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 the four steps of the prayer: Acknowledge, Relate, Receive, and Respond. First, we need to acknowledge what is happening in our thoughts, feelings, and desires. Then, we tell the Lord all about it, with honesty and sincerity. Next, we receive what the Lord desires to give us in that moment. Finally, we respond to the Lord, whether in a resolution for going forward or through conversation with Him.