Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 2011 Faithbooking Lesson

With my limited blogging/computer knowledge, I've struggled with the best way to share the monthly faithbooking lessons. The old way... well, just seems so OLD! Once I have a few more under my belt, I'll bind them together somehow and make them available to anyone interested. For now, I'll just share them fully in a regular blog post with tips at the end for incorporating the ideas into your own album. If you have any questions or technical tips to offer, send them my way by email to acvega at frontiernet dot net.

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Feelings. Whoa Whoa Whoa. Feelings.
Faithbooking Devotion #40 ~ Stones of Remembrance
Creating Rock-Solid Reminders of God’s Presence
©2011 Tina Vega

When I first entered treatment for an eating disorder, I was numb - detached from all emotion. Without even realizing it, I had slipped into a major depression. [How could be depressed when I feel nothing?] Nine years of burying emotions had left me a broken mess. Surprisingly, the focus of treatment was not on food but thoughts; the root of the problem was my thinking – lies I had been feeding myself inside led to destructive behaviors outside.

Learning to take charge of my thoughts not only allowed me to break free from the grip of my addiction (see Faithbooking Devotion #19 for more on this topic) but from depression as well. I have maintained this emotional freedom for 22 years and long for others who are struggling to experience it as well. While your “jail” may look different than mine, some of the thoughts/feelings we are can be held prisoner to include: fear, shame, guilt, depression, bitterness, low self-esteem, jealousy, rage, hopelessness, and anxiety. All of us get stuck at one time or another, knowing what is “right” but letting our feelings drag us all over the place. Some may even try to escape by using food, the Internet, shopping, exercise, alcohol or other “tools” to avoid painful emotions – but feelings do not go away just because we ignore or drown them out. We need to be honest with ourselves and God about the state of our hearts, working through difficulties head-on.

♥ Take a moment to think about your emotional health. Do your feelings serve you or do you tend to cater to your feelings? Do you ever lean on feelings as fact? If someone treats you poorly do you tend to respond purely in an emotional way (feeling angry or rejected) or do you try to process the situation by asking questions or giving the person the benefit of the doubt?
♥ When feelings serve us, they are like electric fences – letting us know when emotional boundaries have been crossed. Are you sensitive to your body’s stress signals? Do you make changes in your life based on those signals (i.e. getting more sleep or exercise, reducing time commitments, etc.) or do you tend to ignore those signals and push through?
♥ What pulls at you emotionally? What drives you absolutely bonkers? Do you see emotional trends in your family?

Facing and processing emotions is a skill that anyone can learn. Some great resources follow:

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.
– Psalm 42:5

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Ideas and tips:

1. Create a page spread that focuses on one particular emotion. You could use the name of the emotion you choose as a title for your scrapbooking page. For example, one woman explored three of her fears by creating a page about it HERE. I created a page about "Peace" HERE. You'll even find a whole blog devoted to the topic of scrapbooking grief HERE (named appropriately, "Good Grief").
2. You could take this idea a little further by creating an entire album devoted to working through the grief of losing a loved one or family pet or an album that chronicles the ups and downs during some other difficult season or transition in your life (i.e. cancer journey, unemployment, starting a new school or moving into a new home). I will be using this same idea to create an album for each of my boys to take with them as they head off to college. While I plan to duplicate many of the pages (words of wisdom, favorite family recipes, relational advice, cooking and cleaning tips) each album will be personalized with special memories and notes. Believe it or not, creating albums like these can help you process even the most difficult emotions, to truly work through them and move on.
3. Go even deeper by creating a scrapbook page regarding healthy and unhealthy emotional trends in your family line. So often we barely scratch the surface of our family story and future generations could greatly benefit from our wisdom and insight. Does alcoholism rage through the family line? How about fears or phobias? Depression? Perhaps you have experienced emotional freedom some area of your life - document that story for the benefit of someone else. A scrapbooking spread like this could include a lone self-portrait, an enlarged photograph of a giant tree (representing a family tree), a symbolic photo that represents addiction, etc. - while the focus will be your journaling, a striking image can add to the emotion of your writing. [Journaling of this nature works best for me on the computer.] Your journaling could even be printed up as a vellum overlay so traces of the image bleed through.

You will find an inspiring blog post on the topic of scrapbooking and healing HERE. And a great article on emotions in scrapbooking HERE. And a list of superb page titles HERE.


Once you get past the hump of "this feels weird", expressing yourself on paper can be quite rewarding. I promise.

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