Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Time for Reflection...{Finding Sanctuary - 7}

Click here to download a copy to use.

Click here to download a personal copy to use...

Today is the day - a day to spend some time to reflect and document these musings about what your analysis so far has shown. You can do this two different ways: 1) a reflection for each of the three main points + 1 for the color connections made on this day; or 2) one reflection taking all of your coding, investigation and studying into consideration. If you have discovered more complexity than you anticipated, then you may want to do the reflection the first way...there will be time to fine tune and hone to a resolution still in the next few weeks! No matter which way you decide to do this exercise, here are some prompts to help you along:

 Include:

self-encouragements,
analyses,
wonderings, 
self-questionings, 
expansion of feelings, 
comforts, 
wisdom, 
discoveries, 
advice,
quietness, 
complexity,
simplicity,
"I" statements,
conversation with God,
etc.

I like quotes, and sometimes I find one by an author or artist that so succinctly summarizes what I am feeling/finding - so I included a page for you to document any quotes that relate to your journey you are on...

This is the final piece of homework this week - feel free to spend 20 minutes at a time and take a break and return to this reflection process as often as you wish...

Tomorrow I will share my map...and perhaps some of my analysis...

Blessings!

Older posts in this series:
The Journey begins
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3 
A new tool, part 4 
A Soft Answer, part 5
How do We Step Into and Out of Anger? part 6

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Do We Step Into and Out of Anger?...{Finding Sanctuary - 6}

Sorry for the late posting.  The internet has. been. slow. and. would. not. load!  But, here it is, quite long - if you like to skip right down to the Greek word studies, scroll down till you see the bold and italicized Greek words for anger...from there down is where you will find the word study and the steps in and out...

A good thing to remember as we think about how we relate to others, plus a peaceful image to encourage us through a tough study...

STEPS INTO AND OUT OF ANGER
A Study on Ephesians 4:26, 31-32

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.                                                                          Ephesians 4:26, 31-32 Amplified Bible


The entire passage of Ephesians 4 tells us that the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in our lives is reflected in how we treat others.  We show if we are  plugged in to the power of the Holy Spirit within us (or not) by our treatment of those around us, especially our family and including ourselves.

Again, our attitudes toward each other reflects how effective we are allowing the Holy Spirit within us to be.

Wounds and offences from the actions of others are part of the tribulation of living in a fallen world; they are inevitable.  However, God has provided a way for us to find relief from the consequences of these realities through the act of forgiveness.

In Matthew 6:12, Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”.  In verses 14 and 15 He further states, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because He first loved us.  If anyone says, `I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar, For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command; `Whoever loves God must also love his brother.’     1 John 4:10; 20-21 – This speech talks about unresolved hate developing into an inability to fully experience God’s love and express passionate love back to Him.  (You could say the ability to worship Him will be hindered.)

Our relationship with each other directly impacts our fellowship with God.  When brethren are at odds with each other, the Holy Spirit is grieved.


There are three main words in the Greek translated as “anger” in our New Testament.

            First is righteous anger – “ORGE”.  It is appropriate as long as we limit its intensity and
                                    duration.  This is the type of anger found in Ephesians 4:26a.

            Second is a simmering kind of anger - PARORGISMOS”.  This is the type of anger or 
                                 provocation that we should not let the sun go down on. It is an undercurrent 
                                 that is hidden and festers and grows.  When left unchecked, it can turn into…

            Third is a violent kind of anger – “THUMOS”.  It lashes out at someone else.  It is an 
                                 outburst of wrath from inward indignation.  It quickly blazes up and quickly
                                 subsides.  This  word is never translated anger, but as wrath.

Why do we have the third kind?  Usually because that other person has violated a boundary which we have established (whether we have formally identified the boundary or not) and we have not addressed the issue with the individual.

Verse 31 contains the steps into bitterness, the process beginning with malice and moving eventually into brimming over bitterness.
Verse 32 contains the steps out.

There are six key words in verse 31 (and the original Greek word is included):

1.                  bitterness (PIKREA),
2.                  wrath (THUMOS),
3.                  anger (ORGE),
4.                  clamor (or brawling – depending on your translation of the Bible) (KROWGAY),
5.                  slander (BLASPHEME), and
6.                  malice (KAKIA).

