Feelings

Stanley Emotions

“The strongest man who ever lived – our Savior, Jesus – experienced and showed very deep emotion.”

-Charles Stanley, Emotions

Try to have a serious conversation about feelings – unless of course you’re in a therapist’s office – and you’ll run into two possible ditches. The first typically comes from men, who start shuffling uncomfortably and muttering something about not being very emotional.  They are emotional, of course, but to this crowd, emotions are what you have when the power goes out with two minutes to go in a tight Super Bowl.  At best, emotions are something you deal with, but certainly not something you talk about, for crying out loud.

The other ditch tends to be populated more by women, and treats emotions as little gods or dictators of our state, against which we are powerless to do anything except bow down.  Their banner: “I can’t help it – it’s just the way I feel.”  When Debby Boone sang, “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right,” this crowd wiped a tear and lit a candle.

That’s why I’m glad Charles Stanley has brought some truth and balance to the conversation in his new book, Emotions: Confront the Lies, Conquer With Truth.  Dr. Stanley profoundly shaped my life and ministry with a sermon series on the same subject many years ago. Through him I learned, among other things, that all emotions are God-given, and it’s healthy to get a grasp on what their original purpose was/is.  Also, however, all emotions are also sin-corrupted.  Because of that, many people live in the grip of painful, devastating emotions that they feel powerless to overcome. [click to continue…]

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Callie has been seeking the Lord a lot lately.  That’s because not very many people are seeking Callie, and the loneliness hurts.  Badly.  Truth be told, Callie sometimes seeks the Lord to give Him a piece of her mind.  But she has developed the kind of relationship with God where that level of honesty is common.

Callie believes.  But her faith is being tested, almost as much as Stephen’s.

Stephen feels as though he’s two steps past the edge of the ledge, and “all” he has to stand on is the promises of God.  But Stephen wants more.  He wants some evidence – a little sight to go with his faith.  He’s willing to do anything for God, but he wants to know exactly what that “anything” is, and feels terribly insecure in the face of an unclear future.

Stephen believes.  But his faith is being tested, almost as much as John and Julie. [click to continue…]

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I’ve lost count of the number of times I have written this word – much less said it (at least to myself).  It was a complete waste of time.

I’ve kept a journal for 17 years now (something I highly recommend), and there’s no telling how many times I confessed to this feeling.  But not once did it ever create my future, solve a problem, or breathe life into a situation.  In fact, it’s more likely to be a sign of defeat, discouragement, or slow death.

It may be a legitimate feeling.  But if feelings are designed to prompt us to action, the only thing this feeling ever prompts us to do is make excuses, whine, or wave the white flag.  In small doses it may be a call to action.  But in standard use, it’s emotional poison, and I hate it.

So I’ve decided to lock this word in a vault and reserve it for special occasions.  I may let it out every once in a while, but only with a chaperone.  I suggest you do the same.

The word? [click to continue…]

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This just in… modern newlyweds are increasingly dealing with “the bridal blues.”  Doctors report that the expectations of newlyweds are so high, and married life such a letdown after all the planning and excitement of the big day, that an increasing number of brides are suffering post-nuptial depression.  The feelgood factor fades so fast that up to 10 per cent of couples suffer enough remorse, sadness or frustration to seek counseling.

Wow.  You mean it wasn’t whispy clouds and fairy dust as you lived happily ever after?  And Franck Eggelhoffer isn’t there to plan the details of your marriage like he did your wedding?  And Daddy’s not there to pay your bills?  And sex doesn’t cure everything, or come with an orchestra in your bedroom?  And to add insult to injury, you find yourself married to a sometimes-sweaty, stinky boy, who leaves socks and underwear on the floor?  Or to a woman, who – get this – ain’t yo’ mamma, your maid, or your madame?  She’s no Cinderella, and you’re not exactly Prince Charming.

Those expectations take you for a ride sometimes, don’t they?

Dr. Terry Eagan has a name for post-wedding depression. He calls it the secret sadness.  Why? Because the women who suffer from it are often too embarrassed to tell anybody. And men simply bottle up their feelings.

The Secret Sadness is real.  And it isn’t limited to newlyweds. [click to continue…]

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