Creating change starts with our intellect, emotion, and will. Actions must follow. Even as we press on, we will experience unwanted emotions that seem to work against our deepest desires. When we declare new truths and take action despite these feelings, we will keep moving forward and build a better relationship with ourselves as we honor our greatest values.
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You are listening to The Happiest Live Podcast with Jill Lillard, Episode #2.
Hi, everybody. Today, we are going to talk about taking action despite unwanted feelings. If your relationship is in a slump, and you want it to change, you must do something different. If you keep showing up the same way, you'll get the same results.
Oftentimes, we're waiting for evidence to believe something else is possible. And yet, belief and action come before the evidence; it's not the other way around. So sitting around waiting to feel better won't get you out of a rut. You need to take action. Now I like to call this taking Declare-Actions. If you try to take action without a new emotion driving the action, you aren't going to get the results you want. And to generate a new emotion, you have to change what you're thinking about your situation by declaring a new truth. You declare it, feel it, and then take action. Declare-Actions.
Now, there are a lot of books out there on relationships. And I'm sure you're familiar with the love languages, doing the three-minute kiss, and scheduling date nights. And although all of these are worthy pursuits, doing those things alone won't change your marriage. If you're operating from feelings like resentment, hurt, or contempt, as you take the actions, the result you create will solidify those feelings.
You may have hurt feelings and still decide to do things despite the hurt. And I recommend that. However, if you try to power your way into new actions without even identifying a new feeling you want to act from, it'll be really hard to stay connected to the action.
So I had a client whose husband said some words, and she immediately felt angry because she thought he was playing the victim role. At the same time, because of our work, she could hit pause and remember that she wanted to feel close and connected to her husband. So to do this, she would need to break her contribution to their disconnect, which by default was shutting down and pushing him away when she got upset.
I could have told her she needed to turn toward him and understand that his words came from his place of hurt and not make it about her. However, that would be really hard to do from a place of anger. We talked about the results she wanted, which was to break the habit of how she was showing up in the relationship and do things differently. I asked her, if you were doing things differently, what would you be doing?
She told me when she got upset, she would not walk away or distance herself like she had been doing and that she would be more understanding of where he was coming from without taking it personally. She even said she would offer some encouragement to her husband about the situation he was speaking about.
I then asked her what feeling she would need to have to show up in that way. And she said it was a feeling of clarity. I asked if you felt clear after he said the words he said, then what would you be thinking about his words? She gave me the sentence: We can do this differently. And so her declaration was, "We can do this differently." That made her feel clearer.
So we tested it out. I asked her to speak it out loud with conviction as though she were making a declaration. "We can do this differently." She said she could feel a sense of hope, confidence, and clarity rising in her body when she spoke it out loud. She said feeling that way, she could totally see herself acting the way she described. It seemed natural and not forced.
Notice I didn't coach her on getting rid of the anger she felt. I did help her see that her anger was caused by her belief that he was acting like a victim and that when she believed he was acting like a victim, she started acting like a victim as she shut him out and disengaged. With a new thought, this client could hit pause on the anger and own it without putting energy into obliterating it. She could gently shift to this new truth which she believed, she could feel it, and she could take new actions.
And you can do the same thing when you want to create change in your life in relationships; you have to start not only by doing things differently but first by thinking about the circumstance differently. This doesn't mean you won't encounter challenges or setbacks. But when you persist and adapt your thoughts and actions when needed, you can continue moving forward. Taking Declare-Actions, you will start building a better relationship with yourself as your confidence and sense of control increase. Rather than feeling like a victim of your circumstances, you will become aware of your thoughts. And if that thought is serving you, you can pick one that serves you best and decide how you will show up in that situation.
So let's take a moment and look at these three elements of declaring, feeling, and doing so that you can take Declare-Actions to become the woman God says you already are.
The first step is to decide on a declaration. This is a sentence that reflects what else is possible about your situation. It'll be a thought you love and is believable. Now in many cases, you won't fully believe it already. If you did, you wouldn't be talking about it because you would already be experiencing the results in your life; the situation wouldn't feel like a problem. However, on some level, you want to be able to buy into the thought as you offer it as we aren't pretending we believe something we don't.
I love to declare God's words. Several passages in the Bible speak to the importance of speaking scriptures out loud. For instance, Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep the book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful.”