1.                  Malice is a condition of depravity or badness defined as “malignity” if it is active in action  and as “trouble” if it is passive in action.  Malice is “Kak-ee’-ah” in Greek (such a fitting sounding word!).  Malice comes from our old carnal nature.  When the presence of malice is revealed, we can bring this place of our heart to Jesus for regeneration and healing.

2.                  If we don’t handle the malice, it moves into evil speaking, gossip and/or slander.

                  Slander (“blas-feem” in Greek) means:  to speak something, wrong or true, about another
                  individual with the purpose of hurting that person’s reputation. (Webster’s)

3.                  Now if we don’t arrest the slander, we experience clamor.

                        Clamor (“krow-gay” in Greek) means:
              a.                   to demand, to complain, to gripe (Webster’s)
              b.                  A cry, outcry, clamor, vociferation.  A cry of sorrow, wailing, lamentation.
                                                                                    (Perschbacher’s Greek Lexicon)
               c.                   An outcry (in notification, tumult or grief). (Strong’s 2906)
               d.                  An onomatopoeic word, imitating the raven’s cry.  Denotes an outcry; in Ephesians 
                             4:31 it signifies the tumult of controversy.        (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of 
                                                                                                                New Testament Words)

            We “clamor” because we are moving towards anger through believing the slander.  Through
            our outcry, we are motivating ourselves to “righteous indignation”.

4.                  If we don’t handle the clamor, it moves into ORGE anger.  Remember, ORGE is appropriate only as long as we limit its intensity and duration.  When ORGE becomes a more settled or abiding condition of mind, maybe with a view to taking revenge, an individual is well on their way to…

5.                  Wrath, or THUMOS, that more agitated condition of anger that precludes strong and quick outbursts which quickly subside, only to come forth once again if not checked.

6.   At anytime along the way we could have stopped the process, but left unchecked it automatically
moves into bitterness.   Bitterness means acridity, or poison (Strong’s 4088).  This is the final fruit of
a long harvest of fleshly activity.  It is a condition that is a state of being.  Just as poison is toxic to our bodies, bitterness is toxic to our lives.  It can contaminate those around us, and can cause us actual physical problems. 


When we have entered into bitterness, the individual you are struggling with begins to dominate your
            time and your attention.  It is the desire of harm towards another individual’s life.

We end up hurting ourselves more than we could ever hurt another.  We were not created to harbor these intense negative emotions; our bodies were not designed to endure the long term effects of such emotions  There is a high cost of getting even….

            Milton Layton in “Escaping the Hostility Trap” states: 
Anger that has developed into bitterness has been called the chief saboteur of the mind, a significant factor in the formation of many serious diseases, and the leading cause of misery, depression, inefficiency, sickness, accidents, loss of work time, and financial loss in industry.  No matter what the problem – interpersonal conflict, alcohol consumption, a child’s defiance, nervous or physical diseases – the elimination of hostility is a key factor in its solution.

There is physical cost – a chemical imbalance can occur that is the same as that which precludes the development of high blood pressure, ulcers, fatigue, headaches, and can even deepen the lines of your face!  And can even affect the health of our bones (Proverbs 17:22; 14:30).  Intense negative emotions can damage the health of our bones – medical science has discovered that the enzymes that the glands secrete cause the deterioration of the bones.

John Blender, author of “How to Live 365 Days of the Year”, writes that most of our physical illnesses are caused by intense wrong emotions that we have let dominate our heart.

There are emotional and mental consequences as well, such as depression, a certain mind set, destruction of relationships and self confidence, etc.

*****************

How do you stop verse 31?

1.   MAKE A CHOICE (Put it away in verse 31)
            Don’t wait until you feel better.  You will never feel like stopping, you must “do” until you “feel”.   We must make an unemotional decision which is dictated by our will.

2.  BE KIND (Verse 32)
            Demonstrate acts of love towards one another.  This is an act of the will, not based on any emotion. This is a kind of building treasure into another individual – “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Before long, your emotion will be present, too.

            How do we do this, practically speaking?
           
