“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember Thee.”
Gaining an Understanding of Myself
Day 2: Understanding Myself Emotionally
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
“Like David in the Psalms, have I ever been disquieted and depressed and emotionally felt far away from God?
How did I try to solve the problem of the way I felt?
“Measure not God’s love and favor by your own feelings. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light.”
“For we do not want you to be uninformed, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us and how we were so utterly unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life itself.”
Written by the Apostle Paul
II Corinthians 1: 8
I know nearly all of us have had times when despair has blanketed our lives like a thick, unending fog. Times when death may have seemed preferable to life. Obviously, even great heroes of the Bible, like the Apostle Paul, had moments when life didn’t seem worth living as II Corinthians 1: 8 tells us.
As this brave soldier of God wrote to his friends who lived in Corinth, he could not sugar-coat the suffering he encountered, to the point that he felt his life was unbearable.
I remember a time many years ago, after having major surgery followed by complications, when I was so depressed by the situation I found myself wondering if it wouldn’t be better if I didn’t survive. Pain, grief, sorrow, stress, fear, worry, despair – all these emotions and physical symptoms can bring the strongest of us to our knees in desperation.
But as we learn from Paul’s example, when he faced great desolation in his life, he did four things:
1.) He honestly and openly admitted to those around him that he was in trouble.
2.) He shared his feelings with those who cared about him. He didn’t try to hide his weakness or the way he felt.
3.) He reached out to God and to others. He didn’t try to walk the path of pain and despair by himself.
4.) He continued to trust God no matter what his feelings said at the time.
In these four examples we find great insight into the way we can better understand ourselves emotionally especially during times of great depression and heartache, when our “feelings” tell us God has forgotten we exist yet we know in our minds and hearts that He is always by our side.
Recently, my sister emailed me this story with a note of encouragement. “I know you will love this story and remember, God is always with you,” was what she told me.
“This is a Cherokee Indian legend regarding the youth’s rite of passage.
The father takes his son into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.
The boy is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold
until the rays of the morning light shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to
anyone. Once he survives the night, he is declared to be a MAN. He cannot tell
the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises in the night. His
imagination tells him wild beasts surely are all around him. Maybe even some
human might do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth, shaking his
stump, but the boy must sit stoically, never removing the blindfold.
Finally, after a horrific night, when the sun comes up, the young man removes his
blindfold. And at this moment, he discovers his father sitting on a stump beside
him. His father was on watch the entire night, protecting his child from harm.”
Our Heavenly Father promises that He never slumbers nor sleeps; that when we walk through the fire and flood of despair He walks with us; and that anytime and anywhere if we call He tells us, “I will answer and shew you great things” (Jeremiah 33:3 Amplified Bible).
The Christian author and theologian C.S. Lewis, who himself found times in his life when he struggled with great emotional pain, penned these words: “The great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”
Lord of the Winds
“Lord of the winds, I cry to Thee,
I that am dust,
And blown about by every gust
I fly to Thee.
Lord of the waters, unto Thee I call.
I that am weak upon the waters borne,
And by the waters torn,
Tossed by the waters, at Thy feet I fall.”
During Troubled Times
“In the wilderness of my pain I look for the pillar of
cloud and fire to guide me,
But they are not there so I stumble ahead blindly over
Rocky trails, one foot after the other.
Somewhere I know God is there leading me
With his comfortable presence.
In spite of the beauty of God’s fabulous creation,
My spirits are not lifted to rejoice in him.
My ears are turned to hear a word of love,
Encouragement, or praise.
But they hear only words of criticism.
The more I try to please, the more I feel ignored,
Misunderstood, unimportant, and unvalued.
God is my refuge and strength, a help in all my
It is easier not to reply than to be slapped down for
I hold my tongue and ponder these things in my heart.
I say nothing rather than condemn myself.
Is this sharing?
Others tell me their heartaches and receive comfort
But my heartaches are locked in my heart in the
Ms. Geraldine W. Dellenback
“A Pilgrim Song”
“I look up to the mountains,
Does my strength come from mountains?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip
He who watches over you will not slumber,
Indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at your right hand…
…the Lord will keep you from all harm –
He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your
coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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