This week we're talking all about self-trust—how we develop it, and why it's so crucial to the health of our relationships with other people. We also talk about how trusting God is a process that develops in the context of healthy relationships.
Here's what we cover:
1. The surprising foundation for trust
2. The role of attachment
3. 3 relationships that contribute to trust
4. What to do if you are too trusting of others
5. A first step toward building self-trust
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Episode 54: Can I Pray My Anxiety Away?
Episode 23: Am I wounded or am I sinful?
Episode 51: The 12 Common Thinking Traps
Boundaries For Your Soul by Kimberly Miller and Alison Cook
The Best of You by Alison Cook
While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this podcast and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this podcast are for informational purposes only.
The Best of You Podcast:
With Dr. Alison Cook
Episode 55: What Does the Bible Really Say?
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Hey, everyone. I'm Dr. Alison, and I'm so glad you're here to discover what brings out the best of you. This podcast is all about breaking free from painful patterns, mending the past, and discovering our true selves in God. I can't wait to get started as we learn together how to become the best version of who we are with God's help.
Alison: Hey everyone, and welcome back to this week's episode of The Best of You Podcast. I'm so glad you're here for this series that we're doing – What Does the Bible Really Say? Where we're covering some of these hard questions. Where there's been some misunderstanding or some misconstrued messages that aren't really that helpful to us, as we learn to navigate what it means to be a fully embodied human, an image-bearing human.
People who bear the image of God, who are given a life to live. We have a lot of work to do to engage in the process of healing, engage in the process of becoming a whole person this side of heaven. And confronting some of these church messages that have encouraged us to bypass the work of becoming more fully the people that God made. And last week we talked about – "Can I pray my anxiety away?" We talked about how that idea of either trying to bypass anxiety and just pray it away or, frankly, just shutting anxiety down with medication.
Although medication, certainly, can be, incredibly, helpful in treating certain forms of anxiety. That neither of those really gets at this reality, that we all will deal with anxiety from time to time. Some of us will deal with it more than others. Some of us will deal with it in specific ways that need care from clinicians, from therapists, from psychiatrists.
Some of us will deal with it as it relates to situational events or traumatic events. Regardless, we will all deal with anxiety. And as Curtis Chang talked about, in episode 54, we have to find a way through anxiety. And we walk through anxiety as we, simultaneously, understand the hope that coexist side by side with anxiety. And, so, often we need other people to help us through that process.
We are not disembodied souls who live in isolation, who live in our own respective silos. We are created to live as autonomous beings who are, simultaneously, in connection with other human beings. With other God-created beings. We need each other and, especially, when we're dealing with something like anxiety, we need to be embodied. We need to move into our own bodies, and we need to be attuned to, through the presence of loving others, of other bodies that show up in an embodied way to help hold some of that anxiety with us.
This is true for shame; we don't heal shame in isolation. When we experience shame we need the presence of embodied others to help us reduce the impact of shame. Remove it from our nervous systems. There are so many ways in which these various things that we struggle with as humans who live in a broken world. Where there is going to be suffering, where there is going to be hard times.
Where we have to begin this process of naming what is happening without shame and walking through it instead of bypassing it or spiritualizing it and say, "Hey, I can just pray this away." Which deprives us of the opportunity of seeking out deeper intimacy, deeper connections with other fellow sufferers, fellow humans, who buy their embodied presence.
When we name something, when we are able to say to a spouse, to a friend, to a therapist, to a pastor, to a few trusted people, "Hey, I need to name that this is what's happening inside of me, I'm dealing with anxiety. I don't need you to pray it a way. But my naming it with you and in the presence of your loving empathy, your loving compassion. The fact that you love me and are with me in this, as I walk through it, is what helps me suffer a little bit less. It's what helps me suffer this a little bit better, a little bit more lightly."
This is what I want you to understand through this series with some of these hard questions. We're not saying that we don't need spiritual resources. We're not saying we don't need God. We're not saying we don't need other people. We're saying there's a nuanced approach, a more holistic, embodied approach, to how we deal with these challenges.
