In a recent talk with a sweet friend, we lamented how we can live under the “oughts” of life rather than biblical truth. Do you ever do this? (“I ought to have these gifts, I ought to love these things, I ought to feel this way, and so on!”)
Years ago, I remember learning how to write down a “Phantom List.” A “Phantom List” is the unconscious list that runs through our minds of who we are supposed to be. There are so many women who have found this powerfully helpful!! Part of the effectiveness of writing down a “ Phantom List” is that you learn how to step outside emotion, stress, spiritual warfare, and identity struggles to simply write down thoughts. The trick is to write things down HOW WE HEAR THEM, NOT JUST IF THEY ARE RIGHT OR WRONG. Wanna try? Since it always helps to do this exercise together, here’s my latest Phantom List. (Vulnerability, much?!)
Most Recent Phantom list
1. My home should be decorated (& redecorated!) often . (I should also love this!)
2. I should not be so sanguine! 🙂
3. I should cook better meals daily and never run through a drive -thru .( #LAZY)
4. I should be administrative and delight in bookkeeping.
5. I should be the most patient mother ever because I had to live through infertility & miscarriage.
6. I should be free of any vanity and should not care that my wrinkles seem um, bolder. (And we all know, BOLDER rhymes with OLDER! Ha!)
Now, when we step back and look at this , it shows itself for what it is -false! After writing down a few of these thoughts, begin we have to ask ourselves a couple questions: Is this item on my list biblical truth or social pressure? Are the areas I need to grow? Is the leading of the Holy Spirit or a fleshly desire for control? Every time I jot down a “phantom list” and compare my thinking with these questions, God gives light and freedom! When I sit with Him and ask Him to reveal what’s deeply in my heart, I’m always surprised yet always, always given peace. He is good like that. Today, we can replace “the phantom list” with the words of Christ…and just breathe. 🙂
John 8:31-32 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.