Simple Principles To Get You Started
In part one of this article, we considered giving our minds an emotional spring clean to declutter ourselves from the ‘emotional junk’ we pick up through the seasons of our lives. These can include issues around our unresolved issues (past or present), negative emotions (e.g. fear, guilt, shame, unforgiveness, etc), unhealthy mindsets, inner conflicts and much more.
A challenge many of us face is around correctly identifying our issues and coming to terms with them. From my experience, this first yet crucial step is complicated by situations such as the following:
- Our busy/cluttered lifestyles which mean we have inadequate time pause and inwardly reflect
- The shame or stigma attached to the revelation of such matters (“What would people say?”)
- The expectation of others and/or that of ourselves (“I have to be strong for others ”)
- Denial of the realities of our lives (“I’m fine”, “This is how God made me”)
Following on from this, we face another challenge which is finding the right strategies to adapt – to realign ourselves and be propelled in the right direction. In the absence of these, you may find yourself hiding behind a mask (e.g. your personality, success, appearance, work, etc). You may also resort to using negative and/or unhealthy coping behaviours around food, alcohol, work, spending, gambling, sex, drugs, etc just to keep your boat afloat. By the way, just in case you are wondering, I am talking about some of the antics we adopt within the walls of the church!
So where do we go from here? Well, to get us started, I believe there are two essential principles we need to keep in mind.
Get God Involved!
This may seem like a clichéd statement but you will be amazed how many of us leave the ‘matters of the heart’ out of the loop when petitioning God with our prayer lists. After all, there are endless demons to slay and mountains to overcome, right? Factor in our daily pressures and challenges, and it is no surprise our emotional clutter, inner hurt and unrest rarely get the attention they desperately need.
So, I encourage you to prayerfully reflect on the true state of your soul. Ask God to enlighten the eyes of your understanding, as opposed to being blinded or in denial (both, strategies of the enemy). Make it a daily habit to pray that God should “prosper you in all things and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2, NKJ).
Keep An Eye On Your Attitudes, Beliefs And Behaviours
Whilst we all like to think that we have these areas covered, I guess the question to ask is: “Do my attitudes, beliefs and behaviours align with the Word of God i.e. His godly standards, principles and truths?” For example, do your beliefs about yourself match up to what God says about you i.e. being “…a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1Peter 2:9)? Are your current attitudes stifling the altitudes God has for you? And as for your behaviours, well they are simply acting out what your attitudes and beliefs dictate because your behaviours are underpinned by the likes of your attitudes and beliefs.
Hence, we need to free ourselves from wrongful, unhealthy and/or incorrect attitudes, beliefs and behaviours (i.e. junk). To do this, firstly, ask God to renew your mind. Secondly, using the bible, constantly feed your mind with wholesome, godly food. And thirdly, regularly monitor and review this area of your life to ensure you don’t fall back into your old ways or accumulate more junk along the way.
These two principles are a good place to start and you can build on them. I would encourage you to take time out to deal with any deep-seated issues that might be contributing to the accumulation of emotional junk, as I recognise that our differing journeys can have different, detrimental effects on us. Again, such matters need the intervention of God Almighty who has the ability to reach into the recesses of our heart, to make us whole.
In closing, having recognised the severe impact emotional baggage can have on us believers, in particular women, I have launched the Overcoming Emotional Baggage for Women Initiative which includes a series of services and products aimed at promoting the emotional restoration and wellbeing of women. This nationwide initiative provides practical solutions for churches and Christian organisations through our range of talks, training programmes and resources for individual or group use. The initiative also aims to help churches and Christian organisations setup eWoman Groups (‘e’ meaning empowering, enlightening and encouraging). eWoman Groups are facilitator-led, supportive forums where women meet to share experiences and learn practical, yet simple strategies to promote their own wellbeing. eWoman Groups also aims to tackle the issue of isolation that keeps many women perpetually bound and provides accountability as well as an opportunity for growth. To get involved and/or find out more, log on to www.gladysf.com.
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