One of the downsides of being a musician is that almost everything reminds me of a song. You have to go all the way back to 1975 for this one. For those of you who know it, I apologize already if it became an ear worm for you! If you don’t know it, count your blessings…
But “feelings” is one of the topics I want to discuss in today’s blog post. This may resonate a bit more with the female gender, but I do hope there’s something here for everyone.
I don’t know about you all, but for as long as I can remember, I have taken an inventory of my day every night when I went to bed. That’s when I would, in my mind, scroll through the activities and emotions of the day that had come to an end and settle on a rating of mostly good or mostly bad.
And that rating would often dictate if I felt happy or sad about the day. From there, I would generally head into my prayer time and talk with God about my day. This conversation ranged from gratefulness for a good day, to repentance over any of my thoughts or actions that were less than kind, to pleading with God for something I felt I needed, to intercession for someone else’s needs. And often it was a complicated mixture of all of that.
I’m grateful that the happy endings of those days far outweighed the sad ones. But the point is – my emotions dictated whether I felt good or bad about the past 24 hours. And I honestly never thought there was any other way to gauge the success or failure of my day.
I still do a sort of emotional inventory at the end of my days. And I have some of those same conversations with God. But regardless of the kind of day I’ve had, or the good times or joy I’ve experienced, once I’m left alone with my emotions as I retire for the day, there is ALWAYS sadness.
It’s not what I want, but it’s what’s left when the busyness of the day is stripped away. I can’t not (yes, I want the double negative here…) miss Dale in the depths of my soul at the end of each day for the past nearly 18 months. It’s when the tears come and when the heartache is deep and profound. For me, it’s when the real work of grieving is done.
It’s also where I’ve learned to lean the most on God. And not only am I leaning on Him, but I’ve begun to FOCUS on His character and His promises. It’s where I put the emotions aside and rest in the knowledge that I am a Child of God. That He loves me with an everlasting love. That He wants only good for my life, even if that comes through pain. It’s where I’m reminded that He will make EVERYTHING right in the end.
And maybe most importantly, I understand that the emotions I’m feeling don’t change His character or His promises one iota. I am not defined by my emotions. I am defined by who I am in Christ. And I find joy and hope in the promises He so clearly lays out for me in His Word.
Emotions really are fleeting. One or two silly events can send us soaring to the mountaintop, or crashing down into the valley. It can be an exhausting way to live. And it isn’t what God wants for us.
I’m not saying we ignore our emotions, or fail to validate someone else’s. God did create us with those emotions. What I am proposing, however, is that we limit the power they have over us by switching our focus to GOD’S power. When you feel your emotions sending you on a downward spiral, consciously and purposefully meditate on the Good News of the Gospel.
I can tell you it’s the ONLY way that I bring some balance into my emotional life. And when your days end with sadness, you too can be filled with hope again if you focus on the only One Who can bring true happiness.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV