The Thought Rhyming Practice

Thought Rhyming

see God seeing you

  1. I can see you
  2. I can hear you
  3. I can understand how hard this is for you
  4. I am glad to be with you
  5. I can do something about what you are going through

Step 1) I can see you

The way we respond to the question, “How does God see me?” is key to determining if we will move toward or away from God.  In thought rhyming we write from God’s perspective. God watches us with love and describes to us what He observes. To begin this for yourself, you will describe what is happening around you and inside you (as much as you are able) through the eyes of God.

1. Begin writing about your observable actions and surroundings as if God is describing them back to you.

Examples are:

“I can see you sitting at the table.”

“I see you drinking a cup of coffee.”

“I can see you watching TV.”

“I can see you staring at the computer screen.”

“I saw you pacing back & forth in the dark.”

“I have seen you yelling at your kids.”

2. Write about your body movements, sensations, expressions, or physiological responses that others might not be able to notice with their bare eyes. 

Examples are:

“I can see that your jaws & fists are clenched.”

“I saw the heaviness in your chest making it difficult to breathe.”

“I can see that your shoulders are scrunched up.”

“I see you holding your breath.”

“I can see your heart beating fast.”

“I see that you are about to explode.”

“I can see your eyes tightening as tears are welling up.”

“I saw your mind going blank and your body freezing up.”

“I can see the knots in your stomach churning.”

Step 2) I can hear you

Now we answer the question, “How do I think God hears me?” We write what God is hearing us say out loud as well as what we are thinking internally. Listen as God describes back to you what He hears & write down His description. At this point we are just allowing God to describe and help us bring our thoughts to the surface, regardless of whether we judge them as good or bad. It may be challenging for us to believe that God can hear all our thoughts without condemning us. It is easy to get stuck because we start to judge our thoughts and ourselves. This step is focused on perceiving the fact that God hears all our thoughts. He is allowing us to experience being truly listened to instead of having us experience correction or teaching. In order to stay relationally connected, we must experience being heard.

We may be surprised at the sheer number of thoughts going through our mind. It will be tempting to dismiss many of them. But it is important to get in the habit of writing these thoughts down (naming them), even if they seem unusual or irrelevant, as it can be very helpful to bring to the surface something that needs resolution. In other words, there can be lies or vows embedded in these thoughts that were developed as a way of coping with our pain. When those thoughts remain hidden & are not replaced with truth, we retain pain.

1. Begin writing as God simply says back to you what He hears from your speech & actions.


Examples are:

“I can hear you yelling & screaming.”

“I heard you crying quietly.”

“I can hear you say to your spouse/child/co-worker/parents, ‘I hate you.'”

“Get away from me.”

“I do not trust you.”

“I feel unsure about this situation.”

“You do not know me.”

“I am done with you.”

2. Continue writing about unspoken words in your mind. God simply recognizes what He hears from our inner thoughts. If there are too many thoughts, you can list them in bullet points.

Examples are:

“I hear you judging yourself.”

“I hear your heart & mind racing.”

“I heard the excitement in your voice.”

“I hear you saying, ‘I am dumb. Here we go again!'”

“I have heard you trying to calm yourself.”

“I hear you saying to yourself, ‘I should be angry! It’s not fair. She can’t do this to me. I should have known. I wish I could have done it differently.'”

“I hear the deep desires of your heart.”

“I am hearing your fears that you are too ashamed to acknowledge.”

“I hear the quiet resolution in your heart.”

Step 3) I can understand how big (hard) this is for you

Sometimes we minimize our pain. Often we deny ourselves permission to receive comfort for the seemingly small moments of pain. We minimize our apparently minor trials, compared to the perceived bigger challenges of others. We do this to ourselves & others. God, however, sees, hears, knows, & understands why a particular issue is so big for us. God knows our history. No matter how insightful a therapist may be or wise a friend is, only God can ultimately know the intricacies of our lives & experiences.

Validation moves mental experiences toward resolution by accurately stating their “size,” that is to say, intensity & impact. Without validation we will not be comforted. Comfort follows validation & gives us peace. When we validate how big or hard our experiences were, we can then calm our brain.

In this third step we put in words our impression of God’s accurate understanding of how important something is to us. He is able to illuminate our responses & grant us forgiveness, understanding, & comfort. He also gives us a model to follow. Through this step we may discover we are reacting to something in the past.

Examples are:

“I can see this is a pretty big deal for you.”

“This feels all-consuming for you.”

“It looks like this is about to overtake you.”

“This is as big as when your parents announced their divorce.”

“This is a big deal, but workable.”

“I understand how sad you feel about this.”

“I understand how angry you are; it makes sense to me.”

“I understand why this is so hard for you. You have always felt alone so even though you understand in your head, your heart is about to burst with fear.”

“I understand why this is so big & scary for you. I know you feel like you are not able to get my attention, and that scares you. I know that growing up, you or your experiences were never the priority for your parents.”

