In the book of Proverbs 14:10 (KJV) it says, "The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy." In the New International Version, this verse reads, "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."
Our heart is a very special part of who we are. Our heart is the seat of our mind, will and emotions. Our heart, when we are honest, knows the truth about ourselves.
Our heart knows its own flaws and weaknesses. Often, I ask people to look into their heart and see if they know the truth of what we are talking about. Often, they do know the truth if they look in their heart.
When it comes to out-of-control behavior, we often surround ourselves with denial, rationalizations and excuses, but our heart knows the truth. Whether our out-of-control behavior is spending, envy, self-righteousness, controlling, lying or whatever it may be, our heart knows the truth.
Being honest with our heart can take real effort. When I say to my clients, "Now close your eyes and just go to your own heart. What does it tell you is the truth about this behavior?" It can take several minutes for them to actually hear their heart.
From the outside, it looks as if there is a battle going on inside. They are often fighting the lies, reasoning and justifications for their behavior but the heart knows the truth. Finally, as they push through, they declare the truth for their heart already knew this. "Yes, this is out of control," or "I'm out of control," they'll say.
This heart-level admittance is usually a first step in the beginning of change. An honest heart really does know if you are out of control with some behaviors. I know in our culture, we spend so much time in our head that often, our heart is a stranger to us. For some, it could take a little while to locate their heart. Your heart will tell you the truth; it knows the truth as to whether you are out of control with the behaviors you are considering to be a problem.
Stop for a minute, close your eyes, and ask your heart, "Am I out of control with ___________________?" Then take a few minutes and really listen to your heart.
For those of you who took the time to listen to your heart, take a few minutes and write down your responses.
One thing I find helpful for clients to do is to evaluate themselves. It seems to mean more when you take a few moments and look at the big picture before plunging into the solutions.
I find if someone is thoroughly convinced that they have an out-of-control behavior, then they are much more likely to go through the process of getting control over what has been controlling them.
The road might get tough, but if you are committed to get to the other side, you go through the bumps to get there. There, by the way, is a great place, a life without being controlled by what has been controlling you.
So, let's see if you are being controlled by something. List the behavior or behaviors you think might be controlling you
- Have I promised myself to stop this behavior, and have I broken my promise?
- Have I promised others to stop this behavior, and have I broken my promise?
- Have I promised God to stop this behavior, and have I broken my promise?
- Have I had entitlement in my heart to continue this behavior?
- Have I demonstrated entitlement toward others in my life about this behavior?
- Have I demonstrated entitlement toward God about this behavior?
- Have I suffered the loss of a job due to this behavior?
- Have I had lost opportunities due to my behavior?
- Have I suffered losses in relationships due to this behavior?
- Have I lost ministry opportunities due to my behavior?
- Have I had consequences or repeated consequences due to this behavior?
- Have I had repeated attempts at stopping this behavior that have met with eventual failure?
- Do I feel my prayers have been ineffective in the past due to this behavior?
- In my heart do I know I am out of control in this behavior?
As you look over these questions look at how many "yes" answers you have. If you have several yes answers, you are out of control with a behavior. Knowing this information is paramount to getting better.
You can find hope and a path many have traveled to finally getting control over what has been controlling them. Your feet are now on a path many have traveled with success, so put your next foot forward and take the next step by starting to get control over what has been controlling you.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books, including Get A Grip. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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