Think about the last five things you did or didn’t do. Ask yourself why you did or didn’t do them and keep asking why until you get to the core reason. I think you’ll find that everything we do or don’t do is either to feel something or avoid feeling something. But only every time.
I sipped my coffee this morning so I’d feel awake. I held my husband’s hand while doing my morning devotions so I could feel love. I spent time with Jesus to feel connected to Him. I’m writing my blog this morning before heading into my counseling office so that I can spend time with my husband this evening planning a trip to Boston. Why? So I can feel the excitement and relaxation that I’ll experience there.
This life is full of wonderful experiences and emotions that we have access to every day. It was created in perfection, but of course, things changed early on, when sin entered the world. Regardless of how it happened, our world is now full of both positive & negative, and this includes our emotions. Some things are designed to feel negative. When we do something that goes against God’s will for our life, we feel guilt. This is just one example of the internal friction that exists when what we do or say goes against who we were created to be. Negative emotion can be an internal sign of incongruence which needs to be addressed. When this is the case, it would best serve us to make a change, rather than changing the emotion!
But other times, negative emotion is just part of the human experience. Marriage, parenting, and employment are all wonderful things, and they involve both positive and negative emotions. Without bad times, we wouldn’t appreciate the good. Without having boredom as a contrast, we wouldn’t have the thrill of excitement. And no matter what we do, we will always have both. Some people hate the percentage of half here. They say “my life is better than that” (or worse!) Ironically, the better we get at accepting the negative emotion, the better our life seems to feel.
Why does it matter?
We often make decisions because we think “there” will feel better than “here”.
But the truth is, “there” will still have a 50/50 mix of emotions.
We think we’ll be happier when we make $100k, lose that 30 pounds, get that promotion, get married, have children, retire….the list goes on. Allowing the negative, and trusting in His greater plan allows us to make decisions for the right reasons. It means choosing to lose weight because you value your health and want to keep up with the littles in your life. It means choosing to increase your salary so you can give more, employ more people, live debt-free, and be a steward of even more wealth.
When you “arrive” at your goal, you’ll feel positive emotions, but you will also feel equally negative emotions about different things. Losing weight may include feeling deprived of your cravings at times, isolation from others who are envious, etc. That promotion or raise may involve feeling judged by others who make assumptions about your motives.
When we learn how to allow negative emotions and accept them as part of our experience, we suffer less. There is no circumstance that God can’t meet us in. True joy comes from trusting God in every circumstance, knowing that nothing can snatch you from His hand and that no matter where you go or what you feel, He’s got you.
Not sure how to apply this to your own life? Why not do a mini session with me?
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