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The "F" Word

One of my old spiritual directors hated how much I used the “F” word.

The F word. Ya know, F… for “feel.”

In spiritual direction, I would preface a lot with “I feel like…”, or “I don’t feel like…” And he noticed that much of my assessment of my spiritual life or Vocational discernment was based around my feelings. He never shamed my feelings or emotions, in fact he was very respectful of them, but he challenged me to rather consult my intellect, not my emotions, for my discernment.

I had no idea how to do that, though. I sort of understood what he was saying in theory, but it didn’t click with me until I went through coaching with Erin and when I went through the Purgative Way course offered by Metanoia Catholic.

In the past, I have been guilty of making my emotions my compass. Well, that’s actually a really nice way of putting it; more accurately, my emotions dictated everything. I let them determine how I was doing in my prayer life, my job, my marriage, even my physical health. “I don’t feel like working out,” or “I don’t feel in love with my husband today,” or “It doesn’t feel like God has a plan for me.” I definitely labeled myself as an “emotional person,” so I really limited myself by not tapping into my reason, intellect and will. Which, by the way, we’re all emotional people, as well as intellectual and spiritual and physical; just watering ourselves down to one of those things fragments our humanity.

Because I let my emotions dictate the status of my life, if I wasn’t getting an emotional high on a daily basis, the important parts of my life (my relationship with God, my marriage, and family – to name a few) would then suffer. As a result of me not taking my thoughts captive, like St. Paul instructs us to do, I would fall often into sloth or despair – thinking that God was holding out on me because I wasn’t feeling heightened emotions. So, to avoid being let down, I resorted to numbing myself by spending hours of precious God-given time on my phone, not adding a single iota of joy or creativity or peace to my life, just letting the screen suck me dry. As a result, I believed my goals were always unattainable, my marriage never good enough, and my prayer life dull or nonexistent.

My first coaching call with Erin turned my whole philosophy upside down. She searched for what my thoughts were that were creating these emotions. My whole life I thought that my emotions existed on their own, that there was nothing behind them, that they should be exalted as the best way to make decisions. And in one 30 minute phone call, Erin debunked that myth pretty easily. She explained how our thoughts are the root of our emotions and that we cannot have an emotion without having a thought.

We cannot have any emotion or behavior without a thought behind it.

So really, the emphasis I put on my emotions and not my intellect, reason and will, was a bit dehumanizing. I was living a counterfeit life, short of the way God has designed me to live – a full life of exuberant joy! When put in the proper order (thoughts -> emotions -> behaviors), my emotions flourish, because they’re a part of being human! They are a good thing, a very good thing, but they are not the only thing to rely upon.

Metanoia Catholic made sense to me from the start. It clicked with me, and I knew my gifts would come to life if I decided to become a coach, and I am deeply grateful I did. I have done a ton of work, training and retreats in regards to healing of the whole person (Unbound ministry, Dr. Bob Schutes’ ministry, healing prayer ministry); Metanoia Catholic is the missing piece. When we are wounded, we create a belief system around that wound. Metanoia Catholic has helped me become an expert (but always in training and always learning!) in how to really identify those thoughts that exist in that belief system, the thoughts that keep that wound protected and hidden – which is what the enemy wants. The goal is to expose the thought, so that the wound can be exposed to God, who wants to love and heal, and who wants to replace the lie with His truth.

I am constantly humbled working with clients, and witnessing how the Truth sets people free. And I am constantly amazed at how Metanoia Catholic has taken deep theological truths, doctrines and scripture and made them supremely practical so that we can live them out daily.

The Holy Spirit is very active in the coaching sessions; He is always invited in to be the One to lead and guide. After my most recent call, I was reflecting on the fact that the nature of the Holy Spirit is Love. And the effects of the Holy Spirit is transformation. The opposing spirit wants us to sink into silent despair, which inevitably agitates and frustrates us. How will the enemy bring us to despair? In our thoughts! Feasting on lies will always keep us chained and stuck. But the Holy Spirit wants to set us free from those lies, so that we can live to our fullest potential as Sons and Daughters who were created for joy and peace and greatness.

To put it simply: Metanoia Catholic has helped me understand and live out what St. Paul says in Romans, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” (Romans 12:2). <-That sums up Metanoia Catholic.