what's happening. Even deeper still, the story I tell myself actually *creates* what happens ...! (if you don't yet see that, you will one day.)

So, if life is going to be difficult anyway, why don't I choose to have some *purposeful* suffering, in the form of re-examining what I think, what I believe, and thus what I experience..?

Here's my choice: to be a "victim" of what happens to me, or to become a participatory co-creator of my life.


And just because I thought I had no choice in the past, just because I thought I had inherited things I am now stuck with, doesn't make it true. I can find out IF it's true.

What if changing my thinking turns out to be easier than I thought it would be? Many times I've spent more time and energy stewing over, and avoiding, that which I thought would be hard ... than in doing the "hard" thing itself...!

Avoiding, procrastinating and fearing change, is FAR more exhausting than actually going with the flow of the change ...

When I was bulimic, and had tried everything I knew of for 21 years ... I finally "accidentally" (thank You, God) discovered a woman who did a unique prayer-approach to healing ... a participatory process called Theophostic (btw, that woman is now back in my life, and often reads this blog -- as I read hers! Hi Marianne!).

The first thing she had me do, in preparing for our first session, was to make a list of all the "reasons" I binged and purged. A list of everything I "got out of" being bulimic. I filled both sides of a sheet of legal paper. Things like, "I don't know what else to do with my time" ... "this feels like my identity - who I am" ... "if I don't do this the feeling of deprivation is overwhelming, and I feel like I'll die."

From there, she was able to discern and hone in on what seemed like the most prevailing lie ... but rather than point it out to me, she let God lead me in my own imagination and memories to the root of that lie-belief (thus it was a less-cognitive, and more-experiential approach) ... then God showed me His truth instead, which utterly "absorbed" the lie, as Light always does with darkness (no resistance, no fight -- shadows don't resist the Light, nor do they fight back -- the battle is an illusion).

I suggest, if you're open to it, to try the same exercise. What "limitation" is currently in your own life ... a runaway temper? reckless behavior? a disease? an addiction? a habit you "can't" lick? negative thinking? procrastination?

What's keeping you from living the Abundant Life?

Write down all the reasons why you do/think/believe this "limitation". What are you getting out of it? Let your imagination flow ... write down all that comes to mind -- *don't* edit or question it yet ... just get it out, get it down. No matter how silly or "unimportant" it may seem to you (that would be your ego yammering, btw).

Then, see which one seems the strongest, the "truest" to you.

Focus on it ... let the feelings rise up that are associated with it ... let your mind drift to an earlier memory that "feels the same way" ... even ask God to show you when that same feeling first came to you ... when you first felt that way.

If a memory surfaces, experience it. Even if it's one of those memories you intentionally try to avoid (it cannot hurt you now, though the lie you believe about it *does* still hurt you) ... ask God what He wants you to know about that memory. You can ask Him if you've believed any lies since that time, due to whatever you then experienced.

Feel the "truth" of whatever lie you may become aware of ... because when we believe a lie it feels like "truth" to us.

See how that lie has affected you in your life.

Now, do you want to keep believing that lie...?

If not, ask God to show you HIS perspective of that situation ... ask Him if the lie is true. Ask Him for HIS truth, instead of what you *thought* was truth.

Don't try to drum up a verse of scripture ... let Him show you what He has for you, personally, uniquely. Again, don't edit - just receive.

See which feels "truer" now ... what you *thought* you believed before, or whatever it is that God has shown you.

(Another option is to ask yourself the following questions:

- Is it true?
- Can I know for *sure* that it's true?
- How does that thought make me feel?
- Who would I be without that thought?
- Can I think of any stress-free reason to keep that thought?
- Can I turn that thought around, and see if the "opposite" might also be true, or truer? -- Adapted from Byron Katie's "The Work")

How 'bout this: The belief that changing our beliefs is too hard is only a BELIEF...!

We don't have to believe everything we think...!

(Tomorrow, let's look at the excuse: "Change is Too Risky.")

Shalom, Dena


Sue said...

There's something I am wishing to break in on a little bit further actually. It's to do with the part of me that I suppose is most deformed, regarding relationships and staying power etc etc. It was the thing that was the propellant in me running from my marriage. I've been thinking lately I want to tackle it a bit more head on and see what Papa has to say about it, so thanks for this post, Dena. Sometimes it's nice to have something external to help you along the trail.

The whole theophostic area of prayer fascinates me. It's so beautiful the way God works. I watched the videos on the site a few weeks ago, with the woman and her little boy with the cord wrapped round his neck. It was pretty wonderful seeing her come through that experience.

I do think that sort of thing is someting that would be regularly happening if we all weren't so busy and distracted and convinced in a million different ways that our own lives are not in our own hands. Christianity perpetuates that idea too, unfortunately.

But yes, it is a beautiful thing to see people freed from limiting thought patterns. I am happy to see it having happened so much within myself. I guess it gives me hope that there is some freedom still to come for me in this other area I was just talking about. Having the experienced freedom AND still having this big giant ... thing, I can understand both how change is so scary, so unbelievably terrifying, so un-doable, something we run from. And I also know from experience how silencing and awestruckingly cool it is to have come out the other side. And too, the compassion that comes with knowing how hard it is and how worthwhile it is.

Whew, this life! Hard work! :)

Dena said...

Hard yes ... and SO rewarding!

Thank you for baring your heart this openly, Sue - I'm honored.

If you're being led to explore here, go with it with abandon! I also love that video of the woman whose son was saved from strangling ... the part about Jesus knocking the chicken nuggets off the plate just touches me and makes me laugh! LOVE it! He's so creative, LOL! I adore the way He addressed all of her fears, even giving her a new memory-image, to replace the one of him hanging there, turning blue. AND increased her trust, exponentially!

Funny, I was just talking about that video with a friend yesterday!

Perhaps you'll be led to someone to work with you ... someone I would imagine is a bit off the beaten track ... someone to whom you could well relate (or perhaps someone who needs what YOU have to offer them!).

Regardless, you will be led into healing ... as you've expressed a desire to move beyond your own limitations.


Jeannette said...

So glad you posted this on RCU. I'm sure it was meant for someone there. :) I loved it and *get it* completely. My blog post this evening (and a few other days this week) touched on my transformation a bit. It's a beautiful thing. :)

Dena said...

Well ... give us a link to your blog, Jeannette...! Share girl, share! :)

Jeannette ;) said...

Dena, the link to my blog is attached to my name, just click on it. :)

Dena said...

LOL! But of course, Jeannette...!

Didn't connect the dots ... TOO funny!!!

Just smiling!

Jeannette said...