So today we're going to tackle this topic of can I really trust myself?
Should I trust myself?
And if I should trust myself, how do I begin to trust myself?
What if I don't trust myself? Because, in fact, I have led myself into relationships, into situations, into decisions, that haven't proven out very well for me, number one. And, number two, maybe, I've been taught that I shouldn't trust myself. That my heart is deceitful and wicked, and I actually shouldn't listen to myself. I shouldn't listen to my own instincts, to my own wisdom, that I can't trust myself at all. How do I make sense of this? That's what we're going to try to piece through, today.
So the first thing I want to point out is there are two extremes in this conversation. Many of us, not all of us, but many of us if you grew up in any church environment or church culture.
You may have been taught, explicitly, that you can't trust yourself. That you shouldn't trust yourself, and a lot of times that is based on a passage from Jeremiah 17:9. Where Jeremiah says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." And I talk about this specific passage in both Boundaries for Your Soul, Kim and I talk about it, and I talk about it in The Best of You.
But I want you to bear in mind, right at the top of this episode, that while Jeremiah warned against the human heart. That it can be deceitful, that it can be, desperately, wicked. This is the very same prophet who just a few chapters later, in Jeremiah 31, prophesies about the coming of the Holy Spirit and he says, "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts."
So the very cure for the heart being fallen, missing the mark, being broken, whatever word you want to use. We talk about this back in episode 23, where I talked about "Am I wounded or am I sinful?" And the many nuances of what it means to be a human being who lives in a fallen state. Where we are imperfect, we miss the mark, our hearts do lead us astray. We don't have the fullness, the completeness, of what it means to ascertain reality and discern it in a, perfectly, whole way.
We are limited. We miss things, all the time. Our minds do play tricks on us. Again, we talked about this in episode 51 on all the thinking traps that we fall into. That our minds are capable of tricking us and playing tricks on us. Our emotions, while valid, don't always give us the most objective take on what's happening in front of us.
They're informed by our prior experiences. There are all these filters that we've inherited, that we've learned to put up, for whatever reason, that cause us to perceive reality in inaccurate ways. This is just part of what it means to be human.
So Jeremiah is not wrong, that we cannot completely trust our heart, our mind, our bodies. There are ways in which they're going to misinterpret data, and a couple of other things are true. Two things can be true at the same time. Jeremiah is saying that through the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus, we gain access to the Spirit of God. What prior to Christ was external, we could only connect to God through the external law, suddenly, becomes internalized.
We receive the Holy Spirit. John 14 talks about the Holy Spirit coming to live within us. Jesus says, "I will ask the Father and He will give you another helper to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. You know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you. That's from John 14:16-17.
So the Spirit comes to dwell in the hearts of all those who believe in God. God responds to our human brokenness by transforming our souls from the inside out. And Ezekiel underscores this idea, Ezekiel 36:26, where he says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
And, so, there's all this nuance around this one verse that gets tossed around, all the time, as a way to tell us we shouldn't trust ourselves. It's so much more complex than that, and that's what I want to try to tease out a little bit with you today.[00:11:29] < Music >
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So, number one, what we take from the scriptural basis is when you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, you have access to truth, there is a truth compass. There is a truth agent inside of you, "The truth shall set you free." If you think about that, that's really powerful. There's a way where you can begin to align yourself with the truth.
The truth about yourself, the truth about God, and the truth about the world around you. This is not a one-and-done thing, and this is where we get tripped up. We think, "Well, if you're saved, you have the Holy Spirit, you're all set. You're good to go."
This is not the case we now have access to the spirit of truth, inside of us. We can ascertain the truth. We can discern the truth. But this is a process we will engage for every single minute of every single day for the rest of our lives.
There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, we're complicated beings. God is complex, other people are complex. So this is a journey of going deeper and deeper into what is true.
"What is true about me, God?"
"What do I need to know about myself?" That's a whole lifetime and that's, again, what I always say, "Life is never boring when you're living in partnership with God's Spirit. "There's nothing I have to fear. God, help me, throughout the days of my life, help me understand more and more about myself, about how you made me.
