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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

When Darkness Comes (Leighton Ford)

August 1, 2016

I like a practice recommended by Thomas Keating which he calls guard of the heart. It is a way to note and release the emotions that weigh us down.

When some particular ‘darkness’ – grief, anger, doubt – weighs in, he suggests three ways to deal with it.

One is to turn back to whatever we are doing.

Another is to turn our attention to some other occupation.

The third and most important is to turn that feeling over to Christ.

I have tried to follow his advice by asking myself, for example: “What prompted these tears, this anger, this desire, this hurt? What do they connect to in me?”

Often I can identify a need for love, security, or understanding. I pause just long enough to recall that God alone can fully meet that need or longing.

Then as best I can I give these thoughts over to God – and move on!

So, I pay attention to the feelings. Accept them. Let them go. And turn my attention to what comes next.

Leighton Ford

Adapted from The Attentive Life (2008, InterVarsity Press)

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