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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, March 17, 2008

Feeling Feelings

A lil play on words there. Trying to look at various things with new eyes, such as satan, hell,suffering,sin,and feelings and confidence. Tradition plays a huge part in our lives for the most part in so many ways. We have family traditions, occupation traditions, individual traditions and religious traditions. A lot of them develop over time and become so just by virtue of repetition. We don't think about them really they become habitual and part of our rhythm of life. I love the story of how one year whil trying to cook a ham for a holiday dinner a woman cut off a huge hunk of the ham. Her children asked her why and she said her mother had always done it that way. So she asked her mother and her reply was oh well that is how my mother always did it. Naturally they then went to great grandma and asked her why she cut the end off the ham because the pan she was using was too small to fit the whole ham!!!! LOL Love that story because it illustrates how many times we may not even have a knowledgeable reason for why we do something.

That story lends itself to the purposes of a different post than the one i intend here so bear with me, allow it to apply to some of the things i mentioned in my first few lines. i have always had a hard time with confidence. I have enumerated the reasons why in many past posts over these last 4 years. One of the struggles has been to develop a sense of confidence when for varying reasons it seems there is none to be found. For me a huge issue was trying to understand how i could have confidence when the treatment i got from so many other people was undermining to having any sense of confidence. Of course its a mixed bag, many affirmations were given by people as well, especially family and friends. But when you are emotionally sensitive and fragile negative reactions become superimposed over and above the positive. I learned to find confidence in doing certain things because I knew i could do them, but that underlying sense of confidence has been so elusive, even though as I got older my mind fully comprehended why it was supposed to be there.

Is confidence linked to feelings??? Can we feel our way to confidence or is confidence an act of the will and a thought that results in feelings?? Feelings are fleeting are thry not??? Can we force ourselves to feel a certain way??? When it says to have confidence what part of that involves feelings and if feelings are involved how do you nail then down to stay put instead of scurrying away??? I hope this is not too convoluted and scattred in ways that make it hard to understand. Sometimes it seems to me I have let the simplest things become packed by so much excess junk attached to them over the course of time. I'm hoping many of you have dealt with these things to some degree and have some direction on how you came to conclusions and realizations. How much do feelings matter in regards to confidence???

Lil update, my gout is gone again and i am sticking with water. Here's to taking control to maintain that as lifestyle change of permanence and to stick to healthy eating. Anyone have experience with herbs or supplements that are helpful in dealing with diabetes and heart disease??? Just curious if anyone found natural helps in dealing with these areas. Thanks all !!!


At 11:22 PM, Blogger jennypo said...

Hey Robert, my grandmother takes cinnamon for her diabetes, and she thinks it's the greatest.

I can relate a little to your struggle with feelings. Here's what God has taught me: You can't overcome your feelings by squishing them down. The only thing you can do is replace the negative experiences that caused them with positive ones. Experiences with God replace our fears and hurts not with warm fuzzies, but with healthy fears and hurts - I mean, fears that aren't for ourselves and hurts that are worth the pain. As we come to know God, we begin to hunger for what he wants. That hunger, when it grows, becomes bigger than all of our fears and hurts, so that we begin to see our feelings in the proper perspective. My fear of loneliness lost its hold over me when I began to fear selfishness more than loneliness. Hurts that I've carried around for most of my life are still with me but don't have the power to darken my thinking since I've discovered that there are more important things to me than being loved and understood.

God doesn't want you perfect. He wants you broken and messed up. He never meant for you to fix yourself up. It's okay to be weak and fearful and confused in front of Him - that's how He will use you!

Keep searching for Him. Only. Don't be in a hurry to be whole. Your healing will come when God has finished using the weakness you have now. Your value is not in what you do - it's in Whose you are.

Remember, it was the broken alabaster the disciples despised and Jesus prized. They saw the waste - he saw the worship. Worship him! :^)

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Barbara - Layla said...

Jenny's comment is awesome! I won't even try to add to it, but I will try to apply it to my own fears, etc.

Hey Roberto - forgive me for my lack of comments here recently. I've been lurking in the hallways....

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Kelly Jene said...

I highly recommend the book Let Go by Fenelon. And actually if you felt comfortable emailing me your address, I will send you one. We keep extra copies around. It is a great book about dying to self and Letting go so we can Let God do His work in us.

My confidence still suffers, but I'm also letting God work on me.

God bless!

At 5:09 AM, Blogger so i go said...

good post. i like what Jenny has to say too and wouldn't even attempt to add to that.. it was exactly what i was thinking as i read your post.

that, and just like the ham story, we've got a lot of sacred cows (or pigs) in our faith that we need to put out to pasture. beliefs and systems and even feelings that really have no bearing on our spiritual trajectory and no real influence on true discipleship. most people don't even know where they began, so why are we doing them?

i like what you had to say about confidence. good questions to ask.. i think feelings are feelings.. reactions.. can't really change them unless some type of behavior modification is on your list of things to do.. once again it comes back to Jesus.. we've all got to figure out how to give him our feelings.. ask for a healthy dose of confidence & strength to handle any situation, but humility to see it through.

sorry, i guess i did add to what Jenny had to say.

..thanks for stopoing by my blog the other day :-)

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Cathy W said...

Robert, cinnamon does help (try 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon daily). Also, try eating smaller quantities and adding a protein to each meal and snack. These tricks help alot with controlling blood sugar levels.

I think my personal confidence has grown as I've basked in the identity of being God's child along with the study of His grace. I have been very perfomance oriented since being an all-A student as a child and even into college.

I've discovered "a measure" of healing as I've simply seen myself as His child whom He loves unconditionally, apart from my performance. Being raised as a musician and literally critiqued for my performances, it was hard for me to just be okay with myself especially when I did not do well. The whole fear of failure thing is something I've had to confront.

I feel that I am coming into myself more and more as I discover the truth of my identity in the Word and by experience.

I think we have to be a bit careful with feelings - especially when they contradict what the Bible says is true about us as His kids. It is better to live out of what Truth says rather than what Feelings say - although they can be a very good barometer to help us take a good look at what is going on in our belief system and heart!

Check out my blog post for 3/19 for more encouragement on the eating topic!

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Tracy Simmons said...

Robert, I'm reading a book right now called "The Cry of the Soul" that explores God's purpose for emotions. The basic premise is that they are a good window into what is going on in us, and are to be valued for that, but are not to be the prime indicator for how we live our life. That really resonates with me, you know?

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Robert said...

jennypo- wow you sure spelled it all out there. He wants me messy and broken, so goes against this compulsion I have to make myself good for Him of course I cant if i could why is He there then??? Love the alabaster reference- worship!!!!

barbara you know you are always in my mind anyway you gary and I are just linked that way lol

kellyjene- ty again so much for the book offer and yes so need to let Him work be a work in progress

jeff- hey brother you just added icing on jennypos cake lol your blog always makes me reflect so much i really love your relational giftedness expressing how He wants to interact with us

cathy- i will start using cinnamon ty for your wisdom definitelky need to trust His Word and not my feelings no matter how strong they pull at me

tracy- sounds like an awesome book very true as well feelings make better indians than chiefs don't they?? always love your posts tracy

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Paul K said...

Hey Robert,

What is confidence? Self-confidence...I don't have much. I know me. But I have learned that what I call strength and power are not the same thing as what God calls strength and power. "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to claim anything as comming from ourselves...but our adequacy is from God.." "But we have this treasure in earthly vessels to remind us that the power is not ours, but Gods.." I may of misquoted those verses a bit but you get the gist. Strength is found in trusting God in our weakness.

Great stuff Jennypo. I would only add that sometimes re-writing the themes of our lives takes a bit more than just changing our behaviors, even when that behavior is in response to obedience to God. Emotions are often indicator lights notifying us of deeply held beliefs. The problem therefore is not the emotions, nor even the actions or inaction that those emotions prompt...the problem, and hence the real stronghold that needs addressed, is our beliefs. If we fail to address our wrong thinking before we attempt to change behavior we can easily be led to exchange one dysfunctional belief for another. For instance rather than following God from a sense of freedom and love, or as you have discovered a true and living desire, we may be led to follow Him out of guilt, obligation, or worse with the false idea that somehow He may reward us with healing. In the end not only do we have the false beliefs and values that caused the lowered sense of worth, but add to that guilt, pressure, and a great big sense of personal failure. Ugh!

Robert, though it's impossible to change our feelings by an act of will we can begin the difficult task of uncovering the sentences we tell ourselves and re-place and challenge them in light of God's revealed truth. Then founded on that truth begin to break the behavioral commitments we have made based on the lies (such as avoiding frightening situations for fear of inadequacy). In time as we apply God's truth practically in our day to day lives the reality of that truth becomes more substantial and thus our feelings begin to change and fall in step with His desired will for us. "The truth shall set you free."

Peace Brother!

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Sherry said...

There's not much I can add to all the above comments, except from a personal, practical viewpoint, Robert. For me, feelings usually follow actions. Often it's taking that FIRST step toward something dreaded - a to do list, an appointment, meeting someone for the first time. I feel better about myself for tackling it - that builds a little confidence!
Of course, the best confidence builder is found in Him - Phil. 1:6


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