I feel as though I’ve been fighting for the past few months. Not physically, emotionally. And, it occurred to me that, as Christians, we fight emotions all the time. We fight temptation, we fight guilt, we fight uncertainty. I could go on. But I want to take this time and just encourage you. I want to encourage you to fight. I want to encourage you to stand out. I want to encourage you to fight the norms of this world. I discovered several situations the past few days where I fought a feeling because I knew it was destructive. I fought to get a hold of myself. It’s only because I know those feelings weren’t from God.
IMPATIENCE…I sat down in one of the pews at church. I was fifteen minutes early, so I had time to look around and watch as people came to find their seats. I lost count of the couples I saw that sat down, some guys putting arms around their wives as they waited for the service to begin. I saw young couples coming in, smiles on their faces, holding hands as they searched out an open spot. A mother and her young girl sat in front of me. The child rested her head on her mother’s shoulder and the mom put a protective arm around her.
I sighed in my head as I thought, “I want that for my life. I want a godly husband and a family to take care of.” Feelings of impatience and dissatisfaction welled up inside me as I continued to mull over that thought. Then, I had to stop. I had to take a deep breath. “I just wrote a blog post about this last week,” I reminded myself. I wrote about feeling impatient, about instantly wanting to belong. And yet, here I was, getting impatient again. That’s not what God teaches. I want to encourage you, fight the impatience.
JEALOUSY/ANGER…I scrolled through my facebook as I came across pictures from a family that I’ve known for a long time, the father’s arms around his children. I saw random pictures of girls with their fathers, bragging about how their dad is the best dad. It brought up unwelcome feelings. I instantly began to feel slightly jealous. Then, I began to feel angry about my family situation, despite it happening years ago.
Jealousy often leads right into anger. And, guess what? Neither of those emotions are from God. I had forgiven my dad a while back, hadn’t I? Why was I still feeling slighted? Again, I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that I have had so many blessings in my life. At least I have a dad, right? I went through one of the hardest journeys emotionally in learning how to forgive my dad. I need to love him, not be angry and feel jealousy towards those who get flowers from their fathers on Valentine’s Day. That’s not from God. I encourage you, fight the jealousy and anger.
NEGATIVITY…I sat in the doctor’s office for the millionth time, but this time in a neurology clinic in the Springs. I didn’t want to have to drive back and forth to Denver every time something happened with my MS, so my practical solution was to find a neurologist in the Springs. The medical assistant finished getting my vitals and looked over my paperwork. “So, you’re here because you were diagnosed with MS, correct?” she inquired as she continued to study my papers. I swallowed hard. “Yeah,” I said as a nervous chuckle escaped my lips and I averted my eyes to the floor. It’s funny how that statement can still make me feel like I was punched in the stomach. All the negative feelings I’ve felt the past few months about my MS threatened to fill my mind and heart at that moment. I pushed them back down, forced myself to look at the medical assistant, and smiled. Then she left to get the doctor.
It would be so easy for me to go back to all the negative and destructive thoughts I constantly had the months after graduation. I still have moments, but I reminded myself how lucky I am to still be healthy. I am not in the same place I was last summer. I’m not having any symptoms. I reminded myself that the negativity wasn’t from God, and that’s not what He would want me to feel. I encourage you, fight the negativity.
FEAR…I smiled down at my patient as I handed her the morning medications. We began talking about the awful experience of being in the hospital, and then she asked me why I became a nurse. I let her in on the fact that I had type 1 diabetes and MS, that I wanted to make peoples’ lives better who were in a powerless situation. She looked at me and asked if the doctor had given me a timeline to when downward progression of my MS would happen. I looked at her and smiled to hide the chill of fear that ran down my spine. I told her that no, the doctor hadn’t given me any sort of timeline.
I’ve been feeling well. I don’t want to think about what might happen 20 years down the road. I don’t want to think about what “downward progression” will mean for me. That moment, I knew that fear was not from God. God has me in the palm of His hand. God knows what my future holds and it’s not my job to figure it out ahead of time. Fear can be an all-consuming emotion. It’s a powerful tool, and if the fear is not rooted in righteousness, then it doesn’t have a place in your heart. I encourage you, fight the fear.
STIGMA…I had a conversation with a friend the other day. I told her that I didn’t believe in living together with a guy before marriage, let alone sleep with him. Despite the popular belief that living together is necessary to really know the person, I don’t believe that for a second. I also believe in not having sex before marriage. She looked at me and said, “Really?” She paused and then asked me, “Why?”
It was a moment where I shared exactly why. It is because of my faith. It is because of my belief in the Bible. It is because I want to pursue righteousness. I want to pursue God first in all things. It’s not something you hear from most 22 year olds in this world. I’m okay with that. I encourage you, fight the stigmas of this world. Be different. Get people to ask you, “Why?”
Whatever “it” is for you, find it in yourself to fight it through the Holy Spirit. You will be set apart from others, and they will ask you, “Why?” Embrace it and use it as an opportunity. I have to continue to pray that negative emotions do not become lodged in my heart. That will ultimately be destructive, and God wants to build us up in His truth. Thanks for reading.
“And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.”