Since the initial creation of Unleash: Heart and Soul Care Sheets, God has shown numerous ways this tool can be beneficial in a Christian’s life.
I’ve used it to deal with confusing situations, challenging emotions and thoughts, and to intentionally check in with God to see what He had to say. My experiences with the tool have been mixed, from meh to amazing. That’s to be expected. It isn’t up to us to decide how God works, but we can make ourselves available to see what work He wants to do.
Unleash Sheets help me stay intentional with God by engaging honestly with Him and making myself available to hear from Him. Sometimes, it seems like there’s nothing to notice. Sometimes what I think I sense is confusing. Sometimes it blows me away and I’m straight up ugly crying. No matter what happens, I move forward choosing to simply notice what happens and respond as needed.
When the Ruminating Thoughts Won’t Go Away
I recently sat down with this tool to deal with thoughts that kept coming to mind. They were causing pain daily and it was keeping me from doing the work I believe God wants me to do.
I needed to deal with the thoughts, and the hurt, but telling words to go away doesn’t work. So, I opened up my Unleash disc bound binder and pulled out the one page sheet.
I didn’t have a lot of time that morning, but I planned to spend time on this so I did. Even if you just have 10-15 minutes to use the tool, it can be powerful. Once you know how the flow works, it’s easier to make the tool work for you.
When I listened to God, I sensed a few words and an image. At first they didn’t make sense. I wasn’t sure this was from Him, but the goal is to notice and write it down. You don’t have to get it right. Just be available and ready to respond.
You can hear more about how I worked through the thoughts with Unleash Sheets and what God revealed on this Facebook Live Video or below from YouTube.
Sorry about the weird cropping. I used my phone and realized after wards that landscape doesn’t produce landscape videos. Oy, hopefully I’ll remember next time. 😉
In the Margins of Life
The original sheet is two pages, front and back. Later, I created a one page version for people who want to use the tool in short time spans, or who prefer less space for writing. After I finished creating the new layout, I decided to give it a test run.
I can write far too many words. I tend to wait to engage with God because I want wide spaces of open time to do so. Silence and peace are preferred. So much so, that I can resist engaging in the margins of life.
That day I had a pocket of 15 minutes while I waited on the family. We were headed somewhere and I was ready to go, but there weren’t. Seemed like a good time to test the process.
To be honest I didn’t expect anything to happen. I quickly processed life events that didn’t seem all that big of a deal. By the time I got to the section for Silence and Reflection, I sensed God reveal something that hit me deeply. I wept healing tears and gratitude welled up inside. I finished the sheet in this short time span and God moved mightily.
As I mentioned before. It’s important to not expect God to move this way, but to be ready for what He already wants to say and do in your life. Unleash Sheets helps me be intentional, even in the margins of life.
Practice Hearing from God
I hear story after story of people who say they can’t hear from God. God is silent. God is distant. Or, they don’t believe God speaks to us today. There is a LOT that could be said on this topic, but I’m going to try and keep this as simple as possible.
First, God wants to speak to us. He speaks through His word. Through prayer. Through music. Through creation. Through people. And directly to our hearts. When I refer to the idea of hearing from God for Unleash Sheets, I am referring to intentionally making ourselves available to hear what God may want us to hear and know.
Second, there are numerous reasons we may not hear from God, which I won’t go into here. For now, these videos by Bob Hamp may be helpful. I’ve included a 2011 version from YouTube below. Here is a newer version on Facebook (2018), but there were some audio issues. Hearing God with Bob Hamp on Facebook.
Third, I recognize that it can feel very frustrating and disappointing when it’s hard to hear from God, or God seems distant. I encourage you to cling to God’s Word and don’t give up praying. God IS with you and He definitely wants to connect with you. He created you and no one could see your value more than He does. He wants you to know it from the core of your being.
One quick side note…sometimes we expect God to tell us something specific when really He wants us to know something different.
Finally, using Unleash Sheets provides an opportunity to practice hearing from God. I suggest 3-5 minutes of silence. How often do we take 3- 5 minutes of silence to just see what God has to say? Also, by working through the details, thoughts, and feelings first, our minds and spirits may be more ready to receive from God.
TIP: If you struggle to notice anything (a word, an impression, a vision, scripture that comes to mind, etc.) try doing the Scripture Focus selection before Silence & Reflection.
ANOTHER TIP: Remember, it’s not about expecting something big and amazing. It’s about being intentional and noticing what thoughts or impressions come to mind and engaging them with God.
When You Face Multiple Life Changes and Choices and You Don’t Know What to Do
I never set out to create this tool. I was in an incredibly challenging season and words wouldn’t flow. No matter how much I wanted to write, I just couldn’t. Still, I needed some creative outlet.
Towards the end of 2014 and I was searching for a new planner. So many options, but it’s tough to find one that works just right for me. I started wondering what it would be like to design a planner, so I had fun drawing layouts. One thing kept resurfacing. I didn’t want just a place to plan tasks. I wanted space to reflect and engage with God, but not in ways I had seen done before.
I sensed God showing me that the boxes I drew were not for a planner. They were for something entirely different, only I didn’t know what it was. I kept working on it. Eventually, Unleash was tested, tried, and sent out into the world. But not until I had the chance to use the process for several really hard decisions.
I needed to hear God desperately. I need direction. Confirmation. Comfort. Anything and everything God had for me, I wanted it.
Unleash Sheets became the way I worked through a tangled mess of thoughts and emotions. It helped me talk to God about them, and sense His comfort. Sometimes I felt clearer in what steps to take, sometimes I didn’t. But, I felt encouraged. My strength and resolve to take really hard steps grew out of my time with God through this tool.
Sometimes there is no clear yes or no answer. Sometimes there are several yes options, but we are unsure of what we want for ourselves and we’re waiting for someone to tell us what to do. No matter what the answer is, God wants us to come to Him as we work through the choices before us. Who knows what he has in store for you, as you wrestle.
Deepen Connection to Who You Really Are and Who God Always Is
God desires relationship with us. And He wants to connect to the real us. When we fake fine or force faith, we aren’t allowing the deeper truths about our hurts, doubts, and struggles to surface. God doesn’t want us to fake our feelings. He wants us to face them—with Him.
When we face the truth of what we’re dealing with, and the reality of who we are that’s both good and bad, we connect to what’s true about us. Fake personas can’t connect to God because God is real. If we hide (the truth, no matter how ugly, bad, or good it is), we miss out on connection with a truly good God.
In the instructions for Unleash Sheets I repeatedly remind users to get honest. Honest with themselves by admitting the thoughts and feelings they have. Honest with God by bringing the good and bad before Him. This honesty helps us deepen connection within ourselves and with God.
TIP: If needed, DESTROY the sheet when you’re done. Not all thoughts need to be viewed by others, especially those who are not safe. Even so, the process of writing them out and getting them out honestly can be so freeing.
No matter how bad bad is, God stays. He remains. He provides grace and peace as we need it. We need to receive it, which is another step in the Unleash Sheets process.
These are a few way I use Unleash Sheets to grow with God. If you’re interested in giving them a try, you can find them at the link below. For video overviews and additional tips, please check out the video playlist on YouTube.