Willow Weep for Me

Try to remember the kind of September/When no one wept except the willow…  That’s one of the lines from the song “Try to Remember”.  It’s too bad the willow isn’t the only one that weeps.  There comes a time in life when the tears fall all too easily… usually the product of an aching heart, as we discussed in the last post.  Life doesn’t only bring disappointments, but often stresses, decisions, hopes, wonderments, confusion, anger, frustration… in these times my reaction is to run to somewhere quiet and cry.  Sometimes it helps vent the emotion without making other people endure it.  Yet other times it just makes me feel worse.  If only the willow would weep, and not me!

Emotions are strange in many ways, and too often misunderstood.  One of the funny things about emotions is that they are circular.  I don’t think many girls realize thisOften, we react to our circumstances with an outbreak of emotion, then, because we have this emotion toward our circumstance, we develop a consistent attitude toward it, which in turn causes more outbreaks of emotion… all fueled by our overwhelming consideration of our emotions in the first place.

If there is one thing that bothers me, it’s a moody girl.  You know the kind:  she’s happy one day, and then by some ‘right’ she gets to be huffy the next.  You didn’t do anything — or maybe you did, and you don’t know it, you can never be sure.  I’ve heard people comment before, “Oh, it’s okay, she’s just in one of her moods.”  I couldn’t help but think:  who gave you the right to have ‘moods’?  Our society gives that right.  ‘Feelings’ are everything; we are to consider them first in ourselves and in others.  Our generation of girls has grown up with the idea that their emotions take highest priority, and if you trample on them, you take the consequences.   This is seen just as often in Christian girls.

Somehow Christian girls have slipped through the cracks when it comes to moodiness.  Truth be told, we have no inherent right to vent our emotions on people, especially our families.  I’ve done it, and I learned quickly that ’emotional abuse’ of family members doesn’t last long.  The reason it occurs so often is that moodiness is not seen as a sin.  It’s just a ‘woman thing’.  Did anyone ever think to make it a ‘nobody thing’?  Some girls blame it on hormones.  I could get into a whole speel on PMS and why I think it’s just an excuse for emotional lack of control, but I won’t argue that point here :).  The issue is this: moodiness and venting emotions is a lack of self control, patience, gentleness and kindness, all of which are fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.  If you are walking with the Spirit, it won’t happen.

“So when do I get to be myself?”,  you ask.  As Anne Ortlund said, your self is who you are in Christ.  Thus, your emotions will be controlled by Him.  If you want to live in your sinful self, go ahead and be moody.  That’s not God’s idea of a beautiful woman.

Crying over the pressures of life does not qualify as moodiness, since moodiness is taking out those pressures on others.  But there is a solution to the emotions we feel in life’s trials:  Jesus Christ.  If I hold on to my emotions, either bottling them for later use or dumping them on my family, I am not solving anything.  Peter said, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:6-7, ESV).

How does this have to do with relationships?  Everything.  Whether you are still at home with your family, married with a husband, dating, courting, or just having great friends, your emotions can be kept in control.  I am not saying to bottle them up until you explode, because that will be the result.  By releasing your emotions to Christ, in tears or laughter, whatever you may be feeling — He will take them and make you strong.

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Desperate Measures

I think that the commitment to waiting, preserving purity, and going about relationships with accountability is definitely God’s plan for every young man and woman.  That commitment requires great trust and faith, as well as patience and fortitude.  The results of keeping that faith are true love, happiness and a deeper walk with God that glorifies Him always.

But there can be a negative side.

This side is not the ‘fault’ or responsibility of God — it is entirely the result of Satan’s temptation.  Yet it is so easy to give into this temptation, that often, it is not even recognized as such.  This is the temptation to desperation.

The positives of waiting far outweigh any negatives, but if there is anything I have noticed the ‘waiting girls’ have in common is a desperation to get married.  I covered this briefly in another post, but it can become such an overwhelming feeling that I am addressing it all on its own.  Desperation, frustration, discontent — I know them, and so do many other girls.  They cast a dark shadow on the beautiful purity of the committed life.  What is to be done?

Satan’s work begins entirely with the mind.  If he can capture your thoughts, he can capture your feelings, emotions, and eventually, your actions.  His is the little nagging voice that tries to gain a hearing with you: “Feeling alone?  I knew you would.  He’ll never come.  Why are you waiting?  Go out and look, you’ll never meet him otherwise…  you’ll be an old maid, an old, single, unhappy maid…”  If you give him the hearing he desires, soon those thoughts will take hold.  You will begin to believe them.  And when they take root, soon your heart will begin to turn.  “Why am I doing this?  It hurts!  It take too much!  I can’t wait anymore!”  Those girls who allow their feelings to guide their actions soon lose what was once precious, out of desperation for the love they are deprived.  Deprived?  Wait…

Satan wants you to think you are being deprived of something wonderful, and that God is the source of the deprivation. But let’s think back to another situation where someone felt ‘deprived’… her name was Eve. She had everything in the garden, but the one thing she didn’t have is what Satan used to bring about the fall of the whole world. 

You have no reason to feel deprived, because you are not.  God has given you everything necessary for the place He has you now; he does not allow the righteous to suffer, nor to starve.  Every good and perfect gift is from above.  And His grace is sufficient for you.  Does this mean you will remain in the state you are forever, because you have ‘everything you need’?  No.  You have what you need for where you are now, but down the road, God may give you more for the different position you are in. 

When those thoughts try to lodge themselves in the back of your mind, take them captive for Christ.  He is your King, your Heavenly Husband, the source of Contentment, and the Hope of the world.  You are not deprived!  You need not feel desperate for anything…  except for the love of the Man who died that you might be His.