I lost life as I knew it over the course of one year a while back. Of course it was a slow build up to that year, but denial has a funny way of making you blind to what is coming.
(The complete story of this trip into the wasteland of my soul is recorded in my last book, Climbing Out of the Box.)
Through years of denial, spiritual abuse, and unresolved childhood abuse issues, my life broke apart in huge chunks and floated away on a sea of despair. I lost my marriage, my home, myself, my church, and my children moved out…and did I mention I lost myself?
…all within a few months of each other.
Then I entered the wasteland of devastation and loss and an overload of “feelings”.
How can I describe the feelings?
It was like being on a huge merry go round, holding on for dear life, trying to look like I had a grip but my vise gripped fingers were sliding off with every whirl. It twirled faster and faster until my hands did lose their grip and I was flung off into space with magnitude force into nothingness with no idea where I would finally land. When I did land I felt like I was smothering in feelings and couldn’t breathe; Kind of like being buried alive.
In the years that followed I was alone with myself and thought I would never recover from the empty shell that was me.
My feelings became my faithful companions until I finally started talking to God. Boy did I have the questions.
The most fascinating thing to me was that He never left. He stepped back, though, to give me time to come to the place of realizing all my answers were in Him. He is always so patient with us.
As I called upon Him in my solitary place, He began to heal my frayed and broken heart. I was ruled by my feelings at the point of quiet desperation and had been since the beginning of the dirge into blackness.
And then the healing began. I learned so much in the next few years of exile.
One of the things I learned was that my feelings didn’t have to rule me or dictate to me how to act for the rest of my life.
When we call upon Him in our feelings of abandonment and reach deep into our still, quiet heart, where He dwells,
Our fears lose their power to control us;
Our “out of control” anger loses its power to devastate anyone lying in its wake….and
Our depression loses its power to consume us.
Our feelings lose their control over us.
That still, quiet center of us, where He resides, is where we are aware of His presence the most. Learn how to quiet yourself and find that spot of uninterruption and you will find His voice.
He centers us.
He is our anchor.
When we call upon Him, we find the power to let go of our resentment and ask for forgiveness. We can also forgive ourselves and be free. We can let go of the past and move into the stillness of living large in the here and now.
And then we learn to trade in our profound shame for vulnerability with others, for in Him we are safe; and we trade in our fear of being embarrassed, to finally being transparent.
Our feelings provide the fertile ground of captivity for us.
If we listen to them they will kill our creativity that God wants to use. They will squelch our love for others and undermine our knowledge of redemption and grace.
What if we just decided to stop listening to our feelings, and started listening to what God says about us; and start focusing in on His still whispers of direction and love? What if we make a conscious decision to believe we are really hearing His voice and just do it…by faith?
And accepting our feelings as real, for they are very real, but not necessarily true if they become our dictating force and despair. They can betray us in portraying Gods words as not trust worthy.
It is like a drop of soothing, healing water to accept that our feelings are real, but can be deceptive outside of God’s truth about us.
I think our shame would dry up and our love would explode and the world would never be the same again if we can get to this place of truth and freedom.