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.

2 thoughts on “The Thought Rhyming Practice”

  1. I don’t know how well I’ll get through this exercise, but reading Psalm 139 is helpful as is Micah 7:18.

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