1.                  Make a conscious choice to do acts of love.
2.                  Ask God to show you what to do.  Build treasure into the heart of the individual.
3.                  Be tenderhearted, one toward another.  This is a very vulnerable position – people are so inconsistent and unjust even in Christian circles.  Don’t become cynical or sarcastic about the spiritual things, don’t even joke about spiritual things, because it will change you – it will harden your heart to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

            You must choose tenderheartedness instead of hardness of heart.  When you do, even with those who have hurt you, He will give you the grace:
                        to forgive,
                        to see that person as God’s tool to deepen our spiritual life,
                        to see what has happened to us as a mirror of what we have done to God,
                        to act out of the forgiveness we have been forgiven with
                        to see His woundedness instead of our hurt –

                                                and it will change us.

Bless you if you have made it through this study!  I promised my brief study of Proverbs, but I think this is enough for one day, don't you?  I promise, by Friday!  Tomorrow will be a full day of appointments away from home, and I have to finish a sewing project before the morning...



Older posts in this series:
The Journey begins
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3 
A new tool, part 4 
A Soft Answer, part 5
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Soft Answer...{Finding Sanctuary - 5}

Dreamy light, delicate flowers, gentle and soft words and voice...
this mood is what I want to have reflected in my life...
there are boundaries, edges that define but don't wound with their sharpness...
firmness with beauty and grace and love extended - the image of Jesus...
a soft (gentle) answer turns away wrath...Proverbs 15:1

"softly, gently, we..."
How would you finish the sentence?

Photo processed with a levels adjustment, Kim Klassen's Isobel texture at multiply, a gradient light adjustment layer set to soft light and copied, the text in Vivaldi font.

Now, if you are interested in reading a bit of my healing from unhealthy anger, and some of what the Bible has to say about anger, continue on...otherwise...I hope you've enjoyed my attempt at photos filled with dreamy light!

If any of my siblings read this, I truly am just telling my own story...you may have a different perspective, and that is quite all right...

I grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent...I an confidently declare that while it wasn't what I would have chosen, God has been able to fashion good from it all.  Grace!  There is no more anger or blame concerning the resulting chaos and wounds, forgiveness has been achieved...and actually this was true before I started truly healing in the arena of my unhealthy anger!  You see, I had witnessed so much violence and rage (and been on the receiving end of some of it), that I had determined that ALL conflict and anger were not good and certainly not Godly!  And when I had stepped into the Spirit-filled life, I certainly thought that would never surface again, I believed it was dead and buried!  And figuratively so, it was!  But then, through our daily "quiet times", the Lord began to open my eyes to the fact that conflict and even anger wasn't ungodly, in fact, He was the one who brought it!  I was reading Galatians 5 at the time, and verse 17 specifically, where the conversation is that the Spirit and the flesh oppose one another...I began to understand that the Spirit opposes the flesh...and His gentle voice permeated...what does that sound like?  To me, it sounded like conflict!  But not the sort I was used to...so began my education about anger...tho' I had read it many times before, that God was slow to anger (Exodus 34:6), it dawned on me that if He could be angry, then anger wasn't a sin!  Before then, I must have just glossed over Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry, but do not sin..." .  I was on the journey of learning...that I could be angry and still be holy...

Then there is this verse from James"for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God."

So then I had to find that defining line...find the righteous anger of God and how to express my own, well, how to find my own even!  He knew it was there, and He wanted to "remove that mountain"!  So the beginning of the learning was accepting that anger could be a part of my life, and then it was time to define the boundaries of healthy anger...the definitions were to be set by scripture...

I did a search in the Proverbs for the word "strife", "anger", "quarrel" and made a list...(I will provide my little study tomorrow, plus the major study of words found in Ephesians 4:26-32)...the lines began to be defined as I read and contemplated the words...

I must say that a "backdrop" verse, words that were always the filter for all that I was reading, was Philippians 4:8:  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. This verse, plus the Proverbs wisdom, taught me to look for the kernel of truth, the spark, the needs that were being expressed in outbursts of anger...and I could apply that to myself as well... The "theory" of righteous anger was being built...practical application and processing of the buried mountain was to come later...

So, to put it in "Step form" -
1.  Accept healthy anger as a part of being created in His image.
2.  Define the line by searching scripture - especially Proverbs -
      and meditating on it AND write your findings.
3.  Remember Philippians 4:8

to be continued tomorrow...


Older posts in this series:
The Journey begins
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3 
A new tool, part 4

Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Tool - 4...{Finding Sanctuary}

Download this worksheet to use with today's step here...