About how I function in the world, about where I'm wounded and I still need to be healed. About where I have some really cool gifts that I still need to develop. About what's going on in front of me right now." That's a journey that we will be on for the rest of our lives.
Same is true about getting to know God and learning what's true about God. It's not a one-and-done thing. It's like, "Man, the more I get to know God, the more I'm like, 'Wow, where's a whole lot more to know. There's an infinite amount of things to know.'"
This idea of being a truth seeker, one who aligns one's life to the truth of who I am, of who God is, and, then, you add in the variable of other people. Learning to discern and understand the truth of who these people are in your life, that you love. Think about your spouse, your kids, your friends, your family, people that are hard for you, trying to get out what is the truth.
What is going on in this situation?
How do I understand this person? And if you've been married for a long time, you will understand what I'm saying here. You can live with somebody a really long time and know them really well, and at a certain point and be like, "Oh, my gosh, I cannot believe I'm just understanding this about you."
And that may come to you as they start to heal more and more layers of them open up. Or it may come as you start to get a name for something you didn't realize. It's like a giant puzzle and suddenly a piece of that puzzle comes in and you realize, "Oh, my gosh, this explains so much."
I see this all the time with people that I work with. Where suddenly folks who have been living together a long time, and operating under the assumption that someone maybe has a little bit of a temper or has an anger problem. And, then, suddenly, it's revealed, "Oh, my gosh, this person has been dealing with an undiagnosed learning disorder. A different learning style."
Maybe somebody finds out they have a hidden addiction they'd never put their fingers on. Or that somebody has an unnamed trauma, that's never been brought to the surface. And, suddenly, you start to re-filter the story of your life with that person, through that different lens, and you start to see a fuller picture.
So this is what I mean by when the spirit of truth comes to live within us. We are able to discern what is true about ourselves, about God, and about the world around us.
And while that is a process, that is not a once-and-done thing. It's not an all of a sudden "I'm good to go." That is not how it works. It's a process of ever deepening circles of becoming more and more holy, fully inhabiting the truth of who I am, and as we do that we begin to trust ourselves.
And as we do that, we begin to trust ourselves. And as we do that, suddenly, we're starting to trust that we know how to discern reality. We know how to discern falsehood and deceptions in ourselves. We learn how to discern where we've been covering up something that we don't want to face.
We learn how to discern where we haven't been living out of that homeostasis. Out of that calm nervous system place. Where we've been living out of a fight/flight response or we've been living out of a coping strategy. Or we've been living out of an addiction and, suddenly, we're able to discern that. We're able to name that, we're able to tell ourselves the truth about what's happening inside our own bodies, inside our own souls.
We start to trust ourselves. We start to say, "Man, I get it. I know when something is off and I've got the skills to hunt that down, to figure that out. To find out what it is. What is at the root of what's not right in my soul. Something's not right in my soul. There's something that's going on. I'm acting in ways I don't understand, Lord, help me get to the root of that."
We start to trust ourselves. And guess what the more we do that work inside of ourselves, the more we become so discerning when it comes to other people. The more we trust ourselves when cues go off in our body that say "Something isn't right there."
"I don't think they're seeing this correctly."
"I don't think their accusation of me is fair."
"I don't think that their treatment of me is about me, I think, it's about them."
"I think there's a toxicity in them that they're trying to put onto me, and I don't think it's about me."
We start to trust ourselves in our discernment. Or, conversely, we start to say, "I notice that that person always shows up for me. Whatever they say to me, there's something in it that brings life to me. There's something in it that always helps me. It's not that they're perfect, but that helps me feel a little clearer, a little more true, a little closer to God. A little bit more grounded in myself. I think that is someone I can trust. We start to trust our instincts, our intuition, the cues our body sends us about other people.
As we've done this work of pealing back the layers of wounds, of pride, of deception, of all the things that we have in our own souls, and we learn to trust ourselves to do the work. To, first and foremost, tell ourselves the truth about ourselves. Both in our glory and what is good, and beautiful, and magnificent about us, and in those areas where we are missing the mark.
