From Katherena Higashi, School Director:
The Lord has given me the great privilege of helping many people throughout my years in ministry, particularly in how to “process” their unprocessed passed wounds – the emotional “baggage” that we collect as we suffer the consequences of the wrong choices we all make or by sins that were committed against us by the people and circumstances of our lives.
One thing I have come to recognize, especially through my youth and children’s ministry experience, has been that most of the major baggage people carry came to them when they were young, before they were in their teens. I believe if we train and equip our children in how to identify and properly “process” these wounds and negative feelings, that we can prevent these issues of the heart from making them emotionally disabled when they are adults. As the Body of Christ and with God’s help, we can help end this generational cycle of emotionally crippled people who are so weighed down by the events of the past that they cannot dream with God anymore. We can remove the roots of anger and bitterness that cause us as hurting people to hurt those around us as these issues “blow up” and devastate those in our lives (especially our children). I believe that we can produce a healthy generation of children who walk in wholeness of heart and are emotionally strong and therefore free to fulfill the calling and destiny of God on their lives.
As an effective tool to help in this area, I created a simple process, represented by the acronym “IWIN”, that when put into practice will help children properly process negative emotions before they can stuff them down into their hearts:
- “I” stands for “identify our bad feelings” – When bad things happen, we teach our children to quickly take an emotional inventory (i.e., how they are feeling, what they are thinking, etc.).
- “W” stands for “wash my bad feelings with the blood of Jesus” – Jesus is our healer so we teach them to look to God and ask Him to “wash away” all the bad feelings with His Blood. This includes forgiving others and/or forgiving ourselves in the process.
- “I” stands for “input a new feeling from heaven” – We instruct our children to ask God to take the bad feelings (i.e., anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, fear, sadness, etc.) and then to replace them with His goodness (i.e., forgiveness, graciousness, humility, understanding, truth, love, joy, etc.).
- “N” stands for “new now” – Jesus said that He “makes all things new”, which means that He can restore us completely as if the bad things that happened never did; this includes a restoration of innocence! This process sets us free from being “trapped” in the past because of our emotions and enables us to continue on to maturity free from any restrictions of the past. Having a “new now” is so very important and Jesus makes this possible!
Many of us have been deceived into thinking that we can ignore our wounds and that they do not affect us later in life. Nothing can be further from the truth. Or worse yet, we allow this emotional baggage to weigh us down and even cause us to get “stuck” in life and not grow into maturity. Practicing the “IWIN” method enables us to grow in discernment of what we are feeling and then to invite God’s power so that He can redeem the bad situation, “turn it for good”, and cause growth from something that could have stunted us.
The next step is to address one of the greatest weapons the enemy uses to cause us to lose our hope and trust in God. This weapon is condemnation. Condemnation is a dream killer because it causes us to blame ourselves for our hurt or failure and to become trapped by doubt in God’s ability. We must move on from the mistake and the best way to do this is to recognize it as just a normal part of our learning and growth. So, as part of the “IWIN” process, we declare, “We all make mistakes, but a wise person learns from their mistakes and does not repeat it.” This emphasizes to us that what happened was allowed and intended for good and for growth.
We then take this a step further and declare, “But a wise leader learns from other people’s mistakes”. This statement trains our minds to look to the lives, examples, and experiences of those around us and to learn from them so that we can avoid their mistake and accelerate our own personal growth and development.
The “IWIN” process teaches our children that God is not looking for perfection (a person free from mistakes) but for those who will allow Him to transform them into His image through life’s negative and positive experiences, trusting and depending on Him every step of the way.