The Happiest Lives Podcast

E26: Press On Despite Unwanted Emotions

October 27, 2023 Jill M. Lillard, MA LPC Season 2023 Episode 26
The Happiest Lives Podcast
E26: Press On Despite Unwanted Emotions
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join me for the last week in The Heart Scan Series as we learn how to  PRESS ON despite unwanted emotions.  You can come up with a beautiful plan for change, but when it comes time to implement it, you may not always feel like doing the things.  Even if you have identified the new thoughts and feelings to fuel the actions, if you don't take action, your beliefs are useless.  Together, we venture through the HeartScan series' final stages, illuminating the Holy Spirit's steadfast power within us to help us press on even in the face of challenging emotions.This episode is for you if you have felt blocked, stalled, or uninspired. Let's explore how faith and surrender can be our allies rather than adversaries. 

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Speaker 1:

You are listening to the Happiest Lives podcast with Jill Lillard, episode number 26. Welcome to the Happiest Lives podcast, where you'll learn to think better, feel better and become the woman God says you already are. Here's your host, jill Lillard. Welcome to another inspiring episode of the Happiest Lives podcast and part four of the HeartScan series. So this is the last week that we talk about the HeartScan. Now, the HeartScan is actually interwoven throughout all the work that we do, so it will come up through all of our podcasts, but this is the last week where I teach you the four steps of how to do a HeartScan. And thank you to everybody who signed up and came to the HeartScan workshop last week. We had a wonderful turnout and I am excited for those who have since signed up for the Happiest Lives Academy, as the HeartScan workshop was a great test drive for that, and you still have opportunity to join me in the Academy. It starts in January. If you are interested, just go to myhappyvaultcom. So today I want to introduce you to the final step of HeartScanning. Press on despite unwanted emotion. Now, because we call it the final step, it doesn't mean your race is nearly over and you've reached your destination. I see this HeartScanning process as one in which we are always at various stages. It is a rhythm I've observed in the lives of those maturing in their faith. Taking action is a fundamental step in creating change. We can't be transformed or get new results if we don't take actions. However, even when the identified actions honor our deepest values, we aren't always going to feel like doing those things. Not taking the action we ought to can lead to feeling stuck, hopeless, confused and discouraged. If you've created a glowing intentional model with a wanted result, it will do nothing for you. If you respond passively and change nothing, declaring a new thought without acting on it will not transform you. Reading God's word and returning to the same old lifestyle will not help you live victoriously. Action is required to step into our belief, even when we don't have evidence of a new result. Although many of us wait for evidence before taking action, declaring a new truth always precedes evidence, not the other way around. So sometimes my go-to thoughts may be so ingrained that it's a struggle not to return to those familiar feelings and habits. The good news is that we don't have to put our energy into obliterating the unwanted thoughts. We just have to take new actions from new truths despite the old thoughts. Nothing is wrong that thoughts are offering themselves. This is part of our journey of life. Just like Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, unwanted thoughts are whispers of the enemy will come knocking on our door. We must know how to respond when they do. The more we think the thoughts or desires shouldn't be there and we focus on getting rid of them, the more our attention and energy is wrapped up in them and the more likely we are to cave in yield. But if we drop the rope and stop playing tug-of-war with the thoughts and assert and walk a new truth, they no longer rule over us. James 1, 14 through 15 tells us but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death. We see James revealing that sin does not occur when the emotion, thought or passion first comes. But if those thoughts are obeyed, we sin as we give into the feeling, thought or passion by dwelling on it. So how should we respond to unwanted emotions and thoughts that oppose our highest values? How do we stand when we know the good we ought to do and sinful desires lure us away from that good. God gave Cain the answer in Genesis 4, 6 through 7. We read then the Lord said to Cain why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Instead of yielding to discouragement, anger and other evil desires, we master them by yielding to new truths. We yield to the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We trust and obey what the Lord is speaking. By doing what is right, we resist sin, humbling our hearts and surrendering to His authority and goodness. We can press on and do the best thing when we don't feel like it. We cannot consistently do this on our own, as our flesh is weak, but thank God for Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Over and over again, we release the power of God in us as we let go of the enemy's lies and declare new truths. Being willing to let old thoughts go and instead declare new truths, trust and obey the Lord is not always easy, but it's an essential part of maturing in our faith and becoming the woman God says we already are redeemed, set apart and holy. In this episode we'll explore getting new results by taking action. We'll also discuss overcoming the desire to give up in the transforming power of turning our suffering into