Where we are deceiving ourselves. Where we are wanting to hide something out of shame that we do not want anyone to know.
The more we do that work, and we tell ourselves the truth about ourselves, the more we trust ourselves. When we start to discern and notice the truth about other people, these things all go together.
So the bottom line of all of that is this, we absolutely have to learn to trust ourselves. And it starts with having enough safety in your body through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through a lived sense, at least, a glimmer of a lived sense that you are beloved of God. We have to have that safety first, and if you think about a baby, this all gets back to attachment.
A baby first needs to feel that safety, that soothing of being securely attached to a parent, to a caregiver. And in the context of that safety, that baby begins to explore the world around her. And through that exploration, she bumps up against the reality of her own limits, of the limits of other people. But that happens in the context of secure attachment of safety.
And, so, as we get glimmers and glimpses of safety through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through a connection to God, the one who loves us. And as we grow in getting glimmers and glimpses of safety. As we connect to a few other people, we are able to embark on this work of becoming safe for ourselves. Which means learning to see ourselves as we really are in our strengths, in our beauty, and in some of our blind spots, and through that process we begin to trust ourselves.
Because we trust ourselves that we can see what's true about ourselves. Even if it means seeing that what's true about ourselves in this moment is, "Oh, my gosh, I've got some wounds there, and because of those wounds I don't trust people very much. Or because of those wounds there, my nervous system, sometimes, gets activated and tells me not to trust things that I think might be trustworthy."
So hear what I'm saying here, this is very nuanced. That as we experience a tiny bit of safety with God, with other people, we start to experience enough safety, in ourselves, that we can trust ourselves to name what is, actually, happening. Even if that first step of trust is to name, "I don't know how to trust myself very well."
It's a three-part process, we need all three of these and they go together. You learn to trust yourself through developing, trusting relationships with God and with other people. You learn to trust others, through developing a trusting relationship with yourself and with God. And you learn to trust God through developing a trusting relationship with yourself and with others. It's very trinitarian. We need all three to really come up with a whole picture of what it means to feel safe.
These two words are closely linked. We need a critical mass of safety. Enough safety to venture a risk of trust. "There's enough safety here that I'm going to risk a little bit of trust in this other person.
Which means I'm going to risk trusting myself to course-correct if I detect something untrustworthy." So learning to trust ourselves is a process. It's a process that involves bringing God in and bringing other people in.
So I want to pause here and ask you a question, as you're listening. Which one of these relationships is harder for you to trust?
Is it hardest for you to trust yourself?
Is it hardest for you to trust others?
Or is it hardest for you to trust God?
And think about that, for a second, because it's an important cue for where you want to start on your journey to healing. If you are someone who struggles to trust God, and you want to love God, you believe in God. But maybe parts of you are just like, "I don't trust God."
"I've been disappointed by God."
"'ve been hurt by God."
"My life has been really hard."
"There is a lot of brokenness in my life and God hasn't really come through for me. He hasn't really picked up the pieces, and I don't know if I do trust God, anymore."
Name that, just name that. Get curious about it. There's no shame in that. You may need to learn to rebuild trust in God through experiencing safety with other people. Through embodied image of God bearers.
So, for example, there's a vignette that I tell in chapter 10 of The Best of You. About a woman who was really struggling to trust God, but she experienced safety in a few other people. And I say this line in the book, which is "Glimpses of love and safety in other people give you glimpses of what God is like."
So if you're somebody who struggles because the way that God was represented to you is really crummy, or you're really mad at God. As you get glimpses of goodness, of beauty, of love, of what it feels like; to be seen, to be known, to be understood in other humans, you are getting a glimpse of what God is like. And that may be hard for you to make that leap, but I just want to name that. As we learn to trust in our relationships with other people, we learn to repair trust in our relationship with God.
Now if you answer that question saying, "I trust God quite a bit, I trust myself quite a bit, but I do not trust other people." What I would say to you is are you really, finally, attuning to your own body. Because while I will say and agree that, yes, a lot of people will let you down.
