Think, Evaluate, Talk, Feel, Pray (The forgiveness process from Lewis Smedes)
Most of the words that follow are Smedes.
Feeling can be a scary thing. When we let ourselves feel there can be an out of control sensation. Feelings we've kept at bay for a long time suddenly are on the move. We're not sure where they might take us.
Feelings are sloppy things and it takes time to put a name on what it is we are feeling. We can cry and laugh and ache just for starters. Sometimes feelings are an all of the above and at first can be quite overwhelming. That overwhelming sensation kicks in our desire to be in control. Resist that desire. Your feelings will not kill you. They will take you on a journey of truly knowing and valuing your self.
It takes great courage to feel, but feel you must.
- Take time to be alone with yourself, without TV or tennis or chocolates or digital gadgets
- Let your mind float and bring to mind what is going on inside.
- Light a candle if that is something you enjoy
- Take a walk through the woods or on a trail if that helps you to process
- Writing your feelings down can often spur more ideas and feelings.
- Eliminate any other distractions to allow an internal focus.
In this way you'll be able to identify the wounds you are forgiving. The wounds mattered. They hurt. You matter. Your feelings about all of this matters. You'll also discover there is more to you. Your wounds don't define all of who you are and that will eventually free you to offer the gift of forgiveness to your spouse.