When Feelings Lose Their Power

 

 

waterfall 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?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt 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.

  • Grief

  • Despair

  • Fear

  • Anxiety

  • Sorrow

  • Emptiness

  • Anger

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.

PeaceHe held me and let me weep when I finally pushed my arms up to my “Abba, Daddy”, in brokenness.

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.

1510543_680314828697735_1831250127_nI 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.

You Are the Bucket—Six Ways a Nameless Woman Reveals Our Empty Buckets

Woman-at-well “I don’t know what is wrong with me”, she said. 

“No matter what I do or who I am with it is never enough.  I feel depleted and I don’t’ know what I need.   I over eat.  I drink too much.  I work like crazy.  I am a failure at exercise.  My husband isn’t meeting my needs.  What is my problem?”

I have heard the story countless times as a Life Coach.

  It is the same story with men, but in a different vernacular. 

“I’m not enough for her.”

“I work and work and still there is something missing.”

“Nothing ever seems to be satisfying.  I had an affair to try to fill the emptiness I feel, and it was worse in the end.  And I didn’t feel satisfied.”

I’ve bought cars, boats, motor homes, etc etc…..still nothing.  I am not happy.

The continued search to find something on this earth to fill our empty places is costly.

Life with Jesus is much more than an entrance into Heaven.  It is an abundant, satisfying life.  But how does this work to satisfy my existence now?

How does He become the depth of my desire, and get me off this merry go round?

I think some clues lie in the life of a woman whom we don’t even know her name.  The Samaritan woman.

Jesus was tired and thirsty and walked over to sit on the rim of a well in Samaria, which was a forbidden place for Jews, by the way.  Jesus was not a rule follower or a conformist.

John 4 is where you will find the story.

 “And Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well. It was then about the sixth hour (about noon).  Presently, when a woman of Samaria came along to draw water, Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink—“

This was not just by happenstance.  Jesus always knew exactly what He was doing.

“The Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan [and a] woman, for a drink?—For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans—Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.”

If she only knew who she was talking to …..3-jesus-and-samaritan-woman-9003-_I4C8789

She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?] Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also? Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

Is there a clue here?   He goes on to say He knows she has had 5 husbands and is now living with a man, to which she marvels that He knows this.

Does He condemn her?

Does He judge her or throw rocks?

No, what He does do is tell her if she only knew Who she was talking to she wouldn’t need all of those men to try to fill a need that was impossible by earthly means. 

But, He would fill her hurting heart. 

He offered Himself.

He went there to talk to only her that day.  Think of it;  The town fornicator….the cast off among women in her town. 

She was lost and needed to know that He could fill her and show His love for her so she wouldn’t need to keep riding the merry go round of men, who were also needy.

He heard the cry of her needy heart.

Here are six things I noticed about this woman as relates to so many of us in one way or another:

1.           She was too needy to keep a man.  She smothered them trying to find fulfillment and importance.

 

2.         She obviously chose the same type of man each time.  Do we see a pattern?

 

3.         She was looking for someone to make her feel more than what she felt about herself.

 

4.         She is convinced she is incompetent and less than.  Why do you think she was at the well at a time of day the other women weren’t there?  (Well, except for avoiding gossip.)

 

 

5.         She didn’t feel like a woman without a man.

 

6.         She could never get enough—a pit of neediness.

 

Do any of her issues ring a bell in your life at one time or another?

 “She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?]”

She asked Him that if He had no bucket how could she draw the water for Him.  This is what I hear (in my translation),

“Sir, You have no bucket for me to draw You water.”

He replied, “YOU ARE THE BUCKET!!!”

It seems that when we allow Him to fill us apart from every other earthly thing, we are not only filled to the brim, but it fills Him too!!! 

He is hungry for us. 

He wants relationship with us!!

She left her water jar at the well and ran into town to tell the people about Him.  She became the first Evangelist!!

Metaphorically speaking, she left her water bucket because she became the bucket and He filled her with living water.

Jesus allows us to enter into times of emptiness because He wants us to see that only He can fill us.  Otherwise we would not pursue Him.  He uncovers things that are ugly in us (like the woman’s many men) because He wants to diffuse the bomb getting ready to go off in our heads of pure neediness.  We seek out the filling of our empty hearts with addictions, relationships, children, marriage, jobs, flattery, and so many other things, only to find ourselves still empty and lonely.

