Praying Through Circular Thinking


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“Well, I thought,” the three most dangerous words ever to enter my thinking pattern. Any word in the dictionary could follow that phrase, and I would still end up in the same place, making assumptions without all the facts.

One of the worst possible outcomes of any situation is assumed. It holds no merit because it never existed.  Oh, how my imagination loves to cook up the most unpleasant in even the best situations! To make myself feel better, I blame it on the creativity of the writer within me. In reality, it is the dangerous swirl of circular thinking that takes me down a dark winding road.

I do admit, on many occasions, this has had a negative effect not only on my mind but my overall well-being. A hazardous place to be is in a worrying state of mind, especially when one makes a habit of focusing on the same thought consistently.

Let’s make it clear that circular thinking does not include times when something needs to be mulled over or instances which require much thought before a decision is made. I am referring to those cycles when the thought patterns repeatedly make assumptions about a resulting outcome. “Maybe if I did this, then that would happen,” or “He hasn’t responded to my email, I’m sure I’ve made him angry,” and phrases of this nature.

I’m not a professional, but I believe many factors induce this thinking pattern. Societal influences, childhood memories, or having a nervous personality, to name a few. In my younger days, in high school, I developed an undeniable fear of public speaking. This was ironic because I had been part of a choir before high school. There were even times when I sang a solo. Yet, something triggered a genuine fear, a circular thinking pattern, when speaking before my peers.

The fear was so intense that I would take a zero on an assignment, not prepare, and skip the class. I had repeated visions, all made up in my mind, that whatever I was supposed to do would be a failure.  Another aspect of circular thinking is going back over something again and again. Now, it’s too late to fix my state of mind at 16. However, at my current age, I can face fear and flourish in it.

How I reacted as a young girl is a part of who I am today, and I would not change any of it. Is the fear still there? Absolutely! However, I am old enough to see it, face it and grow because of it. Over the last several years since becoming a spiritual director, I have had to laugh at where God has taken me.  Part of my ministry has evolved in speaking engagements, putting myself on video saying prayers, and having a passion for spiritual writing.

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So, what do you do when God places your biggest fear repeatedly on your path? You pray through it and conquer it. It is through these events that I have learned to remove fear from my mindset, all with my mighty God!  I’m not perfect; after all, it was in the act of circular thinking that this post originated.

Thoughts of this nature are going to happen. It’s in knowing how to shut them down where faith and growth play a part. The only circular thinking I allow myself to remain is knowing that I am in God, and God is in me! That phrase is one I will never tire of repeating!  God is in me, and I am in God!

God’s Little Nudges


I’m short! Yes, I said it, I’m petite! At birth, my stats were 5.0 pounds and 18.5 inches long. In baby terms, that’s nothing to be concerned about, most babies appear tiny. So why am I focused on this now? Well, just yesterday, I learned that I have shrunk! According to the gal who did the measuring, I have lost 1.5 inches, bringing my new height down to 4 feet 9 inches! Of course, that hiked up (pun intended) the BMI, so now I have a new challenge ahead of me.

I know that none of that is earth shattering news, however what happened next, is worth sharing. In the moments following, I had the opportunity for a little quiet time, and I went straight to God for clarity. Not that this new height is detrimental to my health, but I needed to check in and discern if God was trying to tell me or show me something through this experience.

Sure enough! As I entered a prayerful resting state, God brought to mind a scripture verse. Though it was familiar, it is not one I typically pray with; until now.

“He must increase, but I must decrease”

John 3:30 NRSV

I chuckled at the timing of this verse because I had actually decreased. Taking a moment to laugh, I brought myself into focused prayer hoping to find the message hidden within God’s sense of humor. I considered what it was God might be guiding me toward and knew I needed to give a quick examination of my life in its current state.

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Perhaps, God is giving me a gentle reminder that He is to be in charge. I reflected on recent moments when I might have acted in haste without consulting the source of my blessings. I studied the days that disappeared due to being overly busy. In surveying them, I wondered if I had placed Jesus before all else.

In the verses before John 3:30, John the Baptist describes the joy he feels when he announces that Jesus is more than he. I placed myself at that moment and felt the awe-inspiring joy as I gave way to Jesus being front and center. “I can do this!” I whispered.

The lesson in this experience, which I believe God sent to my heart, is to slow down my pace and enjoy all the moments with God at my side—knowing that He is always one step ahead and will never guide me into anything He has not designed. 

I love the fact that God knows how to get my attention with humor. That is not always the case, but my spirit has learned when He is nudging me. This time, God approached me through a silly tiny nudge, rich with His Truth and Wisdom.

As I type this post, I am inspired by a song titled Just As I Am. For me, this song speaks to the presence of God as mightier than I. Take a listen and enjoy.

I’d love for you to share your experience or time when God used a strange circumstance to get your attention. Post in the comments section below.

Blessings,

Kimberly (Courageous Butterfly)

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God…As Friend


“Someone with a bible which is falling apart, lives a life which is not.” A direct quote from a recent sermon of which I had the privilege to listen.

God’s Word can come to us in many ways. As American’s, we are blessed to freely hold in our possession God’s book of wisdom, truth and light.  Personally, I have become somewhat of a bible hoarder!  A sentimental fool of sorts, I have a new passion for leafing through bibles at antique shops. I look for hand written notes in the margin, while inhaling the scent of the aged paper. I often wonder and think about the number of blessed tears that have graced its pages. In these moments, all of these subtleties create an encounter with God.

Perhaps, the one who held the bible before had only opened it once or twice. On the other hand, it could be the opposite. Sometimes the pages are too fragile to turn and other times they are crisp and clean. Those are the times when I wonder, and ask myself, “What does God want my bible to look like?”   

“I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) a verse echoing in my heart today and bringing about thoughts of friendship.  I am going to date myself here, but when I think of God as my friend, images come to mind of somewhat historical friendships. Take for instance, Tom and Jerry; Laverne and Shirley; Laura Wilder and her lovely dog Bandit. 

These relationships portray the best of friendships however, not always glamourous or warm and fuzzy. Each also contained many instances of miscommunication, sadness, and periods of silence.  Yet, at the end of every episode, tensions were released, fences mended and their love for one another outweighed any of the turmoil.

So, now you are wondering what does all of this have to do with God and the bible, right?  Today I invite you to begin a new friendship with God. Choose one of your favorite historical friendships as a model and re-invent how you spend each day, and every moment with God. 

I invite you to begin today and ware down that bible of yours. Dust it off, pray in it.  Let your tears stain the pages. Allow your heart to feel God’s word in and through you. Don’t be afraid to write your thoughts in the margins; the space is there for a reason!

Hand Written note on Psalm 103. Written in Italian, feel free to comment if you know what it says!

Reflection moment: What does God want my bible to look like? What does my friendship with God look like? How can I strengthen my walk with God?

Are you praying with a worn out bible or have a family heirloom? I would love to hear your comments in the section below.

Many Blessings,

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly