Wednesday, March 04, 2009

misled by feelings

Emotions are a gift from God not to be despised. In fact I've heard that laughter can be quite therapeutic for us, releasing endorphins, which can bring a sense over us of general well being, and actually are for our well being.

The other side is just as real too. In fact gloom can put us into a darkness in which it is not easy to think straight, or well. Not that we can't, but it makes it hard or harder to do so.

It is good to experience the full gamut of emotions. Jesus wept, the Spirit grieves, there is the joy of the Lord, etc. Some seem especially prone to a darkness in which all hope is gone, despair sets in, and life is lived in a kind of survival mode mentality.

Yesterday I realized that there was no good reason I was aware of that I should be back in gloom. If I live by the truth in Jesus and see life from that perspective, what mattered before which was bringing me down, does not matter anymore. The truth in Jesus trumps all of that. 

Of course we do need to pay attention to our feelings, because they can be symptomatic of something that needs taken care of in our life (perhaps even lack of sleep). But I don't want to be hung up on how I feel, and be living by that. Or be hung up in looking at myself trying to figure out what is wrong. Instead we need to get a glimpse of God in Jesus, and like Isaiah of old, then we will get a true, healthy, helpful view of ourselves that will, like him, put us on our feet, ready to do God's will.

What would you like to share on this?


Anonymous said...

Hi Ted.

It's hard not to be seized sometimes with feelings of depression and despair. But as you noted in your last entry and here, there is also joy, and God is there whether we feel his presence or not.

I know for myself, beyond the depression that can seize us existentially, the cold, dreary weather and the general state of fear about the economy doesn't help!


Lanny said...

You are right to say that emotions are a gift from God just like many things in our lives; riches, people, opportunities, books, intelligence. But what ever the gift, it must be God focused not self focused. Not to excuse depression by any means, if it is a self indulgent whoa is me then that is what it is and it must be changed, but some depression a whoa is us. Whoa is us without Jesus. Whoa is us without proper perspective on God. Wonder if someone went to John on Patamos and said, "Hey dude, lighten up, be happy." Proper "depression" can motivate. "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."

What are we doing with it, what is it we are struck down with, are we letting it destroy us, have we truly reached despair? Or do we just "feel" like we have?

Just wondering. And then maybe it is like a kidney malfunction but in your brain instead. Sometimes you can drink a glass of cranberry juice and your kidneys are better, and sometimes you need medical intervention. And sometimes your kidneys are functioning normally but you're tired of going to the bathroom. Discerntment is a gift to exercise also, not all snow is created equal, just ask an Eskimo

preacherman said...

I have been thinking on this topic for a while now. I want to thank you brother for dealing with it. It has helped. I hope you and your family have a wonderful week.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Hi Diane,
Yes, I hear you. Deb and I much look forward to Spring, and enjoyed the hint of it today. Our hope is in God, not in anything else. To listen to the fears of some Christians who seem to think we're falling off the cliff can be taxing. Thankfully I'm not around many like that, very few in fact. Though there are plenty like you and I who are justly concerned. So many have indeed, lost their jobs. And other problems, to be sure. Ohio is suffering as well, though Michigan is getting the worst of it.

But again, our hope is in God. God will see us through. And as you say, God is with us, even when we don't sense that.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, feeling down can be a good thing as you say. We should be affected by the sorrows of this world, we should weep with those who weep. We should grieve and be upset over many things. While at the same time knowing that God is God and all will turn out okay in the end. Though we wish all were on board with that okay that comes from God in Christ.

Thanks for thinking through this and sharing.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, brother. You and yours, as well!