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Means of Grace: Part 1

This is the most stressful time of the year for many of us. There is the anticipation of the stressors of family gatherings, a focus on food and alcohol, the ever-present comparison trap, disruption of routines, financial pressures, and perhaps navigating the holiday season while grieving loss.

When faced with feelings of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, we usually DO something to make ourselves feel better... Here's the problem - it doesn't work. I mean, it might make you feel better in the short term… but next year, it's going to be the same movie over again.

Imagine a cascading water fountain as your life, where your actions and behavior are the lowest and most visible tier, above that are your feelings and emotions, above that are your thoughts, and right at the top, your core beliefs.

Like the fountain, things flow downward. In other words, your core beliefs (internalized messages, how you perceive yourself, God, the world, others, experiences internalized truths) flow into your thoughts (ideas, opinions, expectations, intentions, inner voice) which in turn drive your feelings (emotional state, internal reactions), and those play out in your behaviors (the way that you deal with your thoughts and feelings)

When we start with trying to deal with feelings through behaviors, it's like trying to make the water flow upwards in the fountain. It doesn't work.

The place to start is with core beliefs because everything flows from that.

Your life will flow in the direction of your core beliefs.

Here are some examples of negative core believes

  • It will always be this way

  • I am BAD