surrender. Before we do that, here is a quick summary of what we've learned in the Heart Scan series. Step one of heart scanning is expose. If I'm experiencing a problem in my life, I must first hit pause and expose what is really going on. To do this, I ask the Lord to search my heart and reveal new truths. I come with an open, curious and willing spirit Because the Lord is rich in mercy. I am eager to turn on the lights. I showed you how to use the self-coaching model to assess and organize any problem by breaking it into five parts the circumstance, thought, feeling, actions and result. By doing this, we better understand the real reason we are getting our current results. It always goes back to what we are thinking and how we are assessing our circumstances. Step two of heart scanning is renew what else is possible. I encourage you in the daily practice of renewing your mind through scriptural reading. I also showed you how to create new intentional models by first assessing, if you like, the results you are getting and, if not, how to map out a new result in the actions, feelings and thoughts needed to get there. Last week we discussed the third part engage, viewing emotions as an invitation to experience God. I showed you concretely how to express emotion without indulging or resisting. I taught you the four Ps panic, pause, pray and praise to stay connected to your heart and engage with the Lord. So let's go ahead and dive into the fourth and final step of heart scanning pressing on despite unwanted emotions. Taking action is essential to get new results. You can go to church and read God's Word all day long, but if you don't practice the truths God is speaking to you, you will not grow and be transformed. You can do models all day at your kitchen table, but you will never see changes in your life unless you take new actions. You can't just believe things will be better. You have to step out in faith to make things better by doing what you have identified you need to do. The Bible provides several teachings and examples emphasizing the importance of putting our beliefs into action. Here are a few James 2.18. But someone will say you have faith, I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2.26. As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. 1 John 3.18. Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth. Ephesians 2.8-10. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast, for we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. These passages emphasize that genuine faith is not merely a belief or confession, but it is also manifested through actions. Taking actions is an essential part of living at our faith, our deeds become a tangible expression of what we believe. Our thoughts become core beliefs as we act upon them repeatedly. Now, our thoughts don't save us or change us fundamentally. God's grace does, however, as we are partners in this process. Salvation starts with confessing and declaring a new truth. Then we can do the good works he's prepared in advance for us to do. Soon, those thoughts, those new declarations become new neural pathways in our brains, like establishing new trails in the woods. Replacing old ways of thinking with new ones can take some time. I've shared with you before about the Nature Center in my town that has trails in the woods that have been around for decades. If they decided to create new trails and let the old ones overgrow, there would be a process for that to happen. People might throw a fit and resist the changes. Our flesh does the same thing. When we quit feeding the old thoughts and commit to establishing new ones, the same thing happens within you. When we quit feeding our flesh, when we quit feeding the old thoughts and we start to commit to establishing new ones, we start feeding the spirit. There may be this part in us that rebels. The flesh may rebel against that. To chart new trails, we would need to first clear a pathway by removing existing plants and growth. We would also need to block the old trails so people would not keep going down them. We would add new, hardy plants on the old trail. In order to do this, we would then have to nurture their growth until they became firmly established. This would require putting up yellow flags and signs not to go down the old trails, maintaining the new trails and putting up signs that would entice people to go down the new trails. As people repeatedly walked the tracks, the pathways would then become established. Even if you were excited about the new pathways, if you were a native to the old trails, you would be inclined to go down them. Still, your brain may always present the idea of walking the old trails, even though you're committed to taking the new trails. Over time, you would establish memories on the new pathways and they would become more established, not just in the woods but in your mindset. This is an excellent parallel to how our brain creates new neural pathways. As we commit to and act upon new thoughts, they become more and more ingrained. It's possible to step into new beliefs when we take new actions. However, we must be intentional, diligent and patient as we commit to the process of change. What new trails do you want to blaze and strengthen in your life? What new result would you like to create? That does not depend on your circumstance, including other people. Maybe you want to be a more kind and loving wife, even when your husband says words that feel harsh. Perhaps you want to be a woman who consistently abides in peace and joy, no matter her situation. Maybe you want to lose 30 pounds and still enjoy food with other people. It could be you want to become a person who finishes the projects she starts, or possibly you want to be an organized woman amid all her commitments. Let's just pick one of these results. How about the one to lose 30 pounds and still