6. I am grateful for truth.
I notice my posts have been getting gradually heavier but maybe that’s a good thing? Ehh… yay for vulnerability?!… *Curls up in ball and hides forever*. This is what this Gratitober thingy is about. Digging for the good in the toughest times in life. Forcing optimism into the midst of trouble and fear. Pushing past doubts and worries and embracing truth… I know, I’ve lost my marbles, but roll with it!
Emotions are like a ball of yarn spiralling down from a tower, trailing helplessly through the wind, and crashing to the bottom with nothing but a thread to climb back up with. Sometimes our feelings get the best of us and make us say and do unusual things, or they debilitate us and hold us back from acting at all. I remember times when I’ve let my emotions lead my decisions, and the track record of “oopsies” I’ve left behind are too many to keep score. The amount of times I’ve said something out of fear, worry, anger, disappointment, excitement, hyper-optimism, etc., and later thought, “Why did I say that? Was that really how I felt?,” have taught me that sometimes we need to take time to focus on what is true rather than what we feel. And it’s easier said than done. For me, that’s fighting against my own nature.
If my emotions are overwhelming me and guiding my thoughts down a certain path, I need to take time to step back and focus on what is true. Hmm… ask myself, “Despite how I feel about this particular situation, what is true? What is good? What is wise? What does God say about this in His word? Do these thoughts come from Him or are they lies?” I might feel like something bad is inevitable, but is that the truth or is it just my emotional perception of the situation? I have to examine what is known, and focus on the evidence of truth outside of my perspective and my feelings. It’s easier said than done and takes years of practice, and I definitely still struggle with this.
For example: If I’m having a rough time and thinking thoughts like, “I’m a failure. I can’t believe I’m still here. I’m not where I wanted to be at this point. It’s never gonna happen. Hope is lost… bla bla bla…” that’s going to begin to shape the way I approach new opportunities. It’s going to hold me back from taking chances. It’s going to make me afraid every time I have to make a big decision, wondering if the worst case scenario is going to happen. But as real as those perceptions feel, none of them are actually based on truth (and I cannot know those things are inevitable because I don’t have prospective). Then, should I let those thoughts continue to live in my heart and mind?
My strategy for this is to sit down, grab my journal, and try to “take every thought captive” (1 Corinthians 10:5):
- What am I thinking?
- Where did this thought come from? What’s the root? What’s my underlying fear or concern?
- Is this a thought from God? Is it based on truth?
- If this thought isn’t from God, I need to do everything I can to throw it in the trash and not dwell on it anymore.
Instead of focusing on the emotions of that day or in that moment of worry and anxiety, try to focus on the truth of what is known, and that will help us to have better control and wisdom about the way we think, speak, and act. Truth directs our minds away from destructive paths of thinking. Instead of spiralling downward like that metaphorical ball of emotional yarn, we can stand on solid ground by focusing on the truth, no matter what our concerns may be. That’s going to help us discern. I’m still learning this… and I’m still really bad at it sometimes. But practice makes perfect, right?
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)