James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Double minded. We all act that way. Do you have every intention of doing the right thing and then, for reasons unbeknownst to you, you do just the opposite? You are determined to clean the house, but you don’t. You promise you will not overspend, but you do. You want to stay off of drugs or alcohol, but you can’t. You know you need to eat healthier, but you don’t.
That is because you are not the only one making your decisions for your life. The reason that you apparently act as if you are at cross purposes with yourself regarding your life is because it is true. There is more than one voice in your head – actually, multiple voices – wanting different things and they are all very convincing. It makes it that much harder to listen to and obey the voice of God when there are other “people” within you trying to get what they believe they need.
Have you ever just started crying, and you didn’t know why? That is because there is a part of you that needs to cry. Something happened that touched a tender spot and triggered a sad response to something that you absolutely do not want to think about. So you don’t think about it – but that doesn’t mean that the sadness will not surface. It WILL surface, just at unexpected times when you are not prepared for them.
How about you decide to give up something very important to you, as in during a fast? Tell yourself you are not going to do something, and what rises up within you? A resounding “No!”. Where is that coming from? A part of you has made that object, activity or substance its protector from bad feelings, and that part of you will protect it at all costs, trying to get you to abandon your attempts at removing this thing from your life.
However, you can talk with the voices in your soul. This is where a colony of past “yous” lives, all stuck in paradoxes they could never resolve from problems in your past. They are trying to protect you and themselves, but by doing things their own way, and not necessarily the best way.
What you need to know most is that all of the parts of you are not trying to harm you, but to protect you from further harm, and especially from being overwhelmed by your emotional memories. However, if you talk to them and find out what they want from you, and tell them that you are going to try to give them what they need, only in a healthier way, then it opens a door to start meeting needs and healing hurts you didn’t even know you had.
We’ll talk more about this over the next few weeks, but I want you to try an exercise. Pay attention to your inner voices and your emotions. If you feel anxious or nervous, or angry or afraid, stop what you are doing and ask yourself a question – OK, somebody is very nervous right now. Can you tell me why you are nervous? And then just LISTEN. Write down what you hear, and if you want to, ask more questions until you get to the bottom of what this part of you is thinking and why.
I’d love for you to share with me what you asked and what responses you received. I’ve been doing this and I cannot explain to you the amount of peace that has settled over me as I have been addressing left over fears and issues that my conscious mind has not allowed me to deal with before. I’m committing to 16 week of talking it out with the goal of reducing any history related stress so I can better handle present day stress. If you have any questions, just let me know. Next week, I’ll explain your “parts” in a little more detail.