Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pesky Emotions

I've started my year out well, on the way to meeting my primary goal for 2011. Granted, I'm not even 3 weeks in, but so far so good. I am reading my bible every day and I am completely caught up (without ever being behind) on my daily reading plan. I am also keeping to my 2nd goal for the year, which is journaling to the Lord on a daily basis. In fact, many days, it's been multiple times a day.

Like I said though, I haven't even hit the 21 day remark. 21 days is one of the many theories about how long it takes to create a habit. I've also heard 40 days. I'm not sure how long it actually takes to create a habit, but I know exactly how long it takes to break one, a single day. So, there is no pride in my affirmation that things are going well, because I know however long I make it, stopping is so much easier than continuing on.

I have to admit though, there has been plenty of inspiration to dig in to the word and be consistent in seeking the Lord. Things are tough, lots isn't looking good for us currently, and the fact is, when you know things are out of your hands, it's a lot easier to be faithful in seeking the hands they're in. Of course even as I type those words I have to chuckle at the irony, because the fact is, things are always in His hands. Not even the very next breath is guaranteed without His approval, so whatever I "place in His hands," the reality is, I'm just acknowledging they're already there.

Fourth paragraph and I've already gone off on two different tangents.

So, I have been sensing some of the benefits that come from abiding in the Lord's presence. And in case you weren't sure, that's a big chuck of what abiding is, praying and reading the Word. Abiding is a beautiful thing. And there is a promise that comes with it, "If you abide in Me, you will bear much fruit..." (John 15:5) Fruit? Yes, fruit, you remember the list, right? ...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... (Galatians 5:22-23) What wonderful, luscious fruits they are. Even in small doses they are delectable to the soul. And I have sensed them. It's been really nice.

Then there are days like today. I haven't done anything any differently. I am seeking, reading, praying, meditating, even proclaiming. I am doing all I am supposed to do to the best of my ability. Not out of "have to" pressures, but out of devotion, because I really want more of the Lord. I am drawing near. And yet, out of nowhere, I feel as though something just seems to have disappeared, left me. I feel... low. My heart is... heavy.

Pesky emotions, sometimes they just have a will of their own.

It started last night. There are some things that are bothering me. I have concerns, I have hurts, I'm disheartened by some things, offended by others. But who doesn't? Life is life. We all have stuff in our lives that we would change if we could. But like a wave, the negative emotions have come in, and pulled me out.

I found myself in the shower this morning, close to tears. Crying isn't a bad thing (I suppose) but it's definitely not something I care for. Truth be told, I can't stand to let someone else see me cry, and not a big fan of crying alone, but wanting to cry without knowing the source? Drives me right to the edge. I want no part. "Sometimes you just need a good cry." That's a statement that isn't really a part of my reality.

By the time I got to church this morning, I felt like I was in a storm. The problem was, the storm was brewing completely inside of me. Hurts and frustrations rising to the surface made even being at church difficult. But, I was holding my own.

As I waited for Neal to return from picking the kids up from Sunday school, I was just biding my time and resisting the desire to bolt. Bolting wouldn't have panned out so well though, seeing how the kids had to leave with me. So I stood waiting.

Have you ever had an intuitive friend? You know, one of those friends who can sense the storm inside you from across the room? I have one of those, and she moved in for the kill. OK, not the kill, more like the question. And honestly, I couldn't answer her. I hate that I couldn't answer her, because I honestly don't fully know. I just stood there sort of shrugging and holding back the tears.

By the time I walked out of church my heart was beyond heavy. I was fully convinced that I am not accomplishing anything with eternal value, and questioning whether or not I ever had. I wanted to quit my church, give up my blog, walk away from my ministries, even unplug my Facebook account. And truthfully, as I sit here now, all those ideas still sound extremely tempting. I am certain I could make a good argument, even a valid justification for any and all of those ideas, and my heart would happily lead me there.

In fact the more I dwell on those pesky emotions, and meditate on my feelings, the more I long to go. If nothing I do matters anyway, than why do anything in the first place? That's how I feel.

Here's the thing though, I decided a long time ago, I wouldn't live my life based on how I feel. I realized a long time ago, my "heart couldn't be trusted, and the Word of the Lord confirms it.

“ The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?"

Jeremiah 17:9


Who can know it? Not me, I'm sure. My emotions if allowed to lead, would ruin me every time.

Ever felt like you wanted to give up on your marriage?

Ever felt like life wasn't worth living?

Ever felt so angry you thought you could kill someone?

Ever felt like you wanted to run away from everything?

No? Lucky you, because I sure have, and I don't want to begin to think what life could have been like if I had lived by my emotions. What a mess that would make.

So I can't trust me in the big picture of things. Even when I am doing everything right, there is always a loose cannon factor. I have news for you, I'm not the only one.

So what's a person to do? The Bible has an answer.

“ All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the LORD endures forever.”

1 Peter 1:24-25


The word of the Lord. There it is. There's the certainty I am hoping for. It's the anchor in the waves, it's the light in the darkness, it's where clarity can be found amidst confusion. It's where I know wisdom is to be found, and I can count on the fact that in the end, wisdom is proved to be right by what she does." (Matthew 11:19)

I wish my emotions were always manageable, but they aren't. But as long as they aren't what I lead by, their danger level is sharply reduced. I don't know why the battle exists, but it does. Some days it's a minor threat and others it's a raging war. Today fell somewhere in between, closer to than the war than I'd care for, but at least it didn't win. The waves didn't overwhelm, and I kept swimming.

Tomorrow is a new day, and it holds new hope. Most importantly, I know the Lord will be with me in, and His word will still be truth, and He will still be on my side.

1 comment:

JESSICA RENSHAW said...

Thank you, Diana! I have been there, many times. When I am there again, I'll come back to this post to be re-oriented to the things that are solid, true, and eternal.