Interactive Journaling---helping you return to peace and joy. September Session
Using the model of jounaling is a simple method for improving our awareness of God's presence in both our thoughts and lives. This is an easy tool to connect with God and is explained in the book, Joyful Journey- listening to Immanuel and can be found at the website www.lifemodelworks.org written by James Wilder, Anna Kang, John Loppnow and Sungshim Loppnow.
There are three parts:
1. Interactive gratitude
Gratitude helps strengthen our ISIGHT [awareness of God's presence in both our thoughts and lives]. It is also the easiest and fastest way to connection with God. Throughout Scripture, God in His wisdom always encourages us to give thanks. There are physical benefits to living a life of gratitude backed up by research. "Our brain is "plastic" in the sense that it is capable of changing throughout our lifetime. Whatever we do repeatedly tends to become a habit. We can become overwhelmed with the intensity of unpleasant emotions that are hardwired into the brain; sadness, anger, fear, shame, hopeless despair and disgust. Feeling gratitude returns our minds to relationship with God in the presence of these unpleasant feelings and other forms of suffering."
"We tend to spend a lot of energy focusing on resolving traumas in the hope that we will be free from the pain trauma brings. What we often miss or overlook is the power of building memories of God's goodness that give us a sense of being loved. Noticing God's goodness and appreciating His gifts can be viewed as depositing money in our Immanuel savings accounts, whereas focusing on painful events in life can be like withdrawing money!"
First, start writing a moment of gratitude, anything that comes to mind in a conversational manner with God. Add why you are grateful. "If it is difficult to remember anything, start your conversation by letting Him know your difficulty and asking Him to help you. If we are able to admit we are stuck, it relieves the pressure of producing results. God meets us where we are and helps us to get unstuck."
Second, once you have reread what you are grateful for, "next, ask God what He would say to you. Don't filter your thoughts and allow the Spirit of God to lead you. Focus on putting down what you sense about His response to your gratitude, resembling what good parents would say to their children after being touched by their children's gratitude.
2. Thought- rhyming
In Ephesians 2:10, Paul uses the Greek word poiema, which literally means God's poetry. "Poetry in scripture does not rhyme sounds; it follows the Hebrew pattern and rhymes thoughts. This means that as God's poetry, our thoughts can rhyme with our Heavenly Father's."
"We are designed to desire connection and thrive when we participate in relationships with God and each other. We have specific circuits in our brain that build relationships. When they are turned on, we can connect, when they are turned off, it becomes difficult to relate to others, including God. When that happens, we no longer feel peace and joy or have compassion for others."
There is a way back to peace, and using the tool of a sequence of questions to converse with God and to see things from His perspective can help.
Writing our thought-rhyming impressions
Start writing a conversation with God from His perspective using the following questions in the following order. When we are feeling upset about something, this sequence can help bring us back to a place of peace.
A. "I can see you."
Begin writing about your observable actions and surroundings as if God is describing them back to you.
Then, write about your body movements, sensations, expressions or physiological responses that others might not be able to notice with their bare eyes.
B. "I can hear you."
Begin writing as God simply says back to you what He hears from your speech and actions.
Continue writing about unspoken words in your mind. God simply recognizes what He hears from our inner thoughts.
C. "I can understand how hard this is for you."
D. "I am glad to be with you."
E. "I can do something about what you are going through."
When you are finished, read it aloud, to yourself or a trusted safe group. Reading aloud helps the two sides on your brain connect to each other and to the experience. You will feel either peace and compassion toward the person who upset you, or you will need to continue the process until you come to a place of peace.
This is a short synopsis of a very user friendly method from this group of researchers.
There is much more in the way of examples and explanation of the brain science involved in the book for a very nominal price. The new brain science and Biblical truths concur to help process pain so that the experience produces wisdom which is the mature response to difficulties in life. "Any life event that leads us to feeling alone without help can be experienced as traumatic. Whenever we perceive that God or people are absent during times of pin, or with su but unable to share the impact, this experience can become traumatic."[Wilder, 2010] "Suffering well means that we go through difficulties in life without being traumatized and that we respond to each situation relationally."
[All quotes are from the book "Joyful Journey" by Wilder, Kang, Loppnow and Loppnow]