By Eliza Huie
In my last post (Re-thinking Journaling) I wrote about the value that can be found in journaling your thoughts. I shared how journaling can help you do 4 things: slow down, establish truth, determine direction, and connect with the Lord. It seems that most people journal when they are faced with a trial or struggle of some sort. Going through things that are difficult leaves you searching for guidance and keeping a journal of your thoughts is one way direction is gained. But it is not always enough to simply write about what you are facing. Journaling is most effective when there is purpose to it. I’m going to share with you some questions that you can use in your journaling to help bring clarity to the difficult situation you face.
I have used these questions for years but they are not original to me. Unfortunately I don’t remember where I first came across them. If anyone knows the source feel free to let me know so I can give credit to where credit is due. The questions were originally divided into two categories and I find that the division is very helpful in processing through a situation. Today we will focus on the first four questions that fall under the category of “The Vicious Circle.” These are questions that, if avoided, cause us to fall into a dangerous cycle of vices or bad responses. These questions locate you and allow you to go deeper into how you are really responding to the situation.
Again, these questions are only the first 4 in a list of questions to ask yourself. They will likely expose certain reactions and feelings that should not be ignored. The next time you face something hard ask:
The Vicious Circle
- What is happening to you that brings pressure or temptation? What is the situation?
- How are you reacting? (Not how you want to but how you actually are reacting.)
- What rules you and hijacks your heart?
- What are the consequences and ripple effects? How do your reactions affect relationships, work life, mood, finances, situation, health, etc.?
Without answering these questions you can easily get stuck in a circle of discouragement and hopelessness. It can feel like there is no way to break certain patterns in your life or your relationships. If I had come up with these questions myself I would probably call this the hopeless circle. The answers to these questions can feel very hopeless as you begin to see yourself and your actions clearer.
The next time you are faced with something that is upsetting to you or you find yourself overwhelmed by the situation, take some time to journal through these questions. See what they reveal. In the next post we will take a look at four more questions that will help you move from the vicious circle of thinking to thoughts that brings clarity and hope. Stay tuned.