A lot of people will betray you. What's true is that we are able to trust others to the degree at which we are able to trust ourselves. So I think those two types of trust are, intimately, linked. If you've had experiences that have led you to believe that others aren't trustworthy, that makes a lot of sense. It makes sense that you are cautious to trust. But as you are looking at that, part of the solution to that is learning to trust this inner compass that God has given you.
Now, don't mishear me, I'm not saying you should just learn to trust other people. What I'm saying is you will learn to discern trustworthiness in others. As you trust yourself to take small, brave, steps to test your relationships with others.
There's a difference between saying, "I don't trust other people."
And saying, "I take very cautious steps, a very measured approach, to discerning who I will and won't let into my life." I really pay attention to my nervous system. I really pay attention to red flags. I pay attention to yellow flags.
In fact, yellow flags, to me, I treat as red flags. But I will tell you that a few people have made it through all of my filters to where I will say that person is trustworthy. And where I've got to grow is maybe that gray area of folks who aren't, necessarily, toxic and aren't, necessarily, harmful, but maybe I need to learn to trust them a little bit. Which means I have to learn to trust myself to set those boundaries.
It all comes back to, "Do I trust myself to enter into this relationship far enough to the point where if there's something that isn't safe or something that doesn't feel right, even if it's not toxic. That I will do what I need to do to take care of myself. That still goes back to the ability to trust yourself to self-regulate in that situation.
Now, if you are someone who says, "I tend to trust other people but I don't trust myself." And I would put myself in this category. Early on I trusted God pretty easily, I'm pretty trusting of others. But I didn't know how to trust myself to pull back when I needed to pull back.
So I would outsource my trust and just say, "Well, I just have to assume that other people are trustworthy because I don't know how to protect myself. And I'm going to hope to get lucky that other people, for the most part, have my best interests at heart."
Either way, whether you trust other people too easily or whether you aren't trusting enough. The truth is the solution goes all the way back to inside your own body, your own soul, in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
In the first case, if you are not trusting of others, you've been hurt. You do not think people have your best interests at heart. You are wary of other people, and that has kept you from having close relationships. The solution to that is how do you work with yourself, work with a therapist, partner with God, to take small, brave, steps to test new relationships and that has to start within you. That has to start by establishing trusting norms within you.
That has to start with you saying, "I need to open up a little bit more to some girlfriends, to a man, to another human, and that's terrifying to me because I don't trust people. So what I'm going to have to do is work a process of taking small, strategic, brave, steps to putting out a little bit of vulnerability, not the whole thing a little bit of bait."
I used to use this metaphor, it's like you put a little bit of bread crumbs out and see if that person picks up that breadcrumb. What do you need to see in that other person, that will allow you to stay with them just a little bit. Is it that you need the other person to go first, on their vulnerability? To put their own little breadcrumb out, and then you're like, "Okay, I'll meet you there."
Then maybe next time you share a breadcrumb. You say, "I'll share a little breadcrumb because I want to meet them."
And then you test it can they take that?
Can they meet you there?
Can they join you?
Can they hear you or is it going to be all about them? Or are they going to do something that scares you off? You put a little bit of breadcrumb out and see how they handle that, and then you discern your next step. But all of that means you have to be inhabiting your own body to both take the risk to put yourself out there, in a small strategic way. Maybe you agree to go to coffee; you go to the coffee, you don't commit to anything beyond that, and you commit to yourself that after that coffee you're going to check in with yourself. "How did that feel?"
"Did that feel like someone who was interested in me?"
"Do I want to have a second coffee with that person?"
"Did they only talk about themselves or did they ask me a question?" And then maybe you have that second coffee, and this one you maybe share something a little more vulnerable, not too vulnerable, but a little more vulnerable, and you see how they handle it. And maybe you challenge yourself to say a no to set a boundary, early on.
Because you want to see is this someone who, if I show up in my authentic self, they receive me there, they meet me there, and they honor that and they respect me. Or is this someone when I invite them to do something I like to do, and I take a risk, and don't just only do the things they want to do, can they meet me there?
