One of things I’ve come to realize is that I often need to guide myself in processing my own feelings. Sometimes I feel things and I acknowledge what I feel, but then I stop there. I don’t go into asking myself why I feel that way. It can almost seem silly to do that. If you get in a fight and are angry, of course it was the fight that was the impetus for the anger you now feel. Yet I’m learning that I need to ask myself why I feel a specific emotion, and then begin the process of sorting through what exactly made me feel that way.
The problem isn’t necessarily solved just because I thought about why I was feeling a particular way, but it often is the first step in the process. Sometimes it takes a while to pinpoint what exactly it was that triggered my response. The information isn’t always exactly welcomed information because it often reveals an area of weakness within myself, something that I thought I had sufficiently covered or fixed. Yet it is a starting point, nonetheless. Ideally, I can acknowledge what I feel, relate it to the Lord, understand why I feel that way, and receive His grace to carry on. Interestingly enough, that is quite a bit like a prayer I’ve prayed with many times–the A.R.R.R. prayer.
“A.R.R.R. stands for—Acknowledge, Relate, Receive, Respond.
You have sat with God’s Word. You have entered into the scene. Now, once you feel God is saying something to you, acknowledge what stirs within you. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and desires. These are important.
Once you’ve acknowledged what’s going on inside your heart, relate this to God. Don’t just think about what’s going on. Don’t simply think about God. Don’t think about how God might react. Relate to God. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what you think. Tell him what you want. Share all your thoughts, feelings, and desires with God. Share everything with Him.
Once you’ve shared everything with God, receive. Listen to what He’s telling you. It could be a subtle voice you hear. It could be a memory that pops up. Maybe He invites you to re-read the Scripture passage. Perhaps you feel something in your body. Perhaps he invites you into a still, restful, silence. Trust that God is listening to you and receive what He wants to share with you.
Now respond however you want. It could be more conversation. It could be a resolution. It could be tears or laughter. Respond to what you’re receiving.”