I used the book (which I can recommend to begin the process) but I also began praying, "God, lead me to Your Truth!" I knew this beginning truth: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Honestly, that first process didn't take long--probably a month. I worked hard. I wanted freedom in my life. It was a very alone time for me as I met with God and allowed Him to do spiritual and emotional surgery on me. And...it was painful. Before God could reveal Truth to me, he had to uncover the lies I was believing. That was hard. Because most of those lies had come from spiritual leaders in my life. Of course, the Bible was my measuring rod and anything that didn't line up with the Word of God had to go. BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!! The freedom that moved into my being was unbelievable and worth every pain I experienced along the way.
I never finished the book and I didn't lose weight--except the weight of the emotional baggage I'd been carrying around. But I also have to tell you it wasn't a one-time-thing. God knows we can't handle too much at a time--it would be overwhelming to us. So He's come to me at different times throughout my life with more healing in store. The reason I'm even sharing this is because He's brought me to that place again.
I have some helps for you since I've been through this a few times:
- Before you begin, promise yourself you're not going to get bogged down in a cesspool of emotions. Satan would like nothing better than to destroy you. Find a spiritual partner you trust, can talk to openly, and who will hold you accountable. Tell them what you plan on doing and ask them to make sure you don't get off-track or stay there too long. If your emotions are overwhelming, find a godly counselor--it's OK!
- Promise yourself you're going to forgive others as God reveals hurts. Make up your mind ahead of time. And remember that God is a jealous God--He never allows people to meet all of our needs. He wants to be the one to do that. So if you become angry over a person not measuring up the way you expected or needed, realize God wanted you to find Him in that place.
- Let the Word of God be your standard. If your thoughts or spiritual principles don't line up with the Word of God, toss them out! Continually ask God for TRUTH that sets free! Do this each time you meet with God.
- I can promise you that anger will emerge. You may become angry at spiritual leaders, parents, siblings, a spouse, a boss, etc. But don't sit down and write them a letter or call them at this point. The only message they'll hear is that you are angry. And they'll become defensive. You may never need to talk to them...you may just need to forgive them and move on. (Forgiveness rule of thumb: If it's been a public offense, it demands a public confession. If it was a private offense between two people, it demands a private confession. If it was an offense you only took up in your mind, the confession remains between you and God.) And you have to remember...most of those people were probably doing their very best with the knowledge they had at the time.
- JOURNAL!! Spill all of those emotions in your journal--just between you and God. It is a catharsis to write it all out. And later, you'll be able to go back and look at your spiritual journey. In the book, Love Hunger, there's an exercise they give to write and write until your subconscious takes over. I did that and learned a few things about myself of which I was totally unaware.
- I'm not sure how it's going to look for you. But for me, once I became aware of lies, I was able to recognize them as lies, bring them to God and just confess, "these are lies!" And it's like He plucked them out and I turned my back on them. I then asked Him to fill me with His Truth and I moved forward. I'm sure it's not going to look like that for everyone. But I see things as very black & white and that's the way it was for me.
- Forgive yourself. You may feel a lot of guilt for not knowing these things were there--or for passing them on to your children! But God's grace covers this. And He's delighted that you have come in agreement with Him and are being set free! Put yourself in the place of a parent. If your child had been held hostage and had been released, wouldn't you be celebrating?? You will want to share the truth you've discovered with your kids if they're old enough to understand. Otherwise, course correction in your own life will be effective with younger kids. And it may involve you asking forgiveness of others if you've passed on emotional wounds or lies.
- Embrace the freedom! It may be scary at first. I liken it to a baby coming out of the womb. That baby may flail because it's out of it's secure place and the lights are bright and it's cold! It's totally unfamiliar. But know that God has brought you into freedom. And you are certainly going to warm up to it. It becomes exhilarating!
- Prepare to go through these steps again and again throughout your life. You will become more and more free! And it's never as hard as that first time. God wants you to know the Truth and be set free by it! You won't have to plan those times...I promise God will be faithful to bring you to them.
- Spend time praising God and getting to know Him and love Him on a new level. Freedom affords that opportunity! Stay in the Word and test everything you hear from now on before you receive it as truth!