enjoy food with other people? So let's say you have done the preliminary work we discussed in a series of establishing your new result by running some models. The unintentional model shows you why you've been overeating. You can see the actions that got you there and the emotions and thoughts driving those behaviors. You have created new intentional models with new thoughts, feelings and actions that you will take to reach your goals. Now it's time to take action. There will be moments when you struggle to honor your plan. You won't always want to go on the walk or put your fork down after you realize your body has had enough. You may have had a terrible day and the last thing you care about is losing 30 pounds. You just want to buffer the awful feeling of the moment by eating something rich in carbs and fats. Temptations will certainly offer themselves and you may give in to them. You then may despair and beat yourself up, falling yet into another unintentional model of discouragement. So the question is whatever result you are going for, what if you don't feel motivated? What if you aren't quite ready to let your unintentional model go, even though you know it's causing you pain? What if you made a plan and decisions, but when it comes time to honor the plan, your old thought is screaming at you that you actually want to eat chocolate cake and watch Netflix all day. If you're waiting to feel inspired and motivated, that day may never come To honor your commitments and highest values. You must be willing to act, even when feelings of discouragement, desire and impatience haunt you, to press on despite unwanted emotions. We must also do the work we discussed last week of allowing the emotions. We must learn to let urges and desires be there without answering them. We must be willing to feel without resisting or indulging the emotion. Simultaneously, we must press on and intentionally take actions from new thoughts and feelings. We are holding space for the cognitive dissonance, as we aren't surprised by those old thoughts offering themselves to you like cookies on a platter. Maybe the thoughts look like these this is too hard. I want chocolate cake now. I'll start tomorrow. My body is working against me. I have no self-control. Your job is to notice those thoughts and gently let them pass by as you bring your attention to thoughts you have a picked in advance. These new thoughts reflect your commitments, deepest values and what is important to you In this situation. You may have filled your intentional models with thoughts like these. It's possible. Losing weight is easy. I am ready, willing and able. I am becoming a woman who is light, strong and free. I am patient and persistent. I am stronger than my creating. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Declaring, feeling and doing, taking, declare actions will help you press on, even as old thoughts and feelings offer themselves. So if you missed episode two of my podcast entitled Taking, declare Actions, check it out, as I remind you of the importance of declaring new truths, feeling them in your body and then taking actions. I like to think there is a space between where we are and where we want to be. We recognize unwanted thoughts and feelings in this space, but do not obey them. We discussed this place last week. I explained how to engage with the Lord by pausing the unintentional model, the default thoughts, feelings and actions not serving you, and instead turn toward Jesus with request and thanksgiving. I wanted to talk a bit more about this part in the middle. It is scary and uncomfortable. As we step off the shorelines of what is familiar, we may feel we are stepping into the sea of suffering as we try to move to the other side. Many of us will stay on the shorelines of our unintentional models because we fear failing, and it can feel terrible not to answer urges and obey old thoughts. But when we're willing to pause the old models and step into the sea of suffering and surrender, that sea of suffering becomes the sea of surrender. For some of you, surrender sounds like a terrible thing. It sounds like a giving up and being taken hostage. But I'm not talking about surrendering to our circumstances or the thoughts and feelings we've been resisting and indulging. I'm talking about surrendering to the one who is sovereign, good and faithful. For some of you, surrender sounds like a terrible thing. It sounds like giving up and being taken hostage. But I'm not talking about surrendering to our circumstance or to the thoughts and feelings we've been resisting and indulging. I'm talking about surrendering to the one who is sovereign, good and faithful. There is a sort of giving up in this, but we're not throwing in the towel. We aren't quitting. We are taking action in a way that does not all depend on us. We are partnering with the Holy Spirit living inside of us. To surrender is to embrace a purpose and will. Beyond our own self-centeredness. We are stepping into Christ-centeredness and as we surrender to the Lord, we move from suffering and misery to possibility and power. The Lord invites you and I to let go of indulgent feelings like anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, so that the rivers of living water can flow in and through us. Galatians 1.29 reads To this end. I am toiling strenuously with all the energy and power of Christ at work in me. To contend means to agonize our struggle against obstacles. As Paul strenuously contends, we see his will aligning with Christ's will. As he struggles, he partners with the divine. This partnership was not exhausting but energizing. It was not life-stealing but life-giving. He was doing everything for God's glory and through Christ's power. When you move into the sea of surrender, you do not lose or die to your true self. You simply become more of your authentic self, which