Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When Emotions Threaten

It was the first time that she hadn't told me something important. I knew about it, but she still hadn't told me. Not only that, but my phone calls were being ignored. I was angry, hurt, and unbelievably confused. Truth be told, I wanted to yell at her. I wanted to ask her what I'd done to her to make her act this way towards me. At the same time I also wanted to apologize for whatever it was that I had done. I was feeling a huge loss and a keen sense of rejection and I had no idea what to do with it.

The truth finally came out when we happened to be out with some other people. I asked the question how long this news had been known. Weeks. More than several. I don't think I sat there for more than a couple more minutes before I announced that I was tired and I needed to go. I promptly stood up and left, my heart in my ears and my face flushed red. Everyone in the room was uncomfortable. 

"She's not responsible for your feelings, Mel." my husband said to me. Ouch. That didn't seem fair. Of course she was responsible for how I felt. She'd stopped talking to me almost altogether and I hadn't done anything, or had I? My emotions were raw, and I couldn't easily imagine that this had to do with anything else other than me. had obviously screwed up, must have. I must not have been a good enough friend. I must have said something or done something to irrevocably damage our friendship. There didn't seem to be any other viable explanation. 

It kept echoing in my head, "She's not responsible for your feelings." I began to see the truth in it. Emotions are flighty and inconstant. They change with the wind and depend primarily on what is happening at that precise moment. Emotions are lovely when they're good, and awful when they're bad. Feelings do not cling to rational, but rely more on circumstance. 

The Bible is chock full of scripture on how to temper your fear, worry, anger, and sadness. I started to realize that I was allowing my emotions to supersede everything else and poison my day to day. I was consciously allowing my feelings about this situation to seep into other relationships and bleed all over the place. The problem wasn't going to fix itself and me mentally hashing it out over and over was only causing me strife.

This is not to say that feelings in and of themselves are bad. What other people do does affect us. Sometimes being sad is appropriate, sometimes we are righteously angry - and that is ok. Occasionally we feel discouraged when we've failed at something we have been attempting to do. Isn't it natural? To a point most of our emotions are normal and acceptable. It's when we let them take hold of us and cause us to sin that our feelings have gotten the better of us. When we allow emotions to cause us to lash out, hurt others, gossip, feel hatred, to covet what others have, etc... that is when we need to rewind and take a second look.

I remember someone telling me once, "You're not always going to feel in love. Sometimes you decide to love and to do more for the other person than they're doing for you because that's the right (and Godly) thing to do." Guess what? They were right. Sometimes I haven't felt like being very loving, and my husband would certainly say the same thing. We have both consciously made the decision to put each other before ourselves, though. Those feelings of love always seem to follow. 

A couple days after we'd gotten together my friend called me. The first thing I said was "You're not responsible for my emotions, but I'm just really confused as to why you didn't tell me..." Everything got patched up and she explained that it never did have anything to do with me, but rather her own way of dealing with what was going on in her life.

Unfortunately we don't live in a utopia. Life is full of hard realities that can crash through our preconceived notions of what our future looks like. Bridges are burned, people die, accidents happen. We cannot control our lives down to the minute details and expect that nothing bad will ever transpire. If we allow every bad thing that happens to push us down further and to crush us, well then that truly is depressing.

Taking hold of our emotions, rising above them, and making the right choice is never as easy to do as it is to talk about. However, the reward for controlling ourselves and reigning emotions in is well worth it.

And just for fun, a little picture of my children expressing their emotions.



"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." Galations 5:16-24










9 comments:

  1. Several years ago, I got dropped by a group of people that I considered friends. We had all gone to high school together and I had just reconnected with them through Facebook. But, we had all changed. I was married with kids, they were all single or at least childless. Anyway, to keep a long story short, I can relate to how you felt. But then I also had to realize, I was an adult. And that I shouldn't let the decisions of others affect me in such a way.

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    1. It really is hard to reign in your emotions. And yes, being an adult in the moment is easier said than done!

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  2. I have felt this on occasion. It can be completely frustrating and hurtful and even consuming - I'm glad you got it all sorted out!

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    1. Thank you, Erica! Thanks for the comment. :)

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  3. My husband says this to me all the time. We are responsible for our own feelings. It can be hard when we lose touch with friends or they don't tell us something important.

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    1. Sounds like we both have wise husbands. :)

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  4. That is such a horrible feeling. My husband tells me the same thing-no one else controls your emotions. I'm glad you were able to patch things up. The picture of yours kids is so funny!

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    1. Thanks! I like to look at this picture when I know I'm letting my feelings get the better of me. Keeps things in perspective! Ha! :)

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  5. A very valuable, well articulated, substance rich lesson. Thank you for this beautiful post <3

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