[This blog is part of the 'Are Women Crazy' series. Get all caught up here!]
The Emotional Sandbox is a dangerous place to hang out. Our emotions can distort our view of reality, causing us to re-write our circumstance based on how we feel. Instead of our emotions flowing out of reality, we re-create what’s ‘real’ based on how we feel.
1. Positive emotions: One time I liked a boy. Every time I would receive a text or email from him I would spend hours sitting around with pals dissecting every word. Every smiley face or punctuation mark would cause me to respond as if the poor guy had proposed.
- Ideally, I would have ‘spotted the signs’ of my positive emotions and used them to identify places I was placing my worth in something apart from Christ. Why would a text from a boy would leave me feeling the same degree of emotion as if Christ Himself had showed up on my door?
- Emotional sandbox: Instead, I trusted my feelings as a source of truth and an indicator of reality. I re-wrote my circumstances, attributing more intention to the guy than was real. When it turned out he wasn’t into me, I felt ‘wronged’ and wondered how he could have led me on when. I was just having so much fun in the emotional sandbox that I made up a whole new reality defined by my feelings.
2. Negative emotions: About a month or so ago, I found out I wasn’t going to get to be a part of a project at work that I was pretty excited about. When I heard the news I was pretty disappointed.
- Ideally, in times like that, I hope to be the kind of girl who welcomes the opportunity to test my heart. A lot of times things go exactly how I want at work, and so I can convince myself that I’m not insecure at all. Moments when I don’t get my way are my chance to address any places where I am finding even a tiny bit of myself in a place that is not secure.
- Emotional Sandbox: The project itself wasn’t something that made my world go round, but I felt rejected, and so that became my reality. The truth is I’m not working on the project because someone else is a better fit, but I ‘felt’ like it was personal rejection, and so that defined for me what was true: people at work think I’m bad at my job; they don’t value me.
3. Apathetic emotions: Right now, as I sit here writing this, Jesus lives in Heaven above. He has paid my debt. He has ransomed me. I get to spend eternity worshiping Him. When I hear this though, my heart doesn’t leap as it should. I’m still just sitting here typing without the correct proportional response to that great news.
- Ideally, I’d exploit my lack of emotions as an opportunity to see if I believe my treasure is truly in Christ alone. I’d press into my lack of emotions as a reminder of my desperate need for the Spirit of God to move in my heart and awaken my taste buds to the truth. I’d fall on my knees and cry out – ‘I do believe! Help my unbelief!’
- Emotional Sandbox: If I’m not careful I can re-define reality based on how I feel. In this moment, He doesn’t feel as good as friends or relationships, so I begin to listen to the lie that He’s not as good as friends or relationships. I let my feelings determine what’s true and begin to believe that the passing pleasures of this world offer more joy to me than Him. God forbid.
God calls His people to experience emotions strongly and deeply and He calls us to experience them in proportion to reality. I have a book sitting next to me on this coffee table that reminds me of what is real. Reality is beautiful and emotional enough to produce more vibrant emotions than any in the sandbox.