Step 4) I am glad to be with you, and treat your weaknesses tenderly

We think that our sin or weaknesses will keep God away from us. We might even think God cannot associate with sinners. However, God is always glad to be with us just as we are. Whether we feel connected to God or not, none of our weaknesses keep Him away. In God’s presence we are transformed. Peter was restored once he experienced that Jesus still wanted him in spite of his weakness (John 21).

In step 4 you will write God’s confirmation of His love for you by hearing Him say, “I am glad to be with you, My child.” Write what you perceive God might be saying to you in a kind, tender, & loving way.

Examples are:

“I am glad to be with you, and I see your weaknesses tenderly.”

“I am always glad to interact with you anytime including this moment of frustration/pain/sadness. You might judge & condemn your lack of trust in My goodness & love, but I never condemn you. Rather, I am glad & thankful that you are here with me.”

Step 5) I can do something about what you are going through

God not only validates our pain, but also guides us in our difficult situations.

In step 5 of thought rhyming, we write down what God might be saying to us about how He will be with us & help us. We may be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the past & given hope of His continuing work in, around, and through us. Scripture quotes & stories often come to mind during this time. Sometimes we find God asking us to do the difficult & hard work of living as His children. While reminding us who we are, God invites us to live according to our true heart. The promise of His constant presence, His unfailing love & His pure goodness will sustain us. Write your impression of what God is offering you.

Examples are:

“I will help you. I will help you to continue to see more clearly who I am and what I have been doing in your life and in this world. I will continue to make your heart tender so that the seeds of My Word & My Spirit will be able to grow & thrive in your life. I have you in the palm of My hands. I love you.”

“My Spirit will hold you. We are praying for you. We are upholding you. We are protecting you. We are shielding you & always encouraging you. Look up, My child, in your despair & see through the eyes of heaven. We will never let you go, & we will never let you stay down. We love you intensely & without borders. Our love for you is greater than your inability to trust & your idolatry & your fear. We will get through this. We are protecting your children. We are your God, the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit. We are powerful beyond measure.”

“I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Meditate on My goodness & on My truth. You will begin to see clearly, & the spirit of confusion & self-condemnation will leave. I will be with you tonight & give you good rest. I want you to sleep knowing that we can resolve this together. I will give you the words to speak to clarify the situation, & I will give you a heart of flesh so that you may be able to see from her perspective.”

These five steps form the sequence of thought rhyming with God. His perfect attunement & validation reveal to us that He clearly sees. God is glad to be with us in all circumstances. He is always initiating the restoration of our relationships with Him & others. He is continuously working on our behalf. “Immanuel Journaling” allows us to be more aware of these truths.

Thought Rhyming


As mentioned yesterday, I wanted to share with you the practice we took part in at our last contemplative service on Sunday nite.

It is called “Thought Rhyming.” Let me tell you briefly why it has this name. Ephesian 2:10 says that we are God’s “handiwork” or “workmanship” according to many translations. Some even say “masterpiece” which is perhaps more descriptive.  The Greek word Paul used here was “poiema” which has come to mean “poetry” in its English translation. Now originally, Paul most likely meant “fabric of God’s creation” thus handiwork. But you can see the beauty in humans being God’s poetry.

Poetry in Scripture does not rhyme sounds; it follows the Hebrew pattern of rhyming thoughts. You see this a lot in Proverbs and of course the Psalms. We can actually rhyme the thoughts of our Heavenly Father. And that is where this practice derived its name–“Thought Rhyming.”

The idea behind this practice is to see God seeing you. As we said yesterday, it’s one thing, a foundational thing indeed, to have a healthy and right view of God. It is another, perhaps even deeper thing, to have a healthy view of God’s view of you!

Thought Rhyming is a way to write out, in a healthy manner, how you perceive God is seeing and hearing you as well as what He may be offering you. It’s really an amazing, beautiful, and helpful practice for nourishing your spirit and your soul as we talked about yesterday.

This is simply one way to become keenly aware of, intensely focus upon, and deeply embed the core truth of the universe that we are fully seen, known, accepted, and loved by our Creator–who is unconditional love, whose mercy endures forever, and who forgives us all our sins, because right relationship is more important to God than our most deplorable acts and thoughts.

OK, here is the file (it would be a little much to put right here):


Soul Health


So we’ve been talking about the energy we run on day to day–how we are made to run on the fuel of God Himself. Yesterday we threw out the question “How do we drink from the Well of Living Water which is Jesus?”

First off, I’d like to put forth two sentences that have been very helpful and shaping in my journey:

A soul is healthy to the extent that it maintains a strong connection and receptivity to God.


The strength of a relationship is determined by the quality and frequency of your interactions.


Where I see the most neglect in the spiritual life these days is a lack of authentic prayer.

How do we drink from the Well of Living Water? Authentic, focused time with God.

There are public practices of worship and teaching, as well as interpersonal practices of spiritual friendship or partnership. Very important. But where I see the most lack is personal connection to God individually.

