Each week in my counseling practice, I am granted sacred access to the inner worlds of clients with differing world views, cultural backgrounds, economic means, and religious affiliations. While some differences are more obvious than others, it’s what unites these brave souls that inspires me: They are seeking a way to calm the chaos within . . . to know what do when feeling overwhelmed . . . to understand their anxiety, sadness, and fear . . . to welcome God into the troubling parts of their soul . . . to move from doubt and conflict to confidence and peace . . . and to turn their shame to joy, their anger to advocacy and their inner critic into their biggest champion.
The near certainty that I can help my clients on their journey toward wholeness is one of the greatest joys in my life. My confidence comes from faith in God’s holy Word, His timeless principles for living, and the use of a proven, evidence-based psychological method. This method involves 5 Steps of Taking a You-Turn and I’m going to explain each Step, one by one, in future newsletters, starting here with Step One: Focus on an overwhelming part of yourself.
To get started, take a moment now to stop what you’re doing and reflect. Slow down and listen to your soul. Shift your attention to what you’re experiencing right now. Notice your thoughts, emotions and physical being.
What’s the strongest thought or emotion you’re experiencing right now? Isolate that one thought or feeling that’s causing discomfort and give it all of your attention. How would you describe this feeling? Might you call it anger? Sadness? Loneliness? Anxiety?
Use your God-given imagination to envision what this emotion might look like if you could see it, whether it is an overwhelmed manager part of your soul that’s pushing you to prove yourself, or perhaps an internal critic, berating you for not doing, or being, enough. Is it angry at someone…or at God?
Or maybe you’ve identified an inner firefighter, worn out from dealing with a crisis. As you try to focus, do you feel distracted? Is your To-Do list suddenly looming large? Notice whatever you’re experiencing
Perhaps you sense a lost, lonely part of yourself, faintly crying out for your attention—a younger part of yourself reminding you of a traumatic event in your past. Focus on this part of yourself and see if you can get to know it better. Every part of you is welcome.
If this part of your soul is overwhelming you, kindly ask it to step back and give you a little space so you can focus better on it. You can gain distance from—or differentiate from—a suffering part of your soul. Differentiating internally helps you recognize that a suffering part of you is not all of who you are. Instead, it represents merely a part of you—one of the many parts of your internal landscape. This realization alone can bring relief from hurting thoughts and feelings. Let this hurting part know you want it to stay close enough so that you can be with it, but not so close that it overwhelms you.
You pray for others and for God’s guidance. Would you be willing to extend the same compassion to a wounded part of your own soul? Jesus loves lost sheep, and he loves the lost parts of you. You can join with Him in finding the lost parts of your soul and bringing them home.
Now that you’ve focused on a troubled part of your soul, it’s time to get to know a little more about it. In my next newsletter, I show you how in Step 2: Befriend a part of yourself that you don’t like. Stay tuned . . . and tell a friend!
By Kimberly June Miller, MTh, LMFT