Peace is to JOY as drama is to unrest. Chaos is to confusion as love is to happiness. I’ve lived on each end of the emotional spectrum. Some places in between as well. They’ve been tough to manage at times. Appropriate, misplaced as well. Whether right or wrong, I’ve always been able to justify them in my mind, as long as I was getting what I thought I couldn’t do without. Searching for love and happiness has driven me to make many wrong choices. My desire for peace and joy has as well. In each instance, I could justify and defend what I did. Even when the outcome hurt someone else. That’s happened quite a bit too. Being ruled by emotions has always eventually led to personal disaster. It left no room for me to exercise my good sense or reason. God gave me the ability to SENSE – to feel, so that I could enjoy life. When I’ve failed to exercise self-control, they’ve served as a means of oppression; robbing me of the joy they were designed to give me. Anytime that I’m operating from a place other than my spiritual center, I’m off balance. Realigning myself is not as easy as it seems. Reeling in feelings that have been out there is difficult – especially when they are wrong.
This Jesus journey can be rough. It’s not always easy to ascribe to integrity and righteousness. Heaven help me, there are some people that I just don’t like. During this past year when I was taking night classes, I left my son in the care of one of my church sisters that I thought I could trust. Her boyfriend felt like he needed to discipline my eight year old son and choked him. The police told me from the beginning that it was one of those cases that they’d probably not be able to bring to trial. They were right. I went through the roof! My understanding was zero. My first thoughts were not vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Nor were my feelings those of forgiveness. Talk about a test – that was it! God had to really work with me on that one. He still is. No matter where I go to get groceries, I see them and they always smile and say “hello.” Part of exercising self- control in this instance is cutting my shopping short and leaving the store.
I have to tune in carefully to my emotions. They will deceive me if I let them. I had a colleague that I got along with fabulously well. We worked great together and became friends. We could laugh and talk for hours if time permitted. There was never a lull in the conversation. He was interesting, fun to be around, and wasn’t bad on the eyes either. As time passed, I realized that we were spending a lot of time together. Perhaps too much. Everything was above board. However, I’m single – he’s married. So I thought it best if I put some distance between us for posterity’s sake. I didn’t want or need the slightest inkling of any indiscretion. Even though his wife knew me and said she had no issues with our friendship. In this instance, wisdom prevailed. I can’t always say it has. I know me and also human nature. Given the right set of circumstances anyone can be vulnerable. In this season of my life my mantra is to do no harm. I seek redemption, not from sin. I know that I’m saved. I know that God has forgiven me for the intentional/unintentional harm that I’ve caused people. I find healing in repairing the breaches; in restoring whatever relationships that I can. I’ve left some too deeply wounded to even want to see or speak to me. My due diligence in those circumstances is to quietly close the door behind me. To leave them alone and look for opportunities in my day to day where I can make it up. It’s not required; however, it brings me much joy.