Once again, I’ve allowed my feelings to overshadow my faith. I know my reaction to this situation is the wrong one, but I just can’t seem to get a handle on my emotions. I know in my heart that God’s promises are much more credible than the thoughts that cause tears to pour out of my eyes. Yet I still struggle, time and time again.
I’m a people person. When someone ignores me or sends me some other signal that they just don’t want to be my friend, it stings. More often than not, I find myself caught up in the intensity of my pain. And that pain can easily turn into a bitterness that’s the perfect breeding ground for anger. It doesn’t take long before I feel my heart harden a little as subtle twinges of retaliation gain a foothold.
Then I remember that it’s not about my feelings at all. It never has been.
My Ultimate Example
Once I realize that it’s my heart that I need to guard from the bitterness I feel slipping in, I remember it’s a heart that is grateful for all the goodness God has showered on my life. It helps when I stop focusing on my pain and turn my eyes toward Jesus. The best way I know to do this is by praising His Holy Name.
As I think about how it was Jesus who showed me how to love by loving me when I was unlovable, I’m able to see the other person differently. When this happens, my heart softens as I let go of the bitterness that never belonged in it in the first place. The best way I know to soften my heart toward others is to lift them up in prayer.
It’s not long before I notice my own reflection, my own actions that have so many times caused others pain too. I want to fall to my knees as I remember all the times I ignored the Lord, all the times my actions did not affect the love He so graciously shared with me. This causes me to feel an overwhelming desire to love the person who is hurting me. The best way I can do this is to take the love Jesus has given me and allow it to flow out of my heart onto others without expecting anything in return.
The Struggle is Real
I’m sure I’ll get my feelings hurt again. It’s a battle I seem to face, one that crops up more than I like. I know my focus needs to be on others. I know this is only possible as I spend time with Jesus through reading the Bible and prayer. I know getting close to Him is the best way to see less of myself in my actions and more of Him.
As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest on reciprocity.” He was right. My heart can only change when my focus is on giving away the love Jesus has so generously poured into my heart.
When He died on that cross, He gave me the ultimate example. It’s not about me. It never has been.
About the Author
Sandy Brannan is an English teacher turned blogger who loves to write everything from short essays to novels. She married the love of her life and they have two children as well as two grandchildren. Offering hope and encouragement through faith in Jesus is why Sandy writes. You can find more of her work over on her blog at sandybrannan.com as well as on social media at facebook.com/sandybrannanauthor or instagram.com/sandybrannanauthor.