Relationship with Him should be first, and then He says He will add all of these other things to us.  He knows we will remain in defeat if we don’t find the secret of filling our buckets of need with His living water. 

With HIM!!

Believe it or not, a number of years ago, my addiction was ministry.  The attention from people and my apparent self ascribed holiness brought me the needed validation that I was important, because inside I felt unimportant and useless.  After all, I was doing a God thing.  I was in the ministry.  People loved me.  But inside I was empty.  I had all the outward things to admire, but inside I was so alone and lost and hurting.  I appeared spiritual but I had not found the Living Water yet.  (You can find my whole story in my book Climbing Out of the Box, http://www.amazon.com/Climbing-Out-The-Box-Spiritual/dp/1478296852)

So, I worked and worked to achieve greatness.  But it all exploded in my face because Jesus wanted to fill my bucket that was empty….and I had to learn a few things.

I am still learning and still growing.  But I know HIM now.  Really know HIM.  He fills my bucket with fresh living water every day.  I would die from thirst if He did not.

 

 

 

 

I Can Only Imagine

 

545570_417758148257124_357419294_n (1)Remember that popular song written in 2005 by Bart Millard entitled, “I Can Only Imagine”?  It is about meeting Jesus face to face.   Here are some of the lyrics.

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By Your side


I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me


Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all


I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the sun

 

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You


I can only imagine
I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever,
forever worship you
I can only imagine

 

I don’t know one person who has heard this song who doesn’t get caught up in the words and melody and in their own imaginings of what it will be like on that day when they finally see Him face to face.

Yet, I have coached so many who fear the day they will die.   In probing further it is usually more of a fear of what they will experience in the dying process and they lose sight of the fact that we all have an appointment with God to leave this life for the one we were actually created for.  We are just passing through my friend.   Every single one of us will go someplace when we die.  Do you have the assurance that it will be heaven? 

If not, contact me through this blog and I will help you to be sure.

We mourn our loss when a loved one goes home to eternity, of course.  They leave a deep, hole in our lives that is oh so painful.  But if they knew Jesus how could we even want them to come back?  Seriously? 

Would they want to come back?  I think not. 

Not if they knew Him!

We are eternal beings, created to be with our maker, with a brief stint here on earth.   We have a destination there is no doubt in my mind about that.   Have we become so in tune with this earthly life, as hard as it is sometimes, that we have lost sight of how brief of a stay we have here in comparison to eternity?   We are here for a purpose.  He has a plan for our lives while we are here.  

We have a destination.  

Our lives are meant to make a difference to all those He puts along the path of our journey through this life on earth.   We live in a world with evil and destruction abounding, which is all the more reason our eyes need to remain on Him and His purpose for us here on this earth.  He has provided for us Kingdom living.  On earth it takes faith to live in this Kingdom.  In heaven we will see it all so clearly, including the King Himself.

 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Cor. 12 NLT

We are in His service, friends!!   We are citizens of a another land.

I have never gone to a funeral of a believer that I don’t close my eyes and try to visualize where they are right then.  Can they see the people who are at their memorial?  Or are they so caught up in their new world that they just don’t have time or desire to see what is going on back on earth?    Are they walking with Jesus at that very moment?   Are they reuniting with people and loved ones from years past? 

 Are they talking with Mary or Martha or Mary, Jesus’ mom?  

How about Esther? Or Bathsheba?

Or Moses, Noah, or Paul?  

It blows my mind to think of the possibilities of what could be happening with them at the very hour we are down here mourning their loss.  I have to smile in the midst of my tears.

This is not to diminish the deep grief we feel at the loss of someone we treasure.  The pain is so real and our losses are so great at these times.  But, I wonder, if we really allowed ourselves to focus on where they went and the glorious possibilities of it all, if it would make our pain a little lighter.

I have been at bed sides of those who are dying.  At the passing of one saint right in front of me I actually looked up to the ceiling knowing they had departed,  and one time I even waved, as they took their last breath.  I envied their adventure that had just begun.

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.  He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. Phil 3 NLT

When I depart please don’t look at this vessel I lived in for all the years I was on earth.  I am not there.   If you must, celebrate my life here if I made a difference in your life somehow.  But know you will see me again when it comes your time to enter eternity.  Meanwhile just imagine all the wonderful things I am doing as I continue to learn and grow with Jesus!!

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3NLT