Finding My Way: How Examining My Thoughts Led to New Opportunities
June 20, 2022
By Johnna Sullivan
“You should dance with the skeletons in your closet. Learn their names, so you can ask them to leave. Have coffee with your demons. Ask them important questions like, “What keeps you here?” Learn what doors they keep finding open, and kick them out.” – Unknown
The last few months, I have done just that. I’ve kicked the demons out of hiding places I didn’t know were there. I stared the shouting voices in the eye and didn’t cover my ears. I looked into the mirror and, while the crippling voice of self-hatred snarled its way around me, I didn’t back down. I won’t play those games anymore. I won’t ever look in the mirror again and not be thankful I’m alive. Plain and simple.
But that’s just the exterior. What happened in these last few months was an overhaul of the interior. A quieting. A reckoning. I began to learn again – something I haven’t done in so long! To learn felt like pieces of me were chipping away and, at the same time, I was being poured into – filled to the brim with knowledge, tools, and the ability to see clearly.
I heard about the Metanoia Catholic Academy through my friend Megan, and I watched as her mind was transformed, she took control of her thoughts, and had her eyes opened to what God really wanted for her!
I ended up joining, too. I was ready. I was desperate, even.
I had listened to Matt and Erin’s podcast one day while on a long drive. The podcast was about buffering, which are the things we do to avoid feeling our emotions. As I listened, I felt the truth spread throughout me. I realized that I was buffering. I was buffering by using social media too often, reading too many books (yes it’s a thing!), and even sleeping. I was avoiding what I was actually feeling by filling my time with unnecessary things – things that didn’t allow for growth. In fact, they hindered it. The podcast ended, I arrived where I was going, and I deleted my social media accounts. I was going to commit to learning about myself!
I scheduled a coaching call with Erin through the Metanoia Catholic Academy. I began to examine my belief systems, looking at the thoughts I’ve told myself for years and years. I also began journaling using the Metanoia Catholic Journal.
I was learning how to create space between myself and my thoughts, to examine them, and consider the possibility that they may not always be true. It was difficult at first, but the more I learned, and with each workshop I listened to, the negative thoughts felt more and more like intruders. They became more obvious as I grew in my awareness. I was ready, armed with the tools I needed to remove them from my mind and to let God’s grace wash over me, leading me to safety.
I learned my despair came from my sorrows. And once I sat in it and stopped judging it, I was able to process that emotion and it melted away.
The courses in the Metanoia Catholic Academy became part of my morning routine. I’d listen to a lesson, journal my thoughts, and God opened my eyes to what was waiting for me to see. I prayed for vices to become virtue. I walked towards those virtues, calling them by name, clothing myself in them. They didn’t seem so far off anymore. They became tangible, possible even!
The last three months have been so necessary. Before, I was a ship on open waters, just floating with no direction at all. As I have gone through the Academy and been coached by Erin, the dreams started buzzing around me. They swarmed me. I began to believe that I could have all the good things I’ve dreamed of. And not only that, but I began to believe that God wanted them for me!
I hadn’t really taken action in my life in almost eight years. But as I began to overturn my negative thoughts and imagine what else could be possible, that changed. Recently, my friend Rachel and I just started a non-profit called The Waymaker Collections. Throughout this ministry, I’ll get to use my words, and the gifts God gave me, to make a change, and make a way.
The Metanoia Catholic Academy was a jumpstart to everything I didn’t know I needed.
It made me look again at my life. To respect it. To honor it.
It made me look my demons in the eye and demand they leave.
Growth doesn’t end this side of heaven. But there’s beauty in that. I’ll forever be using the tools I learned in the Academy to navigate life. And it’s only the beginning for me. I have so much more to learn.