I listened to a talk last week with Fusion and it’s been playing over on my mind a lot. Here are my rambling thoughts around it…
According to psychology (yes, a very non-specific and vague source!), in any given circumstance, we experience an emotion for 30 seconds, after that, the emotion only continues if we “rehearse” it; if we allow it to continue.
If we believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, makes home in us, and that if God is love, he can only feel love, if God is joy, he cannot experience “un-joy” etc etc,,…is it possible to choose, after our 30 seconds of emotion, to ask the Holy Spirit to replace our emotions with his…to replace our feeling with his indestructible joy, to show me how he is seeing the situation?
I know, personally, I love to indulge in a good bit of self-pity or frustration at something that’s been said to me but what if I were to constantly be asking the Holy Spirit to replace my emotions with his. This isn’t to belittle hard situations, grieving, depression – I believe the Spirit weeps and mourns and laments that which is heart-breaking, and yet, there is always the possibility of joy. I want to understand this joy. I want to understand how to be filled with joy as I weep over a friend who is caught in a cycle of destruction; I want to understand how to be filled with joy as I reflect on the things that are going on around me – violence, abuse, rejection etc. I don’t want to be blind to reality but I want joy. And, I most certainly don’t want to experience more frustration and jealousy and anger and bitterness and sadness than I need to, as much as my flesh tells me it wants to.
Why do I not do this? As I’ve been pondering this idea throughout the week, I’ve had more opportunities than I can count to try this out and yet I find, even when I remember that it’s even an option, it’s a real battle to do so, it’s almost like I think I’m going to miss out on feeling sorry for myself! It actually sounds ridiculous when I write it in words and yet I know this is true. I imagine I’m not alone.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about this past week is that if I am a unique creation, made to be and live in a certain way, then only I can love like I can love – no one else’s love is quite like mine and so as I step further into the identity as God’s image-bearer, I can love my neighbour better, in a way that no one else can.
Putting these two ideas together, if I am not choosing joy, choosing love, choosing peace, choosing to see the world the way God does then my neighbour-loving will never be as good as it can be, because as an image-bearer of God, I am not made to love people from a place of frustration, obligation or, unforgiveness.
If you’ve made it through this ramble, I congratulate you, but I felt compelled to not think about what I was writing too much and share what’s been playing over in my heart. Pray for me – I want to love, knowing the fullness of God’s love and joy, pray that I would be humble in letting go of my entitlement to hold onto negative emotions and that in my obedience, God in me would bring out the Clare in me.