Monday, April 11, 2011



He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Ps 40:2)

When I was in college, I received a call about once a week from my dad, on the dorm hall phone. Dad reminded me that during one such call, I’d be stressing out about my low Statistics grade.

“I just don’t know what I’m doing, Dad!” I’d report in exasperation. The next week, Dad would call to see how I was faring in Statistics and I barely remembered I had been upset. Instead, this phone call would be a thrilling account of my invitation to the Middle March Ball. “I’m so excited, Dad! Of course, I’ll need a formal dress,” I gushed.

From one call to the next…well you can imagine, up and down my emotions went, like a seesaw, depending on what good or bad, or funny or sad moment I was having at the time. Dad says he learned quickly not to take my emotional state too seriously. He could not trust my emotions as a gauge of how I was really doing, but rather only a temporary barometer. Emotionally, I was immature and could easily be “tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind…” (Eph. 4:14)

When I began to have a similar experience with my away-at-college daughters, Dad offered me reassurance. “Don’t get too carried away by their emotions.” He explained, “Next time you call, they won’t even remember what they were so upset about the last time. You’ll see…” And, of course, Dad was right.

Even though I’m supposedly a “mature” Christian woman now, I’m still tossed back and forth by the waves of my own emotions. A great night out with my husband makes me happy, only to return home to an anxious call from my daughter that has me worried. One moment, I’m thrilled about my friend’s answered prayer, a little later I’m devastated by the news of another friend’s serious illness. So one moment I’m chirping, “Oh God, I am so blessed, thank you…” And the next, I am crying out from a pit, “God please help me. I am afraid, sad, lonely, anxious…”

The truth is my feelings cannot be trusted. In fact, they can be downright unreliable. In just one day, they’ll have me traveling all over the emotional map, up and down hills and dales of reactions to everything I encounter. My feelings are not firm, they are not steadfast, they are not solid. And so, if I put my trust in my emotions, I’m sunk.
In the words of Edward Mote, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…”

How about you? Is the emotional ground you’re standing on a bit shaky? What will you stand on today to make you strong, firm, and steadfast?

Check out two very different versions of the same thought:


  1. Now that WE'RE parents of "college-age-kids" the nugget from your story (from all of us who scheduled Sunday afternoon around a weekly call and pleas for tafeta) is the fact that no matter how traumatized we were by a bad test or inconsiderate room mate...our folks maintained an even keel. It couldn't have been easy, no cell phones for daily collegiate updates, this pragmatic generation must've called knowing they'd be inundated with venting, drama, elation and worry from their college kids-not to mention our creative pleas for additional funds. As we think about how our own childrens' tales of stolen wallets while studying abraod, irrational teacher grading or cad dates who didn't call when they said they couldn't have been easy for them any more than it is fo us. The beautiful thing is that God, gives us parents the inate instinct to quell our childrens' fears and worries and the ability to reveal in their daily joys. That doesn't mean that after we hang up after giving sage advice,(often convincing ourselves of our own wisdom and calm) that we don't obsess late into the night. I think the trick for us stoic parents is giving our worries to God-in those moments of "anxiety by proxy". Giving our worries to God...AND giving an extra $20 bucks for an "injust" parking ticket to our kids. And if we can be a moral sounding board for our own brood, much as our parents were for us, we are most blessed indeed! -thanks for the insight and flashback. LMT

  2. Oh yeah, I can relate, Elise! I always have to remind myself that my emotions are not what I stand on, but Jesus is! He's the only One who's the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

  3. Elise,
    These words really blessed my heart today! Thanks for taking the time to write them down. You are loved!

    Nancy Lindgren

  4. Hi Elise, just stopped by to let you know you have a 'Versatile Blogger Award' waiting for you at my blog:
    I am blessed to know you, even if it's only in cyberspace. Keep writing and posting on She Writes. Blessings, Elizabeth.

  5. Elise,
    I am no longer of college age and yet I find myself on shaky emotional ground always. Like you, some days I'm happy, and others distraught. However, there is one thing that is constant and that is my faith in God. I know that no matter what happens, I can trust in the Lord to get me through whatever situation may be causing me angst; whatever circumstance may be robbing me of my piece of mind. At the end of the day, I can accept that I'm human and that as such, it's in my nature to experience different emotional states. Nevertheless, it's a relief to know that I can still feel secure in God's everlasting comfort and love.

  6. Thanks for all your comments.
    Love your trip down memory lane, Linda. I wonder if our parents didn't worry a little less with less knowledge. The old ignorance is bliss!? I can get so carried away by worry with some of those calls. Praying really helps! Lord help me to remember your eyes are on my sparrows.

    And Bella, we sure are works in progress. Thank God we really are forgiven every time we fail.

  7. Wow! I think I figured out how to do this. Love your blog!


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