Journal Entry ~ 09/11/17

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. - Colossians 1:13-14

We are told in this passage that we have been rescued from the darkness and are now free to walk in the kingdom of God's beloved son. Because of the sacrifice made on the cross, we no longer need to live in the darkness where anxiety, depression, frustration, grief, or loneliness exist.  We have the freedom to experience a deep sense of love, joy, peace, and Hope. Yet our days and our lives are still marked by moments of grief and moments of joy.  On the grand scale, we define our lives by the big moments of celebration and the heavy moments of deep sorrows; just as on the daily scale, we experience the ups and down of emotions. We can be sad, mad, frustrated or disappointed in something in the course of the day, but we can be just as excited, thankful, joyful, or proud of something that happened in our day. It is in these moments of emotion - both the ups and the downs - that the true nature of our hearts are revealed.  If we take a moment to reflect on what causes the emotions, we will see the true love of our hearts.  When you think back on what has truly excited you or what has brought you joy in the past week, what is it that brought you happiness?  When a relationship seems to be going well in your life, why is it making you happy?  Or the flip side - when you are frustrated with someone in your life, what are the reasons behind your feelings?  When you've struggled getting out of bed or finding the motivation to get through the day, when you can't seem to push past the fears that overwhelm you, what is behind those emotions?  When your heart is celebrating and causing you to sing, what is the reason behind the joy. If you really reflect on what causes the emotions in your heart, pushing past the surface level emotion, and really looking deep into your heart, you will find your idols. 

Here's a hard-hitting truth - much of our joy in life comes from getting our own way, or something we have set our hearts on being realized, and much of what sends us back into the darkness is the opposite - we don't get our way. Something we want or have set our heart on is not happening the way we want it to happen. That's not supposed to be the way we operate. Asked in another way - how much of the emotion you have experienced has anything to do with the kingdom of God?  By grace, this is true some of the time. There are times when we see the glory of the hand of God, and our hearts rejoice.  There are times when we feel His presence and we are deeply comforted. There are even times when we experience the Spiritual battle and our hearts are deeply saddened at the victory of the enemy over a loved one. But if we're being honest with ourselves, this isn't the source of our emotions some of the time, or even most of the time. If you take the time to pull apart your emotions and look at your heart underneath, you will find that there is evidence of the transforming power of grace in your life, but there is still so much work left to be done. 

Walking through a diagnosis of breast cancer while intentionally trying to lean into my relationship with Christ is one of the most eye opening experiences I've been though. Maybe it's being reminded daily of my mortality that has me shifting my thoughts more significantly to the work of the Kingdom, and off of the silly little things in life I once considered important, but He has shifted my perspective. I can still get caught up in those emotions on a daily basis, but I return to the big picture much more easily now. I'm so very thankful for the shift in focus He has given me in this diagnosis because I know my own selfish heart would have never made that shift on it's own. I can more easily see the things that once fueled my emotions, and am saddened by how I have grieved the Spirit with my life. We are being rescued from the darkness every day, but the daily ups and downs of our emotions tell us there is still a battle, and we continue to need grace to do its transforming work in our hearts. Thankful He continued to chase us and love us enough to do that work. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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