Can we walk into this, strategically, giving them a shot to see if they can prove themselves trustworthy? That requires you to trust yourself first to say, "I trust myself, that if I see a red or yellow flag, I'm going to course-correct." And if this is new to you, do this with the support of a trained professional who has been taught how to be a trustworthy place. That's really what trained therapists are.
Those in these expert roles have been trained to, at the very least, be trustworthy people. Where you can anchor yourself in that relationship as you take steps to try to learn how to trust other people.
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Now, if you are someone who is too trusting of other people, you are also disconnected from your own self. Both of those situations require you to reconnect into your own God-given self. So if you're too trusting, you've outsourced your trust. You're just blindly hoping others have your best interests at heart, and you're likely, at times, being taken advantage of.
You're likely, at times, feeling walked on, feeling like a doormat. Feeling like, "Wait a minute, actually, they're not having my best interests at heart. Maybe they're a really good person, but like anybody, they're taking more of me than I have to give because I'm not putting the boundaries on it."
And, so, you have to, again, do the work of going inside yourself, inside your own body. Paying attention to the cues your body is sending you and saying, "Hey, wait a minute, why is it hard for me in this situation with this person that I trust to insert my own voice."
To say "I do trust this person and also they are fallible, they are a human. They will miss something about me. They will misunderstand something about me. They will get busy in their own lives and neglect me, potentially." I can trust myself that when I notice that and that hurts. That I can learn speak up for myself and say, "Hey, what's happening here?"
I can put a name to that and say, "Hey, even though I trust this person, something is going on in this situation that I don't like, that's hurting me." Or if you trust other people too much with your own decisions. You may wind up taking advice that later you realize, "I don't think that was the best advice. I actually think I should have trusted my own instinct there.
That in that situation, here's, actually, what I needed to do." And the first step, in beginning to heal from that is to name it and be really honest with yourself, "You know, in that situation, I know that friend had my best interests at heart. I know they wanted to care but that was not the best advice. That was not the advice I needed to take. I knew I needed to do that differently." I have to name that.
I've got to figure out how to do that differently next time. And you have to notice what did that feel like in my body, in that moment, when I had this feeling inside of, "Hmm, I get what you're saying, but I don't think that's the right direction."
So you have to go down a path of inquiry, of doing that detective work of, at the very front end of that, noticing "What's happening inside my body?"
"Am I just disassociating or am I aware that inside when they're giving me that advice, I am uncomfortable, or I'm not sure, or I'm just so quick to want to follow it. What is that about? Should I stop, for a minute, and take a few days and really think about whether I should follow that advice?" It starts with scaling back that impulse to only go to other people. To only look at other people's opinions, that external locus of control. Putting all of your discernment outside of you onto other people.
What would it feel like to first go internally and say, "What do I think is needed in this situation?" And if that's really hard for you to do, that's a really important area for you to explore. And what if I first say, "What do I want to do in this situation?" And, again, if that's uncomfortable for you, that would be an area for you to explore with a therapist. What happened there?
Where is that disconnect? Where you don't feel attuned to your own thoughts, to your own discernment, to your own nervous system, to your own wisdom. That it feels uncomfortable for you to discern and consider your own opinion, your own thinking, about the way you should proceed.
So all of this goes back to learning to attune to your own inner landscape. Whether you are someone who wants to learn how to trust other people more, or whether you are someone who actually is very curious about the fact that it's hard for you to trust yourself at all. And that you've outsourced your trust too much, in such a way that is starting to impact your relationships, your decision making, and your sense of autonomy in your own life.
Here are some steps to practice, regardless of which category you find yourself in. Number one is simply the practice of self-awareness. You have to start to notice your own inner landscape. When faced with any decision. When faced with any relationship challenge, "What do I feel in my body as it relates to this person?"
"What do my emotions suggest about the situation? Are they mostly negative? Are they ambivalent? Am I conflicted? Am I doubting myself?" Just start there. Just start naming that, "I'm really ambivalent, I'm really conflicted.