 The following is a simple exploration, yet time consuming.  Consider spreading out the exercise for each "main branch idea", doing one a day over the next three days...

4.  Back to the first 3 main branch ideas that you highlighted.

     a.  Look up the word (or main word of a phrase) in the dictionary and write down the
          definition(s).  Deeper work:  If you like using Biblical lexicons, try looking the word up in a
           lexicon to find definitions that may not be included in a regular language dictionary.
     b.  What are the antonyms? Write them down.
     c.  What are the synonyms? Write them down.
     d.  What are some of the Bible verses that speak about this word/idea?  Write them down as well.
     e.  Walk away for a time, and let your mind and spirit work.  Give the Lord time to speak deep into
          your heart.  There may not be words yet...but if there are, or phrases or ideas, jot them down
          (think a "list" type format) and keep them handy for the reflection stage (coming on
           Thursday)...


Older posts in this series:
The Journey begins
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chalkboard Bird Sketches and Photoshop Brushes

Little birds; tender; delicate; lively and loveable - 
singing with abandon and stretching out their wings to let the currents take them soaring...

Seeking their rest at the altar of the Lord...
where my heart longs to be - where I need to be and where we will remain as the journey we are on helps us explore deep heart issues...
Monogram Heart Birds...one of the bird brushes and miscellaneous default brushes.  The Monogram is in a font titled "Rage" - very fancy and floral so I don't understand the name!



I've been wanting to make these bird brushes from drawings I had found for some time...
and with a quiet weekend upon us, I have it done...

a good break from mind maps!
I'll be using these to help with coming artwork...

18 Brushes in all-available in my etsy shop...

Friday, February 22, 2013

A New Tool - 3...{Finding Sanctuary}

This art journaling/art therapy page is titled "Frontier of the Heart" - the base is a modern road map of the western states in the US, including California, Nevada, and Utah.   Roads and town names still peek through, and make up the dividing lines of the heart in the middle.  The work is a combination of ink, pen, watercolors and watercolor pencil and I have started enjoying stitching on some of my paper projects.  This is a celebration of the journey into healing of a broken heart...and it takes the same courage and commitment to exploration as the early pioneers exhibited in traveling out into the frontier...

I thought this image might be a nice fit for this series of heart exploration we are doing...tho' not a "mind-map"!

Today we are going to take the "mind-map" that you created and take a good look at it.  Begin the reflection on what was poured out.  Let the Holy permeate through what may appear rather "unholy" at first glance...in fact, did things get disturbing for you?  Did you stop in the middle of your map?  Do not fear!  Pull that crumpled mess out of the wastebasket, tape those torn shreds back together!  He (the Lord) knows the depths of our human souls, and He longs for our hearts to feel His presence which is already there in the middle of our messy hearts, already loving and gracing the things that remain hidden AND all that has been revealed.  Take courage for He is always with you! (And He loves us anyway!)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9 NASB

Now, to continue on {smiling}...

For this part of the exercise, have highlighters or colored pencils at hand.  As before, a quiet space and about 20 minutes of time will benefit the process...and your favorite cup of tea or coffee??  Make this a little date with yourself?  (And God)

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide the work.  Skim over your map and take note of up to 3 "First Level" branches that you feel drawn to, that you feel that as you explore these ideas, fresh revelations about your core issue may come forth.  ("First Level" branches are those whose lines connect with the center sphere.)  Highlight these in the same color so that you can come back to them in Step 4 (coming on Monday).

A Note to Remember -   Some patterns are so habitual, that taking this time to study the brain map can unveil even more connections - the Spirit has already been leading you and this tool is really just a help in hearing His whispers, eliminating the competing voices.  These steps require time to allow your mind and your heart to make strong healthy connections and to unravel the unhealthy connections.   Time for the Lord to reconfirm what you already know deep down.  Make notes, add them into the mind-map if/when these additional connections are discovered...

2.  Continue the "first order analysis". Use another color (highlighter or colored pencil) and mark all words/ideas/phrases that seem to relate, no matter which branches they are on.  Make a "key" at the edge of your paper by making a mark with your color and writing a one word summary of the idea this color represents.  By doing this step, you can get another visual of how these words/ideas are connecting in your mind.

