Stirred Up: Finding Emotional Direction
Sitting at my dining room table, I flipped through the real estate listings, longing to escape my house. It was as if the accumulated clutter of my emotions lay in piles throughout my current home. Health concerns, broken relationships, and even positive opportunities all vied for my attention. I struggled to focus on any of them as I wandered from room to room. The house had become a symbol of all my struggles.
To calm my agitation, I decided to mow our lawn. At least with mowing, I knew there was a beginning and an end, with neat rows of progress to show for it. As I relaxed into the sanctuary of nature, my inner being became more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. God brought to mind the overwhelming loneliness I had felt just before I met my husband fourteen years ago. I had been a thriving single mother. God was my husband, father to my son, and a fantastic provider for all my needs. My fractured relationship with my parents was healing, finances were stable, and my son attended an excellent school. The Navigators Ministry that I participated while in college, provided spiritual guidance to lay a foundation of prayer, scripture, fellowship, and witness. I was finishing up my English degree and very content with my circle of friends. Did I need anything more?
It wasn't long before I discovered that my support system had drastically shifted. Friends and family moved away, and the heartache of their absence was deep and sudden. Having my secure world shaken was overwhelming. Not long after there emerged the desire to share my life with someone who would love and cherish me. The feeling was persistent and could not be ignored. I finally cried out, God, either settle my spirit, and make me content with how it was with you alone, or provide a way for me to meet someone who will grow to love me just as you do.
Thus began an exploration of marriage by answering questions about what I desired in a spouse. Each step of faith developed an understanding of what complimented my life, and that which hindered my growth. The stress of loneliness slowly dissipated as I learned to walk in obedience with God, regardless of the end result. A scripture that spoke to my soul was, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4) I discovered that God was aware of my desire for a husband and would eventually supply this special person.
In order to position myself to receive God's gift of a life partner, I shared the newly discovered longing with my friend. I asked for her to pray and hold me accountable in my trust of God. Wholeheartedly, I took God at his word, and he revealed how his love for me far exceeds my expectations. I became sturdier in faith as I submitted to God’s will above my own. This meant I had the difficult task of letting go of control so that I could grasp the good gift God would offer. A year and a half later I married my amazing husband. Since then, I have sought to continue to trust God in that same way, with my most pronounced growth coming from God's stirring in my life.
As I finished the tidy rows mowing the grass, I seemed to hear God urging me once again to step out in faith, and to trust him on a deeper level. The current agitation was yet another nudge from God to let go of control. My prayer became an intimate conversation with the Holy Spirit:
Me: Lord, I want a new home; a one-story house in the country.
God: You may take yourself wherever you would like to go.
Me: So that's a no? I understand your answer because I do need to soften my heart toward
you. I just don't like your implication.
God: Contentment is in me, not in a physical location. If you do not learn to have joy in your
work and life where you are, then the expansion of your tent pegs will not create lasting
Me: Yes, Lord. Teach me to trust you more, and to love my life where I am now. Reveal the
sin in me that causes rebellion against your will and direction.
The tension left my shoulders, and I placed the “dream house” in God’s hands. Over the following year, with God's help, I began to remove the emotional piles that were blocking my view of joy, and I found myself singing a new song. A more profound love for my family and home emerged, and contentment settled my spirit. The stirred emotions tuned my heart to God's provision and to the joy in my life.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT:
Are there times when your emotions are stirred up? God created you so that you will long to tune your emotions and heart to him. I invite you to make a list of specific feelings, and seek to trace them to their source. Sometimes we become agitated because we have desires that are not in line with God's will. Other times God stirs our heart to move us to a new level of spiritual maturity.
Scripture has helped me to become familiar with God's leading in my life. I pay attention to those passages that invoke a response that connects me deeper with the work of the Holy Spirit. As I read the Bible I ask the following questions: Who is being agitated? What were the results of their agitation? To put this into practice, let's consider the disciples on the road to Emmaus: "They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us as He spoke with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ (Luke 24:22, ESV). Though they didn't recognize the resurrected Jesus, they felt some awareness of his presence. As a result, they turned around and went back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.
God created me for connection with him. When my heart seeks out God the result is an active change in me for the better: "spur us towards love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24, NIV). Stepping out and trusting where God leads is like stepping toward an adventure I have never experienced before. I invite you to allow God to inspire you to walk his mighty path of love.
Lord, I feel stirred up. Reveal your truth in my heart and teach me to listen to the Holy Spirit's guidance in all that I say and do. Amen
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