(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: Renewal by Dr Ken McGill)
The picture above is a “snapshot” of your 7 Core Areas, based on a passage in the Bible in which we derive the “Two Greatest Commandments” (Luke 10:25–28; see Part 1 of 2 for this scripture). We are encouraged to provide care to our 7 core areas, and a key question for you to consider, is “How could and will you Love (defined as ‘to esteem, cherish, respect, favor, honor, accept, prize, relish and be devoted to) these 7 Core Areas of your life, then translate the same love to others in a healthy, positive, balanced, meaningful, fruitful and respectful manner? Please keep in mind that Therapy [Therapia] or Healing occurs in ourselves when we provide care, attention, help, service, allow ourselves to be ministered to, and when we minister to others (Matthew 10:1, 8).
The following reflection questions are intended to help you think about how you might provide care to yourself in each of your own core areas.
1. How has and could your Spirituality affect the other six core areas of your life? In which core area or “row” would you like your Higher Power to work first, or, in which row do you need Him to work the most?
2. Examine your Spiritual Core beliefs, that is how you see yourself, how your needs are met spiritually, how your relationships are guided and developed and how your sexuality is influenced by your spiritual beliefs. What changes or adjustments do you need to implement with your values, beliefs, behavior and experiences in order to achieve positive and desired outcomes, one day at a time?
3. What daily Spiritual Enrichment Activities and Spiritual Disciplines have and could help you to accomplish your goals in the spiritual domain of your life (i.e., Retreats, Readings, Fasting, Solitude, Service, Worship, Generosity, Fellowship with your Spiritual Mentor/Guides/Sponsors/Pastors or Therapists)?
1. What thinking and/or behavioral adjustment(s) may need to be made regarding your life philosophy, that is the thoughts that organize and determine how you go about living your life one day at a time, so that at any given point in your journey your results resemble one who is “wise and skilled at living?”
2. What “cognitive restructuring” will you engage in (i.e., working to restructure any “automatic” negative thoughts, old rules and old roles) so that you replace them with different or positive ones? In addition, what changes will you make in your life and relationships so that your chosen values help you to mature your “Functional Adult” and develop the positive life script that you wish to live by?
3. What materials, resources and relationships will you access that could assist you to make the cognitive and intellectual shift with the core area(s) of your life that are currently challenging you the most?
1. How is your “emotional self-awareness,” that is, are you able to identify and report what you are feeling at any given time? Which of your emotions are difficult for you to open up and share with others? What emotions are the most difficult for you to manage? Who are the “safe people” in your life, with whom you could identify and report your emotions, with the goal of understanding how your feelings affect your behavior? What behaviors, if demonstrated, will help you to feel safe and eventually help you to open up emotionally?
2. Are you identifying then asking for what you want and need and are you becoming comfortable with that reality, especially since your emotions impact your thoughts and your behavior?
3. How do you “de-intensify” emotionally charged situations? What psychological and spiritual boundaries need repair and if repair could help you to feel safe and confident in your own skin? (i.e., Listening, Speaking, Physical, Emotional, Financial and Sexual boundaries to name a few)?
1. How are you working to become more astute to the messages that your body is telling you, specifically as your health and wellness are affected? What changes do you need to consider and make in order to become healthy in this area for your overall health, wellness and self-growth?
2. How are you purposefully using your physical strength and your body to achieve your revised personal and relationship goals?
1. What is your personal definition of healthy sexuality, which reflects respectful self/other behavior and what additional “values” work do you need to do in order to become comfortable articulating and living in this reality?
2. How do the other six core areas of your life affect and shape this personal and powerful part of who you are? What “boundary repair and personal enhancement” needs to occur in this area for your personal and relational benefit?
1. What and how are your “re-creational” activities helping you to deal with your stated challenges?
2. What intentional, healthy and fun changes do you implement that will assist you to reach a depth and a quality of life for your continued personal benefit and relational growth? If your family and friends are your “teammates,” what specific role do you need them to fulfill in your life right now?
3. What character values (see Process Point #10) will you consider growing and adding to the “garden” of your life (and marriage) as you work toward achieving personal and relationship changes?
1. What meaningful, purposeful and perhaps philanthropic activity would you consider engaging in to become an agent of change (or salt and light — Matthew 5:13–16) that would result in shared feelings of esteem, pride and continued growth in this season of your life?
Thank you for taking a few moments to contemplate how you will intentionally and therapeutically provide care to your life and most importantly, with the help of your God, determine how you will live.