Melissa often tells me "feelings aren't facts." She finds herself saying this a lot in her therapy sessions as well--luckily I get a discount. It's taken me a while to catch on, but I'm slowly getting it, I think. Just because I feel something (fear, anxiety, shame), doesn't mean that feeling has to define my reality. If I can step back from the feeling a bit, I might be able to see a little more clearly.
I think this is where Rohr may be leading us in chapter four. He encourages us to clean our lenses. As we do, we discover our blindness is often a result of our efforts to protect our false selves. Our fears of being hurt or being judged, failing or not measuring up, are usually rooted in protecting our egos. However, if we can stop for just a moment and remember that we are wholly loved by God, we might find some perspective and see past these fears.
Rohr says this will lead us to freedom:
As we observe our mental and emotional flow over a period of disciplined time, we recognize that we largely create our own experiences. I know this is embarrassing and some of us deny it, but it’s true. We have the power to decide what each moment means and how we will respond to it. We have power when we know we have the ability to respond freely.
It sounds simple, but it's hard work. In the heat of the moment when our fears are churning, it's hard to step back and take a deep breath. I find that reminding myself I'm a beloved child of God helps to defuse my fears so that every now and then there are moments when I can step back and see the possibilities that lie before me.
We get to choose the meaning of our moments. If we can choose meanings that resonate with God's lovingkindness, then we may see a little more clearly and find a little more of our true selves shining through.
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