I am still washing off the residue of Gnosticism that coats my worldview. Sometimes I find myself subconsciously delegitimizing or trying to separate myself from my emotions. For instance: There is a particular thing that I desire to do or to have that I know will require patience. I still feel the desire, yet on the other hand I want to submit to what He has for me because that's obviously best, even if I disagree in the moment.
I'm linking this to Gnosticism because of its emphasis on spirit v. matter, in which spirit is valued above the physical/material realm, the realm where we walk and talk and feel happy and sad and everything else. I'm linking feelings to the physical/material realm because they are an innate part of "humanness." With Gnostic thought, divine knowledge is exalted above the human physical experience and the goal is essentially to transcend the real world. This kind of thinking is still lurking in the church world, especially in charasmania where the end goal tends to be a transcendent, mystical experience.This has great value, but if the importance and value of day-to-day life and general humanness is de-emphasized then it's problematic.
I keep feeling the Lord point out that I am, in fact, a human being (believe it or not) and that He made human beings to feel and experience. He wants me to be in those feeling places with Him, to include him in the process, to invite Him into my heart and what I'm experiencing there. He does not expect me not to have emotional reactions nor should I deny them or experience them alone. Sometimes in Christian world we infer that we are expected to be bulletproof, unaffected by anything, which is not realistic.
Simple enough, yeah? So here is a story.
There was a job I had been pursuing for which I already had one interview. After playing phone tag with a guy from their HR dept. I was informed that I was not going to be invited back for another interview. Now, I knew that this was the Lord's sovereignty, that the door was closed on purpose. Plus, it was a position at a large company, which isn't my cup of tea. I had an ends-justify-the-mean mentality in going for the job, thinking that the ends of paying off school loans and the resulting freedom would justify the means of working for a corporation. But still.
Despite recognizing this was how it was meant to be, I still felt sad. Thoughts such as, "What did I do wrong?" and "What's wrong with me?" "Why do they hate me?" and "I'm a disgrace to the family name" murmured back stage. I told the Lord that although I accepted this outcome and trusted it was for the best, I still felt this way. I felt permission to feel what I needed to feel for a little while.
Jessica Youmans texted me to ask about the job. I told her that I didn't get it and was trusting it was the right thing, yet I tagged "but, rejection doesn't feel like flowers."
Later that night, I arrived at our small group and Jessica pointed at a vase of beautiful, freshly cut blossoms of white and green and said, "those are for you."
"What for?" I inquired.
Without skipping a beat, she said, "Because rejection doesn't feel like flowers."
Flowers feel like flowers!
Upon later reflection, not only was I touched by her kind gesture of encouragement and thoughtfulness (she picked the perfect ones! Sorry, no picture), but also I saw how the Lord really moved through her to confirm what He had been teaching me. Yes, we accept what falls from His hand. But also, we get to have the space to experience whatever that is, honestly and genuinely with Him. Disappointment, rejection, shame, guilt, anxiety, happiness, desire, passion-- He wants it all. Isn't He great to give us challenges that sharpen us, and then also surround us with people through whom He moves to comfort us and to share it with along the way?
Thank you Jessica. Thank you Jesus. Flowers feel gooooood.
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