Today I have discarded all of my notes and want to write from recent experience. Many of my friends and loved ones are going through very serious trials and tribulations. As I listen to them speak of these things in my mind I so clearly hear their heart crying out, “Why?! I just want this to be over!” This echoes in my own mind as I realize it is also my heart cry in so many different areas.
I want to provide a tool I have recently stumbled upon for looking at our circumstances and relationships. As many of you know this blog is not just about experiences and stories but about real life answers and tools that we can use everyday to relate to life in a healthy way. I believe that there often is a missing link in our church education system in regards to providing real life tools for breaking out of our former mindsets and truly embracing the freedom Jesus died to give us.
Perspective can be everything when we are struggling with something. Going back to remembering the three spheres of influence, Mine, God’s, Others helps us to realize that whenever we are stepping outside of our circle we feel stress, and when we feel stress it means we have a false belief.
Byron Katie wrote a book titled, “Loving What Is” that challenges this cry of our hearts in so many ways. She challenges us to look at any belief we have in our life and ask the question “Is this true, do I absolutely KNOW this is true?” She points out that if we learn to love what is simply because it is then we will find true freedom from the inside out.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.” Psalm 51: 6
Is this true? Do I absolutely KNOW this is true?
If we believe, “I just want this to be over” we need to ask ourselves, “Do we really know this is true?” How do we KNOW we want whatever we are facing to be over? How many times have we got to the end of something and then realized we wished we were back in the middle of it again? How do we KNOW that at the end of what we are facing we will be so much happier? Truthfully we cannot ever know these things and therefore we cannot know that we want to get out of our current circumstances.
Who would I be without this thought?
She then goes on to encourage us to inquire within, “Who would I be without this thought?” Who would you be without getting up every day and believing “I just want to be out of this circumstance?” Can you dare to imagine if every day you awoke believing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now and feeling good about that? Would your attitude change, would your day change? Would your stress level change? In her words,”Can you give me one stress free reason to hang on to this thought?”
Turn it around!
When you imagine life without that thought it becomes easier to take the next step in her process. The next step is to turn around the belief. So, “I just want this to be over” will turn around to “I don’t want to this to be over” or “I look forward to this not being over”. As you turn a belief around your mind process becomes open to the things that are positive about the situation you are in and begin to look at the circumstances without the stress and without the overwhelming sense of burden.
This process is a strongly recommended tool to use not just on circumstances but also on the relationships we are in. Her book is full of relationship examples where someone holds to a belief system about a relationship that really is locking them into that pattern. The idea is that what we see in others is only a mirror image of what we see in ourselves.
So if you hold to the belief that, “My husband is mean to me.” And you begin to inquire about this you will come to the conclusion after answering the questions and turning it around that if you believe your husband is mean to you then you feel you deserve to be treated this way or you treat yourself that way. You are mean to you. Reality is you cannot really know that your husband is mean to you. You cannot be inside of his head to know what he is thinking when he acts in ways that you perceive as “mean”. You cannot know that in his head he is deliberately being mean to you. But you can turn that around and realize that you are putting up with it and that is you being mean to yourself.
“Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.” Ephesians 4: 25
Everything and everyone around us is our teacher. In the last example through the “mean husband” you were taught that the truth is that you are mean to yourself. Now, when you perceive your husband is “mean” to you things can be different as you choose to treat yourself kindly and respond in a way that is kind to yourself. (Whether being kind to yourself is removing yourself from the room, not receiving or believing the words used towards you, or simply not letting it get to you at all.)
When I first started to read this book I had such a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of the turnaround. Realizing that what I see others doing to me is actually how I see myself or treat myself and feel I deserve to be treated that way. We are programmed to blame shift and to see faults around us but not within us. It is so easy to become the victim and believe that others should change the way they treat us and have no part in it. But when we begin loving what is and learning more about ourselves and how we can treat ourselves with truth and life rather than false paradigms we experience freedom.
As of now I am just beginning this journey using the inquiry tool. It has only been about six months for me but I can attest to the fact that it truly is life changing. There is something refreshing when we realize that most of our negative thoughts we cannot REALLY know are true. Only God knows the truth, and when we begin to hold our thoughts and beliefs one at a time up to God as we inquire about them He can shine His light and we can let them go without allowing our beliefs to control and sometimes even ruin our lives.
“And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free”. John 8: 32
Knowing Jesus and allowing all of our negative thoughts be held up to Him (the Truth) brings us into a place of true worship. There have been so many times that I have held up thoughts and beliefs to these questions of inquiry and realized that they are not necessarily true at all but simply burdening my mind and stressing me out. Every time I turn these beliefs around I feel so enlightened and it transports me into a place of worship and praise to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith! This place I believe is true freedom and truly working out my salvation as I renew my mind in Christ one thought at a time!
“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Philippians 2:12
Blessings to each of you as you inquire and bring your thoughts subject to Christ (the Truth). I pray you may find a new freedom using this tool as you are led by the Holy Spirit to love the Lord and the circumstances in which you find yourself. May you learn to love yourself in a new way as the reality of how you treat yourself comes to light. May you love others in an unburdened way as you are able to let go of accusations and perceptions regarding your relationships. Shalom!
*This writing is based on the works of Byron Katie and her recent book “Loving What Is”. This article is not meant to represent Byron Katie in any way and Crutchprints in the Sand is of no affiliation with her copyrighted book. Crutchprints in the Sand refers and writes about this book and tool in an opinionated way that does not reflect the views of the author.