3.  Begin the "second order analysis".  Using another piece of paper ( or your notebook or journal), make a list of each word/ideas/phrase that you marked with the same color.  Make as many lists as you used colors...

Ask yourself:

What patterns do I see?
What new thing(s) do I realize after looking at my map and the connections?
What emotion(s) is being stirred by this activity?
If there is a particular negative sounding thread, what would be the positive alternative?
Am I being pointed in a certain direction to explore further?
Am I being pointed towards a certain clear action that I can now comprehend?
(Add more questions as they come to you)...

Be careful...if this activity begins to feel like a burden and you begin sinking under a dark cloud of reproach (thoughts of self-blame, finding fault with self, discrediting self, or disapproving of self) you might be stuck in a pit of shame that is not God's heart for you...one solution is to view the exercise as if you were helping your best friend through it; this is called an "altered point of view" - useful to circumvent this sort of self-reproach.  Another solution is to ask a trusted friend or Godly spouse to help.  Or perhaps it is time to seek a period of wise counsel to deal with the issue of shame and the need for resilience in your heart.

Write your answers in your journal...all the questions may not apply, and new ones may be aroused...
If you find yourself "stuck" in doing step 3, get up and do something else for a while.  If a thought comes to you, quickly jot it down and bring it with you the next time you have 20 minutes carved out of your day to do this focused work. 

Has 20 minutes flown by?  You should walk away from the work every 20 minutes anyway in order to allow your mind a break in concentration and for you to continue to make connections.


Feel free to share in the comments how your work is progressing, or if you want to share privately, email me at fort.cindy@gmail.com...

Coming up:  Monday - Step 4
                     Tuesday - Biblical Thoughts on Anger - It occurred to me that my topic might require 
                                     more of an explanation as anger can be quite the volatile issue...and to share
                                     with you the growth that has brought me to this point...
                     Wednesday - More Information about Anger
                     Thursday - Reflections
                     Friday - I'll share my mind-map and analysis work.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A New Tool - 2...{Finding Sanctuary}

Because we are talking about "maps" today!  Photo credit

 Today we will be exploring a tool that will help us define “where we are” and “where this journey might take us”.

To start any quest, we must determine where we are…and that becomes the starting point.  To even take one step, we need to have an idea about where it is that we will be going to.  That place will be determined by the topic you chose from the previous post.  These destinations are already inside of you – your longings, your dreams, your thinking, your emotions, and the gentle leadings of the Holy Spirit have been whispering to you.  This is how it begins in me as well.

Since it is sometimes hard to grasp hold of these whispers, to hear them clearly, and to discover how some of the seemingly unrelated ones connect to others, I will walk you through a wonderful technique names {appropriately!} “mind-mapping”.  It is a tool that is useful in counseling and in business strategy as it helps individuals (or corporations) to discover connections to old patterns and creative innovations simultaneously.  Think of this as a brainstorming exercise; the capturing  of a myriad of ideas without filtering or censorship or even without worrying about correct spelling and grammar.  There will be time later to consider what has been revealed.  The only limits in this exercise is the size of your paper and how quickly you can write.  An added benefit is once you have learned this tool, you will be able to apply the technique to any heart issue, subject or endeavor you might want to explore in depth.

You will need a comfortable chair, a sheet of notebook paper (or several), a favorite pen or pencil and about 20 minutes of uninterrupted time.  You can also use a page or two of an art journal if you love using that type of expression.  (This exercise will result in a very visual piece of journaling no matter whether you enjoy journaling with words or pictures more.)  It will be helpful to read through the next section on how to build your mind-map in its entirety before you start.

Ready to begin?   

1.  Draw a circle in the center of the paper and write the topic that you decided upon Tuesday in the circle.  The circle marks your starting point – the mind-map builds from the center out. 

2.  Now, what words come to mind when you consider this topic?  Draw a line from the center circle and write your word on it.  Do this as many times as you need – until you run out of words or you have the idea that you have enough to work with.  It is very common for our brains, normally teeming with words, to go blank as we look at that page with the circle on it.  To get everything rolling again, and using your topic, use the following prompts:
a.       Think about what word/phrase might express the opposite of your topic (antonyms)
b.      What word/phrase might be different, but express the same idea (synonyms)
c.       Is there a person who embodies this topic – write their name
d.      List the ways you personally express the word/phrase.
e.      What do you wish were different from what is currently true about your topic.
f.        What do you believe God says about the topic?
g.       What have you been doing to change that hasn’t worked.
h.      What have you been doing to change that has worked
i.         Are there any new words ideas that you haven’t thought of before?  Write them.
j.        Are there any random thoughts or ideas coming?  Write them as well…
                 you can mark them with a little “r” for random for later consideration.

