In this chapter, Extending Reality, we will build on the previous work we have been doing. In review, when we remove 'Jenga blocks' out of the story of our lives, we are also removing important resources causing less stability for navigating in the present. This leaves us with an incomplete reality, one that is distorted by all the missing fragments of our timeline.
A healthy mind has the ability to see a reality BIGGER than the one that wants to consume us. It is able to put things into perspective. A goal for us is to incorporate all of our life experiences (the ones we removed from our Jenga tower) into our present perspective. This is a learned skill. As we grow, we develop the ability to extend our perspective beyond our present pain. Over time, our brains and emotions learn how to find stability in the experience of patterns. Now we are able to project an expectation of good times into the future by drawing from positive emotions in the past when we are stuck in negative emotions in the present.
Part of maturing as an adult is to find stability in the mixed bag of experiences that make up our life. Can we handle significant contradictions, tensions, traumas and set backs? One of my favorite Arthur quotes is:
‘Life does not have to be right for it to be good!’
We disrupt this process when we fragment our timelines causing the inability to access past emotions. This encourages the wrong kind of emotional and neurological response. This brings us back to that narrow perspective and not the bigger picture and we can find it near impossible to get back out.
Healing our relationship with our timeline and retrieving those missing pieces back into place is the initial stage. The next step is developing the skill is instead of looking at the moment, look at the bigger picture. We need to train our brain and our emotions to do just that. We need to be intentional in bringing about this new habit. This takes time.
Each time you find a point of stability you are strengthening the emotional anchors in your timeline.
Here are some helpful questions you might want to ask:
Please give special attention to the role of your spirit. (SLG has so many excellent teachings on how to grow our spirit) Here are but a few benefits of letting your spirit lead:
When you are in a difficult situation, ask what this might be developing in you? What do you know about how God put you together? How could this fit into preparing you for walking in your design? How can you leverage it forward so there is no wasted pain?
It is important to be intentional. Ask the questions that will build new emotional reactions in our soul. The questions that will cause our spirits to rise to the front and lead our soul into a place of trust, peace and stability because we are anchored and grounded in the love of God, the author who is still writing our story.
Having read the chapter, Extending Reality, what are your thoughts and emotions that bubble up? How do you relate to what is being described?
What often happens to our reality when we are in pain?
Identify a gap in your timeline that has been healed. How can that help you extend your reality in future painful situations?
What do you know about the design of your spirit that will help you reframe the current pain around a bigger objective?
Make a list of the top three facets of God’s nature that anchor you. Keep them fresh in your mind. Now ask Him to show you any others you haven’t seen before.
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