I sorted through the bills, stacking them on the library table. My emotions took a dive when I realized how many bills still needed paid. I react emotionally to lack or the appearance thereof. Being financially stretched is a trigger for me. I don’t like knowing there are bills waiting and money not available. It’s been a struggle my whole life.
What stresses us most sometimes becomes the thing we do not speak of. We bury it, act like it’s okay or try to positive think it away. Trouble is, none of those strategies work. We end up wrestling with flesh and blood, fighting with our spouses or being overly frustrated with our children when our buttons are pushed and our joy sails out the window. If the joy of the Lord is to be our strength, then we cannot put our hope in the world. If having money in the bank is my strength, then I will grow weak when my bank account does. If having perfect hair and clothing are my strength, then I will be weak on the days that I don’t have a great hair day, have nothing to wear (you know what I am talking about ladies). If my strength is in what I can do, then I will deflate quickly when I can do nothing. If my strength is in my schedule, my get ‘er done list and half way through the day, it all falls apart, then so will my emotions.
I like my emotions to behave. I like to think that I am in control of them, but when I have a reaction like I did when I opened those bills, I know what is in control and it is not Jesus. All my EXPECTING God to supply all my needs flew out the window. I immediately started thinking about what I could do to fix the situation. I texted my husband at work and asked him if he had paid such and such. I messaged my daughter. I sped my own course. I didn’t want to listen to the counsel of reason. I don’t want to go around this same mountain again and again.
“Often we simply react to something that someone else does or says or to an experience we may have. We react with a particular thought that, if it persists, will generate and emotion, followed by an action consistent with that feeling. We move from thought to emotion to action. If we interpret the situation negatively, the resulting emotion is likely to be self-defeating. The behavior will probably move us away from what we really want, even though it may feel right and defensible at the moment. These emotional reflexes quickly become habits of mind.”- Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle
Truth is, the mountain isn’t the money, the bills, kids getting wisdom teeth removed, eye glasses, medical expenses not covered by insurance, large water bills for compensating for a leak in the pool, etc.. The mountain is my reaction. My emotional down shift into the abyss. That is my problem. I may need to make some physical changes. That will not solve my reaction issue.
Only one thing will- Trusting the Lord. Finding my strength in Him. Not looking towards external circumstances for my joy. Joy can come through the circumstances, it all depends on perspective. Am I looking to the Word for answers or the world?
Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.
They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion.-Psalm 84: 5-7
I can spend my days going from strength to strength, increasing in victorious power even in the valley of weeping, if my Strength is in the Lord. My strength is not in me, my bank account, my plans, my anything. It comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, from the Lord Jesus, in whom and for whom all things consist. He is not surprised by bills. He is not even surprised by my reaction to them. I can hear him saying, stop wallowing in the dirt of the circumstances and come away with me. Enjoy the abundant life I have provided for you. I have this vision of myself crawling on the ground in a swirl of dust, covered from head to toe by it, wailing and crying, “What am I going to do?” Ridiculous but true. I think that is how God sees my reaction. He says, “Look up!” God will make a way when there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He knows our needs before we even ask. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
My story doesn’t end here. The great news is, with some prayer,an infusion of the Word, and readjustment on my emotions, the trigger didn’t send me too far off the deep end. I reigned in my emotions and enjoyed the weekend complete with a vigorous hike and a visit to see Grandchildren.
Do you have a trigger? What sends you off the deep end? How do you handle it? Are you a control freak like me trying to trust when things are out of your control?
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday.