This is Part 2 of Debbie Sellmann’s testimony about how she is learning to go to Jesus when she is upset. We ended with Debbie telling us how something has changed. Enjoy! If you did not read Part 1, click here
How Do We Seek God? Part 2
by Debbie Sellmann
But something has changed. I am learning what to do with these unpredictable moments.
What I’m learning starts with recognizing that I’ve been triggered when I sense that I’m feeling alone and not relational in the moment. How do I recognize this? The big clue is that the emotions I’m feeling are “bigger” than present circumstances warrant. When I realize this, I can know that there must be something that needs healing here.
I can also know a truth that is the opposite of the lie I bought about myself: I’m not suddenly an immature Christian going off about something without any rhyme or reason. This is so powerful because then I can stand against the toxic shame messages that come when it feels like “I’m blowing it again.”
This gives me a new perspective. Instead of feeling defeated, unprotected and insecure, I can know a very simple and powerful truth: God is in the healing business and I need some. This can keep me from going down the toxic shame route, where I start to spiral and it takes awhile for me to come back and be relational in the present moment.
When I know I’m not relational and I’m feeling alone, I can also recognize that my relational circuits are turned off. Why is this important? I need my relational circuits turned on to sense God’s presence and to hear His voice. I also need my relational circuits turned on to relate well with others around me in the moment.
The first practical thing I’m learning to do when I realize I am triggered and my relational circuits are off is to reset my relational circuits through a quick exercise where I gently tap on both sides of my chest and say a verse like: “whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You, O Lord.” If this sounds kind of “out there” to you, it did to me too, but it works! Something about tapping on the veins right there and reciting the verse brings me back to being “all here” in the moment. I’ve noticed when I forget to do this first, that when I ask God questions, I don’t hear anything back.
Then, when “I’m back,” I want to know God’s presence, because I’ve been feeling alone. I can do this by remembering a time when I sensed His presence in my life or by appreciating God. (For more details about this, please take a look inside the Share Emmanuel booklet which you can order from www.thrivetoday.org )
Now that I can sense His presence, I’m ready to seek God in the moment. This is when I ask, “Where are You, Lord, in this ____________ (present moment circumstance)?” And then I listen. Sometimes He gives me an actual picture, and I can see Him. Other times new thoughts come, and I hear Him.
Once I see Him in the present moment circumstance, it’s really helpful to me to remember to ask Him, “What do You want me to know about ___________ (present moment circumstance)?” This is when He can share His perspective on what’s going on with me in this circumstance. This is the opposite of me “handling it myself.” This is me getting on the same page with what God is up to in my life right now.
Sometimes, when the pain is really big, it’s a good thing to see if He wants to take me to a memory for healing. Maybe whatever is happening in the present moment is very similar to a situation I’ve already been in that was hurtful to me. If I haven’t found where He is in that memory, it will continue to hurt, continue to pop up to the surface when something similar happens in the present moment. This is why I sometimes ask, “Lord, where do You want to take me (to a memory in my past) that needs Your healing?”
He has begun this process of healing and teaching me in the present moment as I’ve learned how to seek Him in them. While I still never know when those moments might happen, I’ve added a new truth about them: that while I still don’t like them happening, they are moments for healing & growth.