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What do you need to surrender? Spirituality & REBT

The Christian Perspective

John 3:8 - The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (NIV)


In this passage, we find Jesus teaching about life in the Spirit to one of the religious leaders of his day. This particular passage has always stuck out to me as a verse to live by. Notice that Jesus did not say, “So it might be with everyone born of the Spirit.” He’s saying that the life of a true believer will be like the wind in the way it is led.

For me, this all points back to an essential heart posture. Being a Christian is about having a heart that says, “Father, I trust you. I know you always have my best interest at heart and I want to follow you. I recognize that I almost never fully know what you’re up to in my life and that’s ok. My heart’s sole desire and passion is to follow you wherever you may lead.”

When we endeavor to surrender every aspect of our life to God, we are setting ourselves up for an extraordinary journey. We’re asking Jesus to sit in the driver’s seat of our lives and to take us wherever he desires. While this may sound simple, it is certainly not easy. It means laying our dreams, fears, ambitions and many of our plans on the table, and saying to God, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

In order to embrace this way of life, we must confront the voice of the enemy that tries to convince us that following God is a reckless idea. The enemy constantly whispers lies to us that God is out to get us and that ultimately, he will let us down. To combat this lie and others like it, we are called to have a steadfast commitment to the truth of God’s word found in Bible study, prayer and the fellowship of other believers.

I don’t know about you, but I desperately crave the adventure that God has for my family and me. I want the essence of that adventure to be evident in our relationships, our marriage, our children, our vocations, finances and every aspect of our lives. For those who sense this invitation to Jesus’ adventure of a lifetime, my encouragement is to respond daily with a resounding, “Yes!”

Practical Application

by Jessie Howell, Clinical Counseling Student

You may not subscribe to Christian beliefs, but I dare say, that we can all relate to being held back by unhelpful beliefs. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) refers to these beliefs as irrational beliefs. Whether those irrational beliefs come from "the enemy" or our own false perceptions, there are times when our unhelpful beliefs stop us from living the life we want.

How do we remove these false perceptions?

Ideally, you would find a skilled therapist to help you build the skills to challenge these beliefs and test them against reality. Find distance between your beliefs and what evidence you have for or against maintaining those beliefs. If they are not helping you adapt and grow in the direction of love and compassion, they are likely not going to help you reach your goals. Once you investigate enough to weed out what is and is not helpful, you can begin to be intentional about which beliefs you have about yourself and the world. Which would you rather keep and which would you rather lay down on the road to awakening?

Whether you choose to seek the help of a therapist or rely on your own research on the subject (which has its own valid approach), the primary focus should always center on self-realization.

Everyone has the ability to achieve self-realization, but blockages (unhelpful perceptions/ assumptions about others or yourself), can make growth more difficult. The responsibility of the counselor (or yourself) is to help remove those blockages.

Removing Blockages to Growth

1. Acknowledge irrational/ unhelpful beliefs

You know that inner critic voice? The one that asks, "did you remember to turn off the stove?... because you always forget something" or its judgmental cousin that says, "you can't do that, you're not smart enough."

That voice can be helpful at times when it reminds you to turn your oven off. However, when it begins to introduce irrational/unhelpful beliefs, it becomes a problem.

The first step is acknowledging the irrational/unhelpful belief.

Sounds easy, right? Not so much. It takes practice, time and patience to develop an ear for them. Inner beliefs can be difficult to pinpoint. This is where a professional counselor can be of assistance to sort of hold up a mirror and reflect back the inconsistencies or judgments that you might be so used to hearing, you don't realize the dialogue has gotten so negative. One key concept to keep in mind is that we all have the ability to make the changes that we want to see in our lives. Most of us just need support to do it.

Once you've identified this belief, write it down. Get familiar with the uncomfortable thoughts you're having. This is where the growth really begins.

2. Dispute irrational beliefs

There are many Rational Emotive Belief Therapy (REBT) worksheets to be found on google, but the basic principle here is to write down any:

  • objective evidence that this belief is true

  • proof that the belief is false

  • proof that the belief is true

  • what if answers

What's the worst-case scenario?

What happens if I do not receive what I think I must in this situation?

What will happen if my worst fear about this belief comes true?

If the worst-case scenario were to come true, is there anything good that could come of it?

Obviously, these steps can't and aren't intended to replace therapy, but can be a starting point in understanding irrational thoughts and how they influence our lives.

As a supplement, here's a worksheet to help you challenge irrational beliefs.

Download PDF • 91KB

If you're interested in learning more about therapy and removing obstacles to your self-realization, contact us at Tides Therapy & Consulting and check out Irvin Yalom's book, The Gift of Therapy:

Tides Therapy receives a small commission on any purchases used with links above through Amazon Associates but does not receive payment for advertising these items.

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