Emotions vs. Obedience

Live according to your beliefs, not your emotions.

I wasn’t feeling happy.

I wasn’t feeling in love.

I didn’t feel the butterflies, I wasn’t sure if I ever had.

So I left. The world told me that if I didn’t feel happy, I shouldn’t be in my marriage. I wasn’t walking in my beliefs, I was walking in my emotions. I was letting them dictate my decisions.

Are you being obedient regardless of what your emotions are telling you, or are you allowing your emotions to dictate your obedience?

I tell ya, being obedient at that point of my life would have taken everything I had. I was depressed, laying on the couch crying about nothing and everything, I felt like I was drowning and didn’t know how to help myself. My husband would ask what he could do to help and I wouldn’t know what to tell him. I could barely feel anything, let alone happiness.

Being obedient, regardless of my emotions, would have taken every ounce of energy and brain-space I had. It would have felt like I was hiking uphill in waist high mud. But I know, now that I have gotten to the other side and seen what it took to cure me, that it wasn’t impossible. That it would have ended and my marriage would have been stronger for it.

Now, my emotions try to dictate my thoughts in an entirely different way.

Being single in a world that tells you your completeness will come when you’re married, is a tough one especially when God has told me to remain single. My loneliness seeps in, my desire for intimacy and connection, and it whispers to me along with the mantras of the world, that God wouldn’t really ask me to be single for this long. He wants us to be happy, he wants us to be dating, married, childbearing women.

When I allow myself to enter into a dating relationship, am I allowing my emotions to dictate my actions? Or am I stepping forward in obedience, regardless of my feelings?

Life is constantly changing. There’s ebbs and flows, ins and outs. I believe our God can hold us to something today and release us from it tomorrow. But His commands and Word stay the same throughout time. Are we allowing our emotions to change what He has told us or what the Bible commands…that is the question.

Obedience takes bravery. Sometimes the Lord asks us to do something that is counter-culture.

It’s staying in the marriage when it doesn’t make sense.

It’s remaining single when everyone just wishes we would date.

It’s guarding our virginity when everyone else has given theirs up.

It’s somtimes saying No to the cute guy that asks you out.

It’s saying Yes to committing to that missions trip.

It’s being ok with not taking the better paying job.

Obedience is an act of worship. It is a sacrifice we lay at God’s feet telling Him that He has control and we will surrender our plan to His will, regardless of our emotions.

God honors our worship, He sees our human struggles and knows the heart-hurt it can cause us. He desires to give us what our hearts need, which is often very different than what we want. What we want is usually a short-term fix to a long-term desire.

When we can lay aside our emotions, knowing that God will look after us even when it feels like He is distant, that is when we will see God and feel His presence and perhaps even see a miracle.

 

Birthday & Blessings

Yesterday was my birthday.

I’m the big and bold 34.

No, I’m not “21, again *wink*”. No, I’m not 29 for the last 5 years…I’m actually proud of being 34 and I am dedicated to appreciating every age no matter what society says about aging.

My friends and I planned a dinner party at a cute restaurant and 12 beautiful women showed up. In just a year and a half I have been so blessed with so many deep and meaningful friendships. Women that have firm faith in the Lord and passion and direction in their lives.

I feel like I was somewhat forced into moving to Vancouver Island from Northern British Columbia. I was happy where I was, loving my job and feeling satisfied with being back in my small home town. But I needed to remove myself from a situation and felt like moving away was my only option.

It’s funny how our struggles can become blessings.

We sat down for dinner with candle light, laughter and gifts. These ladies blessed me with words of encouragement and compliments, feeding my Love Language of verbal affirmation and making me feel so appreciated. I walked away from the table feeling refreshed and so overwhelmed with love. God knows our what my soul needs and fills my life with it. Not only am I so blessed to know that these ladies are all around me, loving me and leading me deeper in friendship and Faith, but I know that God is looking down on me, filling my being with everything that makes it tick.

Happy Birthday to me ❤

 

Happiness

“But are you happy?”

“Do what makes you happy!”

“As long as you’re happy!”

There’s nothing that gets under my skin faster than one of these cliché happiness comments. Ok, I say that a lot, but this is one of my biggest pet-peeves. When my friends hear a comments like this they just look at me and roll their eyes “Uh oh, here goes Katie on her pedestal.” They know what comes next. Keeping my mouth shut is sometimes an issue. But that’s why I have a blog, right?

What is happiness? It’s a fleeting emotion. It comes just as fast as it disappears. Yet, so many of us base our lives on it. Our marriages. Our living situations. Our success. Our feelings of importance and self-acceptance. Our acceptance of others. “Are they happy? Ah, then that’s all that matters.”

One of the biggest reasons (excuses) for marriages falling apart is the lie that if it doesn’t make you happy, you shouldn’t be involved in it. Think of how many times you’ve seen a couple struggling and heard someone say “Well, if you aren’t happy, maybe you need to consider leaving”. This was definitely one of the reasons I used to justify leaving my marriage. As I listen to others in struggling marriages or those that have been through a divorce, this is one of the repeating lines.

Happiness comes and goes. If I’m not feeling happy with my husband or marriage one minute, the next minute it might change completely. It causes even more confusion to rely on happiness as a deciding factor. One minute I feel happy and content, the next I’m crying, depressed and empty. If I’m relying on the happiness to be there continually, when the sadness comes over me, I start to question if my marriage is right.

Happiness is never continually present. The feeling depends on our situations and our momentary experiences. Our marriages cannot possibly rely on the something that is so temperamental and instantaneous. Yes, it’s an important factor and feeling happy is good. But relying on to define what is right and wrong, especially something as important as a marriage, isn’t wise.

You’ll hear me mention my Rebellious Years many times in my writing. These are the two years that I lived a wild life outside of my marriage. During these years I did everything I could to feel “happy”. I was finally living my life the way I wanted to, not the way I had been told that I should. I drank, slept around, swore like a trucker. And apparently, I was happy. Or so I would have claimed throughout years. What I didn’t acknowledge, or even realize during this time, was how empty my soul was feeling. None of the things that I thought were making me happy, were actually making me feel joyful. Happiness flittered away within moments and I was left feeling empty.

I think that’s the lesson here. Joy is what we need to be pursuing. Something that is solid, can hold us during the storms, is unchanging. Something we can look to when times get tough and know that we will get through. Something that will fill our soul, not disappear as soon as the moment is complete.

And that’s where my relationship with the Lord comes in.

He is unchanging, he fills me soul with contentedness, he comforts and sooths me. He provides joy and encouragement even when I can’t seem to see the end of the struggle. If I focus on being happy, I will be tossed around, changing my mind constantly, wondering where I belong. I’ll always be pursuing the next best thing and wondering why I don’t feel complete. But if I chase after joy, I’ll be satisfied and know that the next best thing could never have satisfied my soul anyways.