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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYz0JkKSiMw&feature=related (Natalie Grant)