My heart has been on my mind. Sometimes it seems that’s as close as it gets. I have often felt I have so much cluttering my attic, yet so little furnishing my living space. How do I get all the treasures upstairs, downstairs where they can be fully experienced, enjoyed and shared with others?
Feelings are such funny things. We need them. We can’t live alive without them. Sometimes they strive to run the show. Who hasn’t wanted to call out of work or blow off a commitment or break a promise, just because? How many important decisions have been made based on emotion rather than on what we had previously set out to accomplish or stick with?
Other times it’s as if we have evasive, evaporating emotions. Where and when they went we do not know. We just know they’ve gone and we’re left feeling stone dry, desolate, detached…empty.
Having a history of addiction, I know well what it’s like to attempt to control my emotions. I wanted to feel, but only what I wanted to feel, and only when I wanted to feel it.
Years ago, when getting clean, uncontrolled emotions began returning. I was no longer inducing euphoria or numbing pain; I was simply feeling. What a scary place to be for the first time. Of course, you don’t need to be a recovering addict to relate. I used many things before I used drugs and alcohol. We’ve all used something at some point to try to control our feelings. Food, shopping, sex, television, power, religion–choose your drug. We’ve all been there and done that.
Underlying the desire to control my emotions was a deep fear of rejection. I felt rejected, so I shut down. I’m not going to trust, I’m not going to be vulnerable, I’m not going to put myself out there just to get sucker punched again, thank you very much. Me ‘n my heart are going to stay right here, nice and safe in this bare little box, and ride this life out pain free from now on. Pain free…but not free. Broken in and in bondage to that bare little fear box. Lifeless, loveless and blind.
But then Jesus got in my box and when Jesus gets in your box everything changes. There’s no box big enough to hold Jesus! Jesus busts boxes apart–He breaks in and breaks through! I was no longer rejected; I was accepted. I was no longer worthless; I was worthy. I was no longer forsaken; I was cherished…loved. Over these last nine years Jesus has been taking me deeper, healing me more fully than I ever imagined possible. I still get tempted to give into my emotions and do what I “feel” like doing. Jesus is collaborating with maturity to work this out in me. I also get tempted to shut down emotionally and check out. Play it safe. Put up walls and take a long nap. This is my greater struggle. But when I give my heart, my emotions, my fear to Jesus–because I have purposed to, not because I feel like it–He does the impossible. He makes me live and trust; He makes me safe and whole. He makes my winter spring and my death to self life in Him.
Today I purpose to pursue the One who has a plan and purpose for my life. Plans for peace and well-being, plans to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Today I choose to receive Truth and reject lies. God is always willing, always giving, always speaking. Am I willing, am I receiving, am I listening? It takes discipline to act and not react, to remain in love and be loved, to send faith to the door when fear knocks. We have this ability in Jesus. We have His love, power, self-discipline, and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Thank You, Jesus–You are so good at unpacking our attics and filling our living spaces! Thank You for breaking in, breaking through and busting up our boxes!