And Psalms 119:11, “I have hidden your words in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
Hebrews 412, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
These passages suggest that speaking scripture aloud can help us internalize and remember the word of God. It can build our faith and empower us to live according to God's will. Declare-Actions can serve as spiritual warfare as you declare the truth of God's Word over your lives and circumstances.
Some of my favorite scriptures to declare are Philippians 4:8,” He will supply all my needs according to His riches and glory.” And “his grace is sufficient” (II Corinthians 12:9). “He will never stop being good to me,” Jeremiah 32:40.
You can also pick declarations that aren't scriptures. Some of my thoughts about my husband are he's the perfect person for me. He's doing his best, just like me. My thoughts and feelings matter to him.
Finding a thought specific to a situation is an effective way to discover a new declaration. This declaration sets the intention and direction for your actions in this situation.
I also like to nurture general thoughts about my life that I can apply to many situations. I have scriptures all over the walls of my house. Here are some of the ones that you will find if you walk into my house:
Consider it pure joy when you face trials of every kind.
Take heart, for I have overcome the world.
In quietness and trust is your strength.
Behold, I'm doing a new thing.
He leads me beside still waters.
You can decide what you want to declare about your life, and no one can tell you what to think or feel. You want to decide with intention, not like thoughts are just happening to you. You've been given free will. And you get to decide how you're going to show up in your life.
How are you going to use your free will? You can stop living in default mode by turning on the lights, taking your thoughts captive, and declaring some new truths.
The next step is to feel the declaration. When you adopt a new thought or belief, it will create a shift in your emotional state, which we often experience as physical sensations in our bodies. For example, if you start believing that you are 100% lovable, you will feel a sense of relief and ease in your body, as well as a boost in your mood and self-confidence. On the other hand, holding on to negative thoughts and beliefs can lead to physical tension, stress, and discomfort. You might feel tightness in your chest or throat. You might feel a sinking feeling in your stomach.
To make your declaration powerful, say it aloud, and pay attention to where you feel it in your body. Hold the feeling for a few seconds, then a few minutes, and practice feeling it for an hour. Notice how your body feels different than when you declare the alternative thought. Ultimately, feeling new thoughts and beliefs in your body may not come overnight. But if you're patient and keep trying, you will become more aware and better able to cultivate these connections.
The last step of taking Declare-Actions is taking action. So once you've declared your new thought and felt the emotions associated with it, it's time to channel that energy into action. James 2:26 tells us the same way that the body without the spirit is dead. Faith without works is dead. You can't say you believe something if you aren't living from that truth. Faith is not grasping and powering your way into a belief. Rather, it's gently surrendering your unbelief and taking action despite unwanted emotions.
I think the reason we don't take new actions is that we don't want to fail. And so we stay in confusion. We say that we don't know what to do. And as long as we're confused about what we should do, we don't have to do anything. We think this is how to avoid failure. But in reality, we preemptively fail in advance by not trying.
So how do you figure out what to do? I like to think about it as running experiments. You can research and consult with others to come up with possibilities, or you can just try things. You don't want to stay stuck in the research mode, as that's a good way to buffer your fears. We can consume information, and we can keep learning, but if we don't take the actual action, we don't apply that knowledge, we're not going to see change. And so, you want to set an amount of time you will allot to this part of the research.
Based on the findings that you find that you discover as you research and ask questions, then you can make a hypothesis, and then you just test it out. When you try something, you will get new data and can assess if you want to keep taking that action or if you want to try something else. You never know exactly how you will end up doing something until you have done it. And I can tell you how I did it. But you may discover another way that will work best for you and your situation. What works for me may not work for you. And that's why I like to teach people this process of creating new results.
Be willing to take action and learn from your mistakes. Be willing to fail, and try new things. If you're easily overwhelmed, break the actions down into doable steps and take them one at a time so that it's very manageable. And don't forget, as you take the actions, remember what your sentences are. Keep feeling it and looking for evidence, even when it takes time.
Your life is a reflection, a summation of your most used Declare-Actions. The sentences you repeat and the actions you live out will create a result in your life. Declaring, feeling, and doing is a relationship between your mind, will, and emotions. The process is interconnected, each step building on the other.
Don't forget to invite the Lord into the process. It doesn't all depend on you. You're never alone. The Holy Spirit transforms your heart, and you must be a willing participant so that he can do that work. I love the words of Colossians 1:29. "To this end, I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me."
Now that's a Declare-Action worth believing and living out as you become the woman He says you already are.
Until next time, have a beautiful week.