The Power of Naming Your Struggles

naming struggles

“We can’t make progress until we make sense.”

We’re not looking for more information. Scroll through Amazon or your podcast app on any topic and overwhelm sets in quickly. While we’re oversaturated with information, we desperately need to grow in self-awareness. 

I spend most of my week coaching pastors and kingdom leaders to see what’s below the surface and to pay attention to it. With the constant pull from those around us, we are usually more others-aware than self-aware, which leaves us starved for clarity. One antidote to this is to begin naming things.   

Naming things is powerful. I get to help leaders name the pressures, beliefs, behaviors, fears and next steps that are swirling in their heads and hearts. We’ve led through a lot, and change puts wear and tear on our heart, soul, mind and body. The simple act of naming something you haven’t named before can begin a pathway to healing you didn’t know you needed to address. We can’t make progress until we make sense. Identity and name the critical things you are facing.

Consider this:

• Adam’s jobs in the garden were to name and cultivate.

• Jesus changed Peter’s name, giving him a new identity.

• Names people have called us shape us for years (for good and for ill).

• Paul, after naming specific sins, said such things should not be named among believers (Eph. 5:3); we name temptations we face to avoid them.

“While we’re oversaturated with information, we desperately need to grow in self-awareness.”  

I often share this simple relationship—clarity up, overwhelm down. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try putting a name to the pressures, fears and challenges you’re dealing with. Remember that it can be clarifying. It can form and inform your prayers, team meetings, Sabbath (or desperate need for one) and planning. 

Here are a few questions that I didn’t create, but that I use every week to analyze what’s unfolding in my life and leadership. 

* Where am I thriving? Take a few moments to thank God for these things. Start with celebration. 

* Where am I struggling? Get on your knees and pray through these areas. 

* What feels confusing right now? Seek God for clarity in these areas. 

* What’s missing right now? These are gaps in your life or longings of your heart. Acknowledge them and open up to God about them. 

* What emotion am I feeling but struggling to name? This is a chance to be honest before yourself, God and others. What is below the surface?  

* What are my next steps? In light of the new awareness you may have found after answering these questions, you can make a plan for going forward. 

God invites us into obedience, but we often don’t even know how we’re actually doing. This is a perfect season to ask some hard questions, check in with yourself and invite the Father in at a deeper level. 

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From Outreach Magazine  J.D. Greear: Life Lived for Eternity