My first "ring" for my mind-map of the original "Finding Sanctuary" course...notice I didn't write on top of most lines, just made them arrows, and when you see the final view, you can tell that I didn't even make arrows of all the lines...and I'm pretty messy, but that is the beauty of the tool...no precise thought, just capturing the mind's threads...also notice I had 12 original threads from the word 'sanctuary'.
3. You may find that you need to expand on some of the first ring of words – or if writing a word results in a new string of ideas, you want to connect those ideas to the word that triggered them.  Simply draw another line from the one you are expanding on and write the new idea/word there.  Do this as many times as you need to follow a thought trail.  Soon you will see a branching pattern emerge.  

Here is a good view of most of my map...you can see all the branching.  You can also see how some branches were running into the branch beside it - no problem, just make another line going in another direction.
Just a close up of how I did the branching - remember there is no "right" or "wrong" - the goal is to get the information out of your mind and onto paper, making note of the connections in this simple way.

We will do more to develop these branches in the next post, but for now we just want to capture what is tumbling about in your brain about the topic you have been lead to…

I'll share my "fear at the root of anger" mind-map, but it turns out that I have two center circles, fear and anger, and I didn't want that to cause confusion for anyone!

Blessings!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Journey Begins - 1 ... {Finding Sanctuary}

Photo Credit - this is what I "see" as my journey's path and end...tho' I know some findings will undoubtedly hold the same "ugly to beauty" shell that a seed has...


Peace.  Calm.  Rest.  Quiet.  Shelter.  Safety.  Worship.  Centered.  Balance.

These are all words that come to mind when someone mentions the word "sanctuary" around me.  I want these things in my life...sometimes these qualities are evident in abundance and are overflowing; sometimes worship and a sense of peace only are flowing in that deep place within - where the Holy Spirit dwells, offering a current, a flow, that carries me through whatever immediate crisis is at hand where these other desires are nowhere to be found!

What defines "sanctuary" for you?  What is blocking that from manifesting in your life?  What can you do to cultivate more of what creates "sanctuary" for you?  These and other explorations around the idea of "sanctuary" are what this Lenten season for me...we will be following the "Finding Sanctuary" class in this exploration, so join along if you wish.  Link up in comments if you want to share, or just follow.

For myself specifically, I am going deeper with the Lord into an issue that I thought was taken care of -  and now He is showing me there is more to uncover, and not what I thought/expected either.

Today's Assignment:

Spend 5 minutes journaling using a "Free Writing" style (no punctuation, no concern for proper grammar, just capturing the "stream of consciousness" coming from your brain).  Let the topic of this journaling be "What does the Holy Spirit want to explore with me over Lent".  You probably have already had some ideas/promptings in this direction...

For those who are more visual, maybe an art journal page is emerging that speaks to this topic or an abstract type collage, mixed media piece, or painting is speaking a direction...

You don't need to have anything solved or figured out at the end of this exercise - but you only need to be able to perceive a topic, and then be able to verbally declare it...you see, the Lenten exploration journey is about EXPLORING the direction God is leading you...and with Him, exploring around the dim paths, the hidden scenic views, the surprise just around the bend, and even cutting through overgrown areas to create a new road is a joyful, creative adventure!

My topic?  Over the last several months, God has helped me see that my deepest anger is rooted in fear - we {myself and God} will be exploring these roots, these hidden (to me) areas with the goal of rooting out the fear once and for all.  {italicized portion is my topic}.

Can't you sense the story here?  What has been happening in current life that there is anger about?  How I know it isn't healthy?  What I suspect I might find?  What I already know about healthy vs. unhealthy anger (afterall, that is a pretty basic lesson in the arena of counseling!)   But all you need after today is that one sentence that tells what the journey is going to be about...

Tomorrow I will show an exercise that we can use to show the direction to begin exploring in...are you excited?