Not to be trusted
For the past few months, I haven't felt like exercising. I haven't felt like writing. But I have felt like having dessert whenever I wanted. Guess what? I'm now weak, undisciplined and 8 pounds heavier. So much for listening to my feelings!
In the same period of time, I've fought some "dark nights of the soul", battling intense fear, doubt, frustration and listlessness. There have been days that felt so over (or under) whelming, that all I felt like doing was going to bed.
But, feelings are deceiving. What you and I experience may be so consuming, it becomes hard to see reality through the forest of feelings. The more passionate or angry we are, the more that rational decision making is pushed aside. Situations from our past, coupled with the intensity of a moment, can cause feelings to overwhelm common sense, and our actions and words can potentially become dangerous to ourselves and others.
Even though I know the mind games that feelings play with me, I still have seasons where I succumb. I give up or I give in. I fall victim to the emotion that pounces on me. I start singing along to REO Speedwagon "'Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I starting fighting for. . . " But, rather than having a great sing-a-long, this is the time when I need help. I need wise council. I need prayer. I need others who aren't clouded by emotion to help me see reality.
If you find yourself in an emotional state, pause before you speak. Pause before you act. If you are contemplating big decisions based on feelings, seek wise council. Just because you don't feel in love, you don't feel like parenting, or don't feel like being responsible, taking action based on feelings (or lack thereof) can have major consequences.
I now interrupt this train of thought to bring you a live-time update. Just as I wrote the last sentence of the last paragraph, I got a call from a friend telling me her daughters had lice, and I better check mine as well. Let me just say that we faced this a few years ago, and the thought of lice in my home (and on my children) threw me into an emotional storm that literally gave me some mild PTSD.
The reality of lice is that the stigma is much worse than the problem. It has nothing to do with cleanliness, and in fact, lice prefer clean hair. So, trying to put the first half of this blog into practice, I examined my girl's hair, resolving not to let my emotions get the best of me. When I found the tell-tale signs of lice on one of my girls, I took a deep breath, reminded myself of the truth, and asked others to pray for me.
It's now been 3 days since the lice encounter and I'm pleased to report that there has been a dramatic difference between this and the last time. The treatment was administered, hair was nit combed, laundry was done, and all the ladies of the house are using special shampoo to prevent spread or resurgence. We made it through. I didn't need to get stressed out. There wasn't value in walking the dark emotional road of fear and frustration.
Without fail, the topics I write on are either personal battles I'm walking through presently, or they will be shortly. My musings and contemplations are struggles that I deal with, coming from the side of life that isn't all that put together.
Within the next few days, I expect to get the results of a biopsy that will determine if I'm looking at another skin cancer. This time, there has already been talk of using chemo cream and if/when that happens, there will be several weeks of having to put the emotion vs. reality lesson to the test. To look at the reflection of my face and see scars and extreme skin agitation will be embarrassing and humbling. Yet, if a pro-active measure is employed to keep me from developing a potentially deadly form of the disease, shouldn't my response be gratitude instead of humiliation?
I am thankful for the prayer and support of so many family and friends. I need it. I know that if left to my own thoughts and emotions, my "reality" is not to be trusted. If you have been trapped on a lonely emotional road, reach out for help. The key then becomes to allow the truth of someone else's non-emotional perspective to minister to you and break through the fog of feelings. Let's together seek genuine truth and walk that path side by side.