I heard in another group I belong to something that really struck a chord in me…especially in the area of feelings. They said that God showed them how they had made an altar to their own feelings. Well friends, I felt my heart beat faster and harder in my chest when I heard that statement and I knew that the Holy Spirit wanted me to look at my own life concerning this issue. It was time to pull out my journal and spend some one on one time with the Lord.
As I did just that and thought back over the last few weeks, I saw a pattern that showed why this statement caused such a reaction in me. Friends, I can start my day out great. I’ve spent time with the Lord in prayer…check. I’ve read my Bible and devotion…check. I’ve eaten my breakfast when hungry and at a 0…check. I’ve stopped eating when satisfied…check. Then, it happens and I am off and running into feelings land. A driver cuts me off in traffic. I realize I left my coffee at home. A semi almost runs me down in my car. An unkind word is spoken by a co-worker that I am sure is aimed at me. My boss calls me for a “meeting”. A friend or family member is clearly tired of hearing me gripe and complain. And, it doesn’t stop there. I can also build an altar for someone else’s feelings. Ahem, I believe they call that co-dependency. When someone I am close to (hubby, my children, a close friend) is suffering depression, sadness, anger, hurt feelings, I can jump right in and take on those feelings too and allow them to run me off my own path onto theirs. I know these things are everyday situations we all probably face, but when you are someone like me who has built an altar to their feelings or someone else’s feelings, these things can send me off into the world of I’m not good enough for anyone or anything and I might as well overeat because who cares anyway. And do you want to know where I build my altar? I build it right in the middle of the room where I am holding my own pity party.
There is a great song from the 60’s that goes, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to (I bet if you know it you are singing it in your head right now!).” Somehow, I have made this my anthem but by changing the words to, “It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, and cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you!”
Dear readers, I really don’t like going to my own pity parties! I am so grateful that the Lord led me into this community and for the tools we have. It saddens me that I forget to use them! The Observe and Correct tool is perfect for me to use when I catch myself putting on my party clothes. When I observe my behavior, I can usually follow it back to looking down at myself (or at someone else) and feelings of ungratefulness instead of looking up at the Lord and allowing Him to heal those broken places and to tear down those altars to feelings.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you know that when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we in essence put Him on. When God, our heavenly Father looks at us, He sees Christ and His righteousness. That is what happens at the time we accept His sacrifice for us and accept His forgiveness for our sins. But, along with that, we have a loving Father who wants to change us…our minds, our hearts which in turn changes our actions (and reactions). I want God to change me. I want Him to remove those pity party clothes from my closet. What I have found is that I can’t remove something from my life without replacing it with something else. Without those negative feelings being replaced with something positive, the door to them remains open and they can step right back in. I found the answer to my problem in God’s Word in Colossians 3:12-15. To get rid of those feelings to which I build altars, I need to take off those pity party clothes and put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And, over all these, put on love. These emotions lead to a grateful and thankful heart. This takes prayer and keeping my focus on where it belongs; on Christ Jesus alone.
When I catch myself singing the wrong tune, (It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to) and I feel myself getting ready to put on those pity party clothes, from now on I am choosing instead to observe what is going on in my mind and heart, and choosing to correct my course, back onto the one that the Lord has laid out for me…the path towards healing and becoming more like Him. Colossians 2:7 reminds me to allow my roots to go deeply into Christ Jesus. When I do, my life, my mind, my heart, my strength and my all will be built on Him. Then I will look only to Him and not those feelings and emotions that typically go on in me and around me and I will overflow with thankfulness and gratitude. And that, my friends, leaves no room for altars to feelings or emotions and definitely no room for a pity party!
What about you dear reader? Do you recognize yourself as a member of your own pity party? Let’s tear off those party clothes together, allow the Holy Spirit to tear down those altars to our feelings and emotions, and let’s put on those blessed emotions and feelings as outlined in Colossians 3:12-15. I think they will fit much better for us all…don’t you?