God is Wise Mind- Part Two

Read Part One

The dogs and I wandered around the neighborhood and it became very clear that I was unbalanced- in Emotion Mind. There was a threat that I might have to return to a toxic environment at which I felt that I would surely relapse and then, all of the work I had been doing to deal with my grief and depression would be for nothing. But as I continued breathing, the thoughts flew as fast as I could think them. I slowed my breath even more, switching my exhale from “Wise” to “Jesus.” And my inhale from “Mind” to “Praise.”

During this centering prayer, I was reminded of a song from Casting Crowns Lifesong Album called “Praise you in the Storm”  and juggling the two leashes I managed to tap my phone and find the song.

This is one song that I clung (cling) to in the darkest hours of my grief. How could God take away my son? And even though He did, when will I get any relief from this sadness? It begins by telling God that by now, it seemed He should have come down and taken away this grief. But because we don’t know what God has in store for us, we should praise Him mightily, even while we are tormented by how the world is treating us, or the rotten deck that we’ve been dealt. It is a reminder that He is our strength in time of trouble, even if that trouble is worse than we could ever imagine.

“And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That You are who You are, no matter where I am…”

Even though this problem I was currently having was small compared to where I was when my son first died, I could hear God whisper to me and the ending verses of the song rang true to me as He helped me to see that I was jumping to conclusions and plowing many steps ahead of where I was.

“I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth”

Soon, an action plan begins to form, and the dogs pull on their leashes as I stop to make a list in my phone. Throughout the walk, I put together three or four things that I could do to get more information about the situation;
Make some calls,
Consult my Dr.
#1 Pray

That last one came in LOUD and CLEAR, and I am grateful that DBT helped me cope in that situation and many others. When emotions are running so hot there is a tendency to just do something to feel better. (More about this is Emotion Leveling coming soon). Lots of times those things we do can be destructive- to others and to ourselves. And when those things have been done and the dust is settled in the aftermath we can find ourselves in an even worse situation. <you can insert the self-harming behavior of your choice>. In my case, the alternative to DBT coping skills was usually alcohol- lots of it, or slot machines. Put both of those together and it was an atomic bomb. I hurt my family by spending money we didn’t have to spend, and I hurt myself and my health through abuse of alcohol.
“And so, my children, listen to me,
For all who follow my ways are joyful.
Listen to my instruction and be wise
Don’t ignore it!” Proverbs 8:32-33 NLT

God is Wise Mind- Part One

God loves to spend time with us! We can’t be Martha’s (See What is Mindfulness and Where is God in it? Posted May 26, 2018 ) and be too busy for him. Mindfulness can quiet our minds, so we can hear him speak to us. Being mindful and not multi-tasking allows us to see what God wants us to do- his opportunities for us.
Isn’t prayer spending time with God? Yes! Which is why God is telling us to be in a state of constant prayer. He gave us the Holy Spirit, so we would have Him with us always. In my mind, when I pray I am mindful and when He answers, it is God as my “Wise Mind.”

“God, all at once you turned on a floodlight for me!
You are the revelation light in my darkness,
And in your brightness, I can see the path ahead.”
Psalm 18:28 TPT

In DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy), we have three states of mind; Reasonable Mind, Emotion Mind and Wise Mind.

Wise Mind is:
The Wisdom within each person.
• Seeing the value of both emotion and reason
• Bringing the left brain and the right brain together
• The Middle Path

When in Reasonable Mind, it’s just “the facts ma’am.” The facts are in charge along with reason and logic. The great thing about Reasonable Mind is it can lead you through a “to do” list of really good ideas – as long as what you are reasonably thinking about really is FACT. Do your emotions fit the problem?

Many times, we are emotional about something that happened, and it is because we are interpreting the prompting event in a way that might be contrary to what really happened. (Read Drama!) Next time you’re upset, try to describe what happened with just the facts without judgements or assumptions and then determine if it would be helpful to review and evaluate your thoughts. Get in the habit of challenging your thoughts and emotions. Think about all the wrong decisions you might make based on assumptions or judging.

Opposite of this, Emotion Mind is when your feelings, moods and urges can lead you to do or say things. Emotion Mind works great in a lot of situations like when you are comforting a friend who is hurting. I probably don’t need to tell you when Emotion Mind can be unhelpful– I think about the teenaged drama my girls used to engage in!
You can see how the middle path, being able to see both logic and feelings, both creative and analysis can be beneficial. I believe that “The Wisdom within each person” is God. After all, God made us; every fiber and bone, every blood cell and brain cell was fashioned by him. Therefore, it is my interpretation that Wise Mind is God. When I consult Wise Mind, I am praying in a stream of consciousness.
A while ago, I got a voicemail that I wasn’t expecting. I returned the call and was told some information that immediately put me in a state of fear and unknowing. I became agitated and felt my mind click through scenario after scenario of “What ifs”, each one more disconcerting than the last. All of my thought roads leading to this one, that the progress I had been making dealing with my grief was at risk and was soon to be derailed. This might have been true but the “what if’s” (assumptions) weren’t true because they hadn’t happened yet!

I sat on the floor with closed eyes while fearful thoughts swirled around my brain. I often struggle to get my mind to calm down, so I tried to focus on my breath and by breathing with my abdomen to the center of my being. It makes sense that when feeling grief, one would be emotional. It’s to be expected. But when the emotion expands from grief, to fear, to panic, my heartrate escalates, and panic takes over, superseding every other feeling.

My mind was everywhere at once and I felt like I needed to move my body, so I decided that if I was going to ruminate, I should at least do something positive and take a walk with the wieners, Daisy and Bandit. The dogs were so happy to be out of the house now that the Summer sun shone high in the sky and birds and squirrels were everywhere! Seeing them running and nosing around the ground broke away a little of the armor of protection I had started building around myself.

I thought of a coping skill I learned to ask for help from Wise Mind (God), and I paced my breath as we walked along, thinking “Wise” in and “Mind” out. Deep breath in “Wise” -Slow breath out “Mind.”

Because, to me, trying to think in Wise Mind is like tapping into a direct line to God, searching for Wise Mind brings forth the image of my worries, grief, fear, failure bubbling up, up, up to Heaven. As they arrived in my mind, I guided each worry into its own pink bubble and sent them up. Some of the bubbles began to pop as Wise Mind began to challenge the thoughts contained within- God seemed to saying, “Now Cammie, you know that’s not true.” Or “Don’t worry about that, I’ve got it covered.” As the bubbles pop, I imagined a prism of colors of the rainbow shining in place of them and I imagined all of the room that was left in my soul for God’s opportunities and wisdom.

Part 2 Coming up!