I can't figure this out, the reason I want to go to this other person is I just have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings about it." Naming that is a first step towards self-awareness. You're attuning to what's happening inside of your body.
Now, a really good friend or a therapist will help you begin to piece apart those conflicting thoughts and feelings, but that's a start. What does my nervous system feel?
"Where is there tension in my body, as I consider this situation?" You don't have to solve it, at this point, but become more aware of yourself. Self-awareness is a foundation for building trust in yourself.
Number two is to connect to the Holy Spirit within you in that process. We talk about this all through in both Boundaries for Your Soul and The Best of You. That the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, not just in other people around you. And, so, as you begin to become aware of your own confusion. The chaos, maybe, that you feel inside, the self-doubt that you feel inside.
Maybe even anxiety that you feel about making a decision about something and you just, desperately, want someone else to tell you what to do, or you are stuck because you can't trust anybody else. You actually wish you could bounce it off somebody. Whatever it is, you begin to go, "Lord, here's what's so interesting, I'm really anxious about this. Can you help me understand that?" And you begin to build trust with the anxious part of you.
Now, again, I understand sometimes you got to make decisions in life and you may still have to go, "I've got to talk to somebody else about it." And that's fine, but you are, at least, taking a step toward. That my first go-to is I cannot solve this problem, I feel so anxious about it. It just stirs up chaos in my mind. I'm going to name that and then I'm going to invite God into that.
"God, help me understand that part of me."
Now, when we are in a state of fight/flight, when we are stressed about something, that's often when our nervous system is activated. We sometimes need to get ourselves into a calmer body state. Where we feel calm. Where we feel that sense of homeostasis. Where our nervous system isn't activated and when we're in that place, in our bodies, of calm.
And, so, well, how you get there is you begin to notice. "When I'm in nature."
"When I'm jogging."
"When I'm listening to music."
"When I have a minute of calm near a beautiful place, in the morning, I notice my body is calmer." That's when you're more in a place of trusting yourself. You're in tune with the best of yourself, with your calm, clear, creative self. Begin to notice what that feels like. What does that feel like?
When do you feel that?
And when you're in that place, what might that feel like if you were to approach another human, or a problem that you face, from that state of calm. Can you begin to bring that sense of calm that you feel with you into a conversation, with another person or into a situation you have to show up for.
So often we know how to find that calm apart from other people. We go into our prayer closet, we calm our nervous system, we get right with God, we feel clear. And then we open the door, walk out of the closet, leave all that calm there, and then go back into the business of just differing, and defaulting, and deflecting to everybody around us. So we get that minute of calm, and then we just walk out and go back to our old coping tactics.
What would it be like to take that you, that in the privacy of that spacious place, is where you feel that calm, that Holy Spirit presence, and open the door and walk into that conversation with that other person deeply connected to your own sense of self.
Practice that, imagine that. What would that feel like to center yourself in yourself, and then practice going to the breakfast table and saying hi to your kids, saying hi to your spouse, without leaving yourself behind, this is the goal. This is the goal to carry that you with you into your relationships with other people. Not to stop moving into relationship with other people, but also not to leave yourself out of that equation.
This is what it means to begin to bring a trusting, safe, embodied, relationship with yourself into every interaction you have throughout the rest of your day. It's an amazing way to live, and I believe it's actually the embodied, trusting, dynamic relationship God longs for us to have with ourselves, with others, and with the God who made us.[00:11:29] < Outro >
Alison: Thank you for joining me for this week's episode of The Best of You. It would mean so much if you'd take a moment to subscribe. You can go to Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you listen to podcasts and click the Plus or Follow button. That will ensure you don't miss an episode and it helps get the word out to others. While you're there, I'd love it if you'd leave your five-star review. I look forward to seeing you back here next Thursday. And remember, as you become the best of who you are, you honor God, you heal others, and you stay true to your God-given self.
John 14:16-17 – "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
Jeremiah 17:19 – "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
John 8:32 – "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jeremiah 31:33 – "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts."
Ezekiel 36:26 – "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
25th May 2023