We drink via directed, focused attention. To simply take a minimum amount of, say, seven minutes a day to direct your attention to nothing but God alone, shutting out all else (difficult at first but gets easier over time) to connect with and receive from God.

How could this look?

Perhaps just a check-in or run-through of your day with God, taking time to notice He was there every minute.

Maybe going through all you are grateful for from the previous day in a personal dialogue with God, not merely writing down what you’re thankful for as we have advocated here in the past. That is good for you, but it is conversing with Jesus that maintains that connection with Him.

It could be reading just one verse of Scripture in the morning for those seven plus minutes, and then chewing on it all day with God. Or maybe even just one word from one verse in order to open yourself up to what God may be saying to you through it.

To just sit in silence with God “unagenda-ed” and undefended, in order to receive what you most need–Himself.

Even science is showing that we are losing our ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time, and we are paying dearly for it–losing sense of who we are, and of who God is.

How we drink from the well and maintain the health of our soul is directed, focused attention upon God in a posture of receptivity. This may or may not include words.

To put it succinctly:


Authentic prayer of the heart.

The Source of Living Water


John 7:37-39

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'”

Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The person who believes in Jesus as Lord of all will drink of the Spirit which derives from Jesus, and this shall be the source of their energy and life.

That is really all we want to say today. That Jesus Christ, the risen person who is alive today, and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit is the source of life from which we who believe drink and are filled. Going anywhere else but Him alone for life will leave you thirsty to varying degrees.

Jesus is not some dead guy of the past. He was not merely a great teacher or good moral example to follow.

He is.

He is the source for all life and your soul will not find rest until it rests in Him.

He said, “Come to ME.” Come directly to Me. If you are not feasting upon the risen Christ for your energy, then you are living beneath what you were lovingly created for!

How do we drink from the Well that is Jesus?

Perhaps we can talk about that tomorrow.

Just know today and meditate upon the fact that Jesus Himself is your source of life. You need go to no other person, no book, no church to receive life. You need must go to the Life Giver Himself who is always open-armed waiting for you to come to Him. After that, AFTER, He then may direct you to people or books or a church. Maybe. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Him.

Check out Isaiah 65:1-2 sometime today.

Starbucks Fumes


Yesterday a friend replied to The Daily Ripple on the difficulty of being with the suffering, and it inspired further thoughts on the subject.

I wanted to share her opening line I found so profound and thought-provoking:

I would say that suffering is draining, so if you don’t have energy from the true Life Giver to be able to pour out Spirit love, then you’re just trying to operate on your Starbucks fumes.

Wow. That says so much, doesn’t it? “Starbucks fumes.” This is so metaphorically rich in just two words. You can see the deep meaning begging for extrapolation, can’t you?

Suffering does indeed drain the other person. This isn’t bad or wrong, it just is. Therefore, unless you’re regularly drinking from the Well of Living Water and eating the Bread of Life, you won’t be able to be much comfort to those who are going through the rough times of life around you.

But many of us are living our lives of no margin burning for energy our Starbucks fumes as opposed to the jet fuel of God’s grace-His Spirit and energy which directs our steps and replenishes us supernaturally.

You can’t do a 6,000 mile road trip on one tank of gas and no sleep, trust me, we did a 6K road trip this summer. Yet that’s what we try to do. You must stop. You must refuel. You must rest. The more we try to do, the less we have available for others. The less margin. No margin means no availability for the person on the side of life’s road who’s been beaten down and in desperate need of a helping hand, which often is a listening ear AKA a fully engaged spirit.

My friend also mentioned a man from her church so inspiring because he seemed to always be at the right place at the right time with an encouraging word, prayer, or meal. He doesn’t keep a meticulous Google calendar, she says, he just walks in the Spirit. He’s not even particularly smart or gifted. He simply prays, reads the Bible, and believes!

Who is Jesus?


Who is Jesus?

Who do you say He is?

This is the most important question of your life.

Not what does church say?

Not what do your parents say?

But what do you say?

Who do you say Jesus is?

Perhaps takes some time today to sincerely ponder this and plumb its depths. Many of us, even church-goers, have yet to give this question the attention it deserves.



It’s been said that to maintain proper perspective, you must keep your own sin ever before you, reminding you of your deep need for God and His continual forgiveness; and to keep others’ sins out of  your mind, covering them with the blankey of your love (I Peter 4:8).

One person suggests to “let your awareness of your sin and sins be real and intense, but never let it degenerate into self-loathing–an ugly deviation from attention to God.”

An ugly deviation from attention to God.

That is the best definition of self-loathing I have ever heard!


SELF-LOATHING–> An ugly deviation from attention to God.

Francis of Assisi said (in the context of his order of friars) to “take care not to be disturbed or angered at the sin or the evil of another, because the devil wishes to destroy many through the fault of one.”

The devil wishes to destroy many through the fault of one.


How true.

One pastor falls, and many lose their faith.

My wifey showed me a post the other day that basically said: if you have lost your faith in God because of a bad experience with some church, then your faith was never in God to begin with, it was in people.