is part of something bigger than itself. You start to view yourself in the context of others, where Christ is the head. The self that is centered around our ego must die. When Paul talks about being crucified with Christ. He says it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. He has died to his own purposes and has been resurrected. With Christ, he has emerged his purpose and will and being into the life of his Creator. He says the life I now live in, the flesh I live with, is the life of Christ. The flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. That's Galatians 2.20. What an exhilarating truth. This is the life I live in my body. I live by faith, not faith in me, but faith in the resurrected Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me. This passage so beautifully illustrates our partnership with God himself. We participate in his divine nature. We do not lose our sense of identity, but instead, as we commune with God, we become our true selves. When we can surrender to a God who loves and gave himself up for us, why would we want to surrender to our ego, our hurts, anger, resentments, lusts and fears? In this space between where we are and where we want to be, the most beautiful work happens as we willfully and joyfully yield to the Spirit. As suffering turns into surrender. The Lord is knitting our hearts to His. As I step off the shoreline and into the deep, uncharted waters, my prayer is God, bind my wandering heart to yours. If you feel weary in your efforts to leave the old behind and step into the new, god has for you. 2 Corinthians 4-16 encourages us. Therefore, we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day for our light, and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, and Galatians 6-9 pleads with us. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus and remember pressing on is not a solo act but a relationship with the living God. The Lord is with you and he has given us a body of other believers to encourage us and walk in the faith together. Surrounding yourself with Christian friends, mentors or like-minded community can make a significant difference as you press toward the goal. And I want to personally help you as you press toward the goal. I want to be intimately involved in your journey of growth, and that's what I will be doing, starting in January, with a small cohort of women. I am recruiting ladies to join me in the Happiest Lives Academy, where I will cover you in a blanket of support as you undergo five transformations. In this program I have included everything I would want to feel supported, including a bonus weekend at my house next fall for all the graduates. This is my five-month coaching program and the doors open once a year. The program runs January through May and you will get not just one, but five transformations. We start month one with something very tangible, as you will actually organize spaces in your home. As you learn to organize your mind from the inside out, as you clean out the closets and storage spaces, you will explore all the thoughts running your life on the back burner and, much like cleaning out a space in your home, you will decide if you love those new thoughts Together. We will keep the thoughts you would pick again today and we're going to release the ones that are no longer serving you. In month two, you will leverage your emotions as you identify three feelings you want to cultivate more of in your life and three feelings you have been resisting. I will coach you and support you through the process of learning how to feel on purpose. In month three, we will learn how to make powerful decisions. Decision making is one of the most important things you will do each day, and so I want to help you stop wasting your energy in this area, because I see so many women getting caught up in worry and doubt, delaying and stressing over and questioning their decisions. We are wasting a lot of time. This month, I'm going to show you how to make better decisions and have your back after you've made them. And then month four is calm conversations, and you will apply the worksheets and techniques I give you to conversations you want to have, whether it's making a request without demanding or sharing your thoughts and feelings. I've got you this month and our final month, month five, is breaking strongholds, and so strongholds are the thoughts that have become so ingrained that you may feel like you're a prisoner to them. This month, we will step into the sea of surrender and break the chains that bind us, and we do all five transformations together. That's my favorite part, as I watch ladies encourage and relate with one another. The Happiest Lives Academy is a fantastic way to master the process of heart scanning and build lifelong friendships. Each month, as your new transformation unlocks, you will get a package from me in the mail along with lessons, daily texting, access to me, a weekly coaching call, a weekly worksheet, workshop, monthly one-on-one coaching and access to a Slack group that you can connect with a cohort of Christian women going through these transformations with you. So if you want to learn more and register, go to myhappyvaultcom. As we wrap up this episode, remember that pressing on despite unwanted emotions is a journey that requires patience, faith and determination. But we don't have to do it alone. The Holy Spirit lives in us and we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. I hope you enjoy this month's Heart Scan series. I have certainly enjoyed teaching it to you. Keep exposing, renewing, engaging and pressing on, and I want to leave you with Hebrews 12, 1 through 10. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

The Power of Taking Action
The Power of Surrender and Faith
Transformation Journey and Supportive Community
Heart Scan Program and Support Group