Did you know you can turn your shame into joy, your anger into advocacy and your inner critic into your biggest champion? You can do so by following “The Five Steps of Taking a You-Turn.” In my last two newsletters, I outlined Steps One and Two: How to focus on and befriend a challenging part of yourself. Now we’ll move to Step Three: How to invite Jesus to draw near to a hurting part of your soul.
Try this exercise: focus on a troubling feeling that you’re having. Now imagine that this feeling belongs to just one part of you. Connect with this part of yourself and let it know it is welcome. Now ask this part of your soul if it knows Jesus. Whether or not it does, is it willing to invite Him to draw near? Let this part listen to His voice. Let it notice what Jesus wants to say and receive any gifts He wants to give. By inviting Jesus to draw near, you’re living out the beautiful verse, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
Regardless of whether the part of you that showed up is a Manager, Firefighter, or Exile*, Jesus wants to draw near, which isn’t surprising. After all, in the Bible, we see Him relating to three different types of people: those who were sanctimonious, straying, and suffering. These three qualities also describe parts of your soul. So let’s look briefly at each one:
Sanctimonious: Reminiscent of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, think of sanctimonious parts as being moralistic Managers—the aspects of your soul working hard to keep you on the straight and narrow and help you look good to the outside world. Just as Jesus befriended Nicodemus, He desires to befriend the sanctimonious Manager parts of your soul.
Straying: Now consider the straying parts of your inner world—those well-meaning Firefighters trying valiantly to numb your frustrations and extinguish your pain. I liken these parts to the Bible characters whose sins were easiest to see—be they prodigals, prostitutes, or skeptics. Typically, Jesus didn’t have harsh words for straying sinners. Instead, he befriended them, forgave them, and called them to change.
Suffering: Finally, consider the suffering Exiles within. When Jesus encountered people who were suffering, he didn’t blame them or marginalize their struggles. Instead, he encouraged them, helped them, and treated them with respect. That’s exactly what happens when you invite Jesus to draw near the tender, suffering parts of your soul. Because the more you know Him, the more you reflect His goodness and develop a richer, more intimate relationship with God.
Is a hurting part of your soul ready to ask Jesus to draw near? If not, chances are you’re dealing with a Manager carrying a fear-burden about what might go wrong if a timid Exile within becomes vulnerable enough to trust Jesus to heal it. (Fear of overwhelm is a common concern.) Rather than condemning this hard-working, well-intentioned Manager, seek to learn more about its concern. As with any other type of Protector, once it trusts your Spirit-led self, it will step back and give you needed space to work with the Exile your Manager has been faithfully guarding.
Now that you’ve focused, befriended, and invited Jesus to draw near a hurting part, you’re ready for Step Four, which is unburden. The key verse for unburdening is 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you.” You can read about this important step of the You-Turn process in Chapter Seven of my book and I’ll also discuss it in my next newsletter. Meanwhile, if you have questions about any of the Five Steps, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
In addition, if you’d like help working through the Five Steps of Taking a You-Turn, check out the two guided exercises on my webpage. I narrate the exercise that is free of charge. The exercise that costs $9.99 is narrated by a professional voice actor. You can also listen as I guide two different podcast interviewers in taking a You-Turn: One with Michael Cusick on “Restoring the Soul,” (select Episode 77); the other is with Christopher Cook on “Win Today.”
*See my book for more about these terms.
Adapted from Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings Into Your Greatest Allies by Alison Cook, PhD and Kimberly June Miller, MTh, LMFT, © 2018, Thomas Nelson.
By Kimberly June Miller, MTh, LMFT