Creation. All of creation groans to be put right (Romans 8.22). I feel that groaning within myself. I long to be put right. I desire healthy relationships. I desire vulnerability and wholeness. Yet, I cannot seem to nail it down. I spend a lot of time stuck in the fear of failure – the fear of growth. I am not the type of person who will seize the moment by telling you how I actually feel. I process thoroughly. I process internally. I process before I am ever able to talk – especially about my “feelings.”
I used to treat my feelings as the enemy. I did not want to feel anymore. I thought feeling made me weak. I refuse to look weak. I hate feeling weak. What is worse is when I am actually weak. In the area of “feelings” I am weakest. I cower in the face of my actual feelings. I avoid the pressure of knowing that I am not driven by the “Logical” or “Rational” side of my brain. I spent the majority of my life believing that “logic” and “rational” were invariably virtues which makes “emotions” and “feelings” inherent vices.
I recently began understanding that pragmatism is not what makes me valuable. In fact, my pragmatic side, is generally a farce. Every choice I make is rooted in an emotion or a feeling. Last year we did not choose to buy a house because it is a pragmatic, rational, and logical choice. We bought a house because we long to have a place to call home. We talk about raising our family there. We cannot help but be driven by our feelings, and to claim otherwise is absurd.
We live in an age of pragmatic dualism – we are told there are always only two options: a “right” and a “wrong,” a “good” and a “bad,” a “holy” and an “unholy.” I could continue but you get the image.
I no longer believe this to be true. In fact, I believe it is one of our biggest points of frustration and anger. I see this in my life, because I was always told that if I “act right” or “holy” or “good,” then God will bless me (with the desires of my heart).
This all sounds great… but what happens when this doesn’t pan out? What do I do when my correct lifestyle, my correct way of thinking, my righteousness does not yield the desires of my heart… and on top of that God feels a million miles away?
My pragmatic dualism fails me perpetually. My view of God’s work in my life is too narrow. My take on myself is too harsh. I am moving toward a larger view of life. A larger view of self. A larger view of God. I no longer control God with my right thinking, action, or intention. Rather, I (try) to allow space for my emotions, feelings, and pain to speak their voice. They are not my enemy. Jesus weeping in the garden is not a moment of weakness – it is a moment of honesty. It is a moment of humanity. It is his “God-with-us” Immanuel being played out in its fullest form.
Maybe I am called to a similar honesty. Maybe I am allowed to feel and even discuss my feelings. Maybe my anger or sadness does not offend God. Maybe God is more with me than I know within those moments that bust up my pragmatic dualism.
Maybe part of me that groans for reconciliation is not my enemy. Rather, it might be my closest friend, if I am willing to engage with my biggest fear – my own feelings.
Grace and Peace,