Emotions are not the sum total of who we are. They may be an indicator of part of our health, and God made them for a very good reason.
Emotions connect us to each other, they help us to remain human and relate to one another through compassion and mercy, live alongside each other fairly with the sense of justice, to understand consequence and provide reasons to manage our own behaviour because of our interconnectedness with others.
However, if we are only taking our emotions into account, they do not indicate the absolute truth of who we are, or our position in the Kingdom of God.
Did you realise a large part of our emotional and mental stability is dependent on the health of our gut flora? When I have a diverticular flare, which I have had this week, it becomes very quickly obvious how much of my stability is based in the health of my belly.
This is particularly unsettling because of the new way my brain works. I really need those hormones (serotonin, dopamine and GABA) to balance the effects of the brain injury and when my gut gets wiped out with infection and high doses of powerful antibiotics it makes a significant difference to the way my brain is able to work.
It has not changed the truth about who I am. When this happens, the only thing which has changed is an infection in my belly and antibiotics. It hasn’t stopped me from being me, or picked me up and done some kind of “Freaky Friday” body swap.
All it has done is interrupt the ability of my gut to produce the hormones which contribute to the feelings of well-being and happiness.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.
Edward Mote 1797-1874
If I measure myself by how I’m feeling, particularly when my body is being taken apart by things which are interrupting the systems which supply the feelings of harmony and wellbeing, then there is a temptation to tell Jesus, who He is and what He has done is not enough.
It can be difficult to remember the truth when your body is sick, injured, not working properly and being flooded by negativity which is coming from systems within your cells.
In these times, we face a choice. We can either allow our feelings to win, or we can stand on truth.
There’s no point denying the truth of the situation we are in. It is happening.
If I had allowed being ill to tell me who I am in Christ this week, it would have completely disregarded the relationship Jesus and I have built together over these many years, and thrown my trust in Him out the window.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NIV)
Our bodies are temporary pots. They exist to give us something to live in while we are here on earth, but they are not the ultimate measure of what is real.
What we choose to build in our relationship with Jesus is the foundation which will stand underneath anything else.
I choose to believe the whole of the New Testament. I believe the power for healing of these ‘temporary pot’ bodies is just as available for us now as it was when Jesus was here in body. As it was when Peter walked down the street and even his shadow healed people.
Our relationship with the God of all things is the piece under question. Are we willing to give Him all of who we are in the same way Jesus did, the same way the early Christians did?
Jesus said to come follow me. Nothing about the early apostles personalities or situations changed. They were still fishermen and tent makers and business women and mothers and ex-prostitutes. It was their relationship with God, with Jesus, with Holy Spirit which defined them and gave them access to the one thing which made the difference.
Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Acts 18:2-3 (NIV)
They were ordinary.
Jesus in them was extra-ordinary.
In the moments when we are wondering who we are, when something inside or outside us hammers at our equilibrium, it is the foundation we build with Jesus which holds us, and our continuing practice of His Presence- having cultivated so much time with Him, you are never outside the power of His Presence- which creates the overflowing Presence of God.
How we feel is not always an indication of how we are going.
Sometimes there is an imbalance in our bodies which upsets our chemicals, this can be due to sickness or a dodgy gland which doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. (Maybe it never has!) Medicine and therapy have come a long way to help us with these things, Praise God! (Always seek help when you need it, who knows how God will work and who He will use!)
Underneath everything which can happen with our bodies, our relationship with God is the most important piece.
It is the piece we need to concentrate on, because it is His Peace which will carry us through the bizarre things our bodies can do when their equilibrium is out of whack.
If we are cultivating our relationship with God, in a present, continuous, deliberate way, it takes finding Him in the middle of a swirl of unbalanced hormones or the mess of a life turned inside out, from next to impossible, to immediate.
This week, an infection in my body unbalanced things in my brain, and part of me was completely upside down.
Being able to remember sickness does not define me, what my body might be screaming at me does not remove me from my place in the Heart of God, and who I am in Christ is secure no matter how much trouble this body gives me; meant I could ride the wave with an underlying sense of Peace, knowing it would end.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” […] For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
Temporary imperfections do not limit God from being powerful in and through us. The things we see as problems, limitations, disqualifications, are the very things which position us for receiving, experiencing, living in and touching others with greater amounts of the Power of God than we may have thought possible.
Why? Because those things drive us into our prayer closets.
They drive us into intimate relationship with God, and it is in intimacy that trust builds. In an intimate, trusting, two-way relationship with All Of God, responsibility for stewarding the Power of the Presence of God becomes possible.
God Bless You Very Much