Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Emotional Baggage

I meant to write this blog last week…then I tried to write it yesterday so I could say that I actually got a blog out in under two weeks. Looks like two weeks is the best I can do! I don’t know how you bloggers write every other day and even daily?! I am impressed. Of course, no one would want to read my meager words that much, so maybe it’s for the best!!!

Two weeks ago I was feeling hurt and angry. Try as I might I couldn’t let things rest. I was allowing things to fester. That’s NEVER a good idea. Then these words by Elisabeth Elliot pierced my heart:

“I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born. I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience. I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.

I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary works, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary- which is a dead giveaway of spiritual conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: anything You say, Lord”
(Keeping a Quiet Heart, Elliot).

I cried as I read about Mary’s obedience and her silence before the Lord. I wondered when the last time I had been silent before the Lord was. How often I come to Him with lists of requests or begging Him to take me on a different path. Many times I plead with Him for my desires and asked Him to change the actions of those around me. But here was a woman who didn’t fight or plead. She said YES and silently obeyed the Lord.

My father often reminded me in high school that I was choosing to be upset, and I could choose a different path. Mary chose quiet obedience. I had been choosing to be hurt; to continue on in anger and self pity. I would say that as women, we are often led by our emotions, thinking they are the controlling factor. We think because people are hurtful and trials are frightening we must succumb to our feelings. We cry and tell the world how hard it is. We swing from emotional highs and lows at the drop of a hat and blame all of it on our circumstances. We proclaim that it is better to lay it all out on the table no matter what destruction we might cause. I have often left my husband hurt and bewildered by my emotional purging. I want to learn the beauty of silence before God.

I am not saying that circumstances aren’t hard, and I think that fellowship and confiding in Godly friends are blessings in the life of a Christian. Yet I feel that we use those terms to cover up what we truly are doing, gossiping or asking for self pity. I also believe that crying is important at times. Trust me; I have done my fair share of it! Yet we deny the importance of self control. We claim our emotions are a separate entity and follow wherever they may lead. But aren’t all things, even my emotional reactions to how others treat me, under the Lordship of Christ? If all that I am belongs to Christ, and if I allow Him to rule my life, shouldn’t He rule my emotions as well??

I had been hurt by the words and actions of others, but I had to painfully come to the realization that my continually choosing to be upset was sin, plain and simple. Christ didn’t cry “you are mean to me” or “that’s not fair” as people mocked and abused Him. He forgave again and again. And He was content at all times in His earthy role. He loved perfectly and continuously. That is His calling for my life as well. I am to glorify Him and bless others. That means learning how to forgive, how to hold my tongue, how to let go, how to be at peace in any and all circumstances and how to love.

I truly want Christ to be Lord of my life. I do not want to be a slave to my emotions or my circumstances. It seems every trial and hardship leads me back to the same place; deny thy self. It is a hard thing to learn, the hardest of things; yet I know it is the most important.

"This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen”
( Elisabeth Elliot).


LB said...

This was so good for me to read!! I am queen of letting my emotions rule. And I am going to search for that EE book @ the library.

Vicky said...

Well said Esther. And whatever God requires of us He will fully equip us to do.

Ann said...

I agree with LB-I need to read that book. And I agree with you-I don't know how every day bloggers do it. I am a twice a weeker at best!

Ann said...

I meant to say every other week. Or twice a month.

Dana said...

The Lord must have laid this on your heart in order to teach us all this week. What a great post! It is so hard not to let our emotions run away, just like imaginations. I've been thinking about Paula Miles' comment "Mary's response to her situation was a rational choice, not an emotional response." Now I just need to remember it day to day. Very hard to do. We love you guys! Can't wait to see you for Easter and C's baptism!

Beth said...

Well said and what I needed to hear! I have been struggling since being put on bed rest nearly two weeks ago. I have been remembering what Paula Miles said about Mary not thinking about all the emotional things that could have been running through her young mind as Dana said. Thanks for adding another bit of wisdom to dwell upon!

DAD said...

God is good all the time. When I focus on glorifying God and blessing others then I am truly free. Just wish I was free more often! DAD

Henry said...

Big brother does not like to hear baby sister being hurt (yes, you are still my baby sister)...makes him want to pulvarize whoever or whatever did the hurting. And yet I am in need of hearing/applying Collosians 3:13-14 (as is frequently the case). Hope things get better and we can't wait to see you guys soon!

mimi said...

Esther you are so young and yet so close to your Lord. Every blog brings tears to my eyes and thats a good thing. I love you girl, but please keep that big beautiful smile on your face and just trust God to bring you through it all, at least that's what I try to do.
Love you all three.

Steph said...

What a gift to see you growing in God's grace. I pray he continues to refine and sanctify us both in "being still" before Him. I am often directed by my emotions (I think it is the Little in all of us), however God is far more glorified when He is driving than when I am reacting. Hope to see you all soon.

Susan B. said...

Ess the Mess!

You're always such an inspiration to me! I learn a lot from you!

You said that people say hurtful things to you..sorry about that!...I've learned to let that stuff go in one ear and out the other. People say things from their own perspective. They're looking through their own emotional filter, one that's been influenced by their life experiences. Only Jesus knows our hearts. I've found it helpful to listen to others and their opinions but mainly to listen to the Holy Spirit within me.

When life gets to be too much I just take it one day at a time. And if one day is too much I just think about a half day or even an hour, whatever I can manage at the time.

In my opinion, you're way ahead of the game...You have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, a supportive extended family, a great faith, and on and on and on. You're a blessed woman!

And sweet Charlotte...she really belongs to Jesus and He will see that her needs are met. Your part is to trust in His goodness and faithfulness. He loves you! Just take one day at a time.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents for whatever it's worth. I just want you to feel encouraged and loved.

Love you all!

Susan Barber

Anonymous said...

Your words were wonderful. Stay strong...

Rebekah said...

Thanks for posting this- I needed it!

Anonymous said...

Just to add a little different view here...we seem to forget the fact that Jesus was human therefore in his human nature he was emotional and we too are emotional. Being emotional, grieving, crying, seeking Christian companionship is NOT sin. It is exactly what Christ did. Created in the image of him, we too do these things, not in vain, but in longing and necessity to find a home in a place where we do not belong.

John 11:35 is a great example of the humanity of Christ shown through his emotions. Jesus did not weep over Lazarus because He knew He was there to raise him from the dead. Jesus wept for the grief of Mary, Martha and others who were weeping over Lazarus. It was in compassion for the people living and in grief. Which speaks volumes in the fact that it IS okay to cry and to grieve.

"And Jesus wept" reveals the depth of both His human nature and divine nature. He wept for Mary and Martha in His Own human feelings for He was like us in all things except that He could not sin.

Again he cried out in Matthew 27:46 ,”My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” at the crucifixion.

In all this it seems to me that it is OKAY to be emotional, to seek Christian advise, and to cry out to the Lord in anguish and pain..He tells us all who are weary come to Him, cast your burdens on me. He also speaks on the importance of Christian companions: A true friend loves at all times, even times when the other friend having a rough day and is a bit moody (Eccl 4:9-12). True friends trust each other: they share joys and sorrows (Romans 12:15).

Just putting a different perspective on the way Christ has used His word to speak to ME through this post, not saying that any others are wrong…just a wonderful example of how He speaks and continues to speak in so many different ways to different people at different times.