I really like to use visual paper/pen exercises to help with clarity sometimes.
I utilize them any time that I am feeling lost or confused on a certain issue, and other times just to remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for.
In Celebrate Recovery, there are many times in the guides that we are asked to write down times where we have been hurt, things we have not yet forgiven, times that we have made poor choices, our personal daily inventories… (and DOZENS more).
These exercises help us to SEE where things went wrong.
We can pinpoint and recognize a problem, admit our own role, and learn how to be mindful to not make that same choice or to have the same reaction in the future.
When we choose to sit down and invest time in uncovering our truest and darkest secrets….these are life-changing exercises.
Very helpful in Recovery.
In school I learned a lot about behavioral psychology and cognitive therapy.
Both of these disciplines use the same techniques for clients and offer many templates, approaches and examples for us to use as starting points as new counselors.
There are many exercises for dealing with anger management, tracking positive and negative emotions, and for achieving overall emotional regulation.
These are typically used to help someone with a substance disorder to SEE patterns and to recognize their own patterns of behavior.
This way, clients can stop the downward spiral before it begins, and learn to form new habits and responses.
In my personal relationship with God, writing my gratitude lists out by hand, journaling or simply jotting down prayer requests for others has really helped me over the years to stay in touch with Him. It also helps me to hold myself accountable for things that I really need to remain mindful of.
In any case there is just something about taking time to sit down, to take out a pen and paper, and write things down.
It is so beneficial to sit in a quiet room, silently focusing on our task to gain clarity.
For me, it helps me to balance and focus on the most important things. I am a thinker, and if I am not careful, my mind will wander and my brain will concoct ridiculous happenings – especially if I am trying to logically sort out a heart matter.
Putting this into practice in my real life:
I am 13 weeks along with baby #3. I am over the freaking moon excited. My family is growing and I am one of the crazies that believes that if God gives em’ to us—he’ll provide and we will adjust. End of story.
I have family that is supportive and friends who are as well. My husband and children are ecstatic.
still, quietly, in the far right hand corner of my brain, in the darkest- innermost part- I feel this ridiculous ‘need’ to ring up my mom to share the news with her.
(Like I said…. ridiculous.)
And no, it isn’t some irrational, impulsive, fleeting thought in all of the excitement. It is more of a deep-rooted yearning for that bond, that I know isn’t happening this side of heaven.
For this ‘problem’… instead of wishing or praying away a drug-induced mental illness….
I find that doing a writing exercise helps me to pull things back into perspective.
(Our emotions are not always logical, right…and will not always pull us toward the best scenario for us.)
Logic vs. Love.
Love, or my heart (that thing that a lot of people will tell you to follow around…….and I don’t recommend that) tells me typical things..like that we’re family and she has made mistakes. She is my mother of course and it is only natural to want to call her to share news with her.
Logic tells me that our track record as interpersonal humans–is shoddy and dangerous and that it has been for 25 years now and it hasn’t shown ANY signs of positive progress.
It also tells me that I’d be setting myself up for something (no telling really)
and it’s obviously best to stay positive, keep myself, belly and family safe.
Neither really ‘wins’ …..in this particular case…. for this particular problem….
My faith has to be the louder voice.
God’s provision wins.
Ultimately, this is what I choose to follow around.
For this writing exercise I would write out two columns.
The first column is labeled “Needs”
I would write something like:
*I want to be able to share with my mother. I want to call her. I want a strong woman in my life to care and to be there for me. (brutally honest is the only way to go. God knows your heart anyway guys)
The second column, is labeled “God’s Provision”
I would write how God has already provided for that particular want:
*Great friends, wonderful & caring mother-in-law. I have strong, wonderful women IN MY LIFE RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE who would love to be a part of this journey with me, and some already are.
This helps me to see that my ‘Needs’ ARE in fact, being met.
God IS providing and I AM getting exactly what I need.
I may not be getting what my brain or heart wants…
but God IS taking care of my need in a way that I don’t usually recognize unless I purposefully seek out his response.
This exercise helps me to see that God’s love for me is overflowing. I am not lacking anything that I might feel like I am from time to time. Sometimes, the things I may want…..just aren’t necessary or best for me.
This can be used for anything that you feel that you need or want. You can write down how God is already providing for you in some capacity to meet that need.
Hopefully it will help you, the way that it helps me!
Never underestimate the power of old-school.
The pen and paper….