Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 66 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am continuing to get more fit. Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of six (four boys and 2 girls between two families) with a third girl on the way. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Feelings, Feelings, Feelings!!! (Part 1 of ?)

I set up this blog in January, expecting to begin posting right away. Then absolutely nothing came to mind to write about. I kept checking in periodically for some inspiration. Zilch, nada, zip...still nothing. All of a sudden, walking home from work on Thursday (a nice, sunny, breezy 50-degree February day--yes, February--in Indiana, but that's not today's subject), it hit me. Due to some posts on some other blogs, I got to thinking about feelings, and the people (hopefully all of us) who have them.

Some people generally have an optimistic outlook (sunny personalities, sanguine, extrovert--whatever you want to call them), and others seem their polar-opposites--these lean toward a negative outlook (melancholy personalities, sensitive, feeling, intuitive, etc--you get the picture). Sometimes the "eternally sunnies" don't get the "intuitive melancholies." They think they spend entirely too much time on how they feel if it isn't "good." However, the "intuitive melancholies" sometimes think the "eternally sunnies" are unrealistic and pollyanna-ish. Both sides have the potential of being intolerant, and the "melancholies" can quite easily get hurt or offended by the seeming disdain or scorn of the "sunnies." (I know, because I confess, I'm a "melancholy"--though a "recovering one.") The "sunnies," on the other hand, seem to have little patience (or use) for the "melancholies."

The problem with the above attitudes is, if we all retire to our own corners licking our wounds no one will learn anything. So what's the deal? From where I stand, I think both sides can learn a lot from one another. Being a Christian, I believe God made all the personality types, and His purpose is to allow us all to bump against each other (you know, like those bumper cars in the amusement park) so we can rub off our rough edges (the emphasis here is we can rub off our rough edges--not everybody else's, though that may happen, too!). Polar opposites can become balanced as they hang in with the process.

If we would begin to understand the purpose for feelings, we would be on our way to a mutual appreciation of our personality opposite as well as ourselves. Just as we have physical pain sensors to tell us of problems we need to address, so we have "emotional sensors." This early warning system tells us when all is not well in the emotional realm. If we ignore it, we can't deal with our problems and things get worse, but if we spend too much time thinking about our feelings, they eat us up.

The problem is that we are not perfect people living in a perfect world, and because there is this thing called "sin" (a subject for another time), our "emotional sensors" or feelings aren't 100% accurate. Even if we supposed they were, we don't necessarily deal with them in a perfect manner. Research says if we stuff them, we can get physically ill, while even the newspapers tell us if we express them or hold on to them they can poison us or get us into other trouble.

So what do we do with feelings? As a Christian, I have learned to deal with them by acknowledging them and taking them to the One Who created me and my feelings in the first place. (In all honesty, I never did well when I was trying to deal with them before I got to know the Lord...I had a "nervous breakdown," used drugs, abused alcohol and tried to commit suicide three times
.) In the past 30 years, however, I have had lots of things happen that have given me lots of feelings, and I have found if I don't hold on to my "right" to keep them and let them destroy me piece by piece, God has a good exchange program going. He says he will give me beauty for ashes--that means I can learn something in the process and come out without a load of bitterness besides. I like that deal.

I've learned that once I give my feelings to God, I can learn from "sunnies" to enjoy life in the meantime. If I am in the "beauty for ashes exchange process," I don't have to sit around depressed till I "feel" better. The feelings did what they were supposed to do, and now I can go on, trusting I will feel better later. I think "sunnies" can learn from "melancholies" also. They can experience more growth if they fully pay attention to their feelings and enroll in the "exchange program" before they go back to being "sunny."

If both sides will decide to learn from the other, I believe "sunnies" will become people of more depth, able to comfort and encourage others with more compassion and understanding (without encouraging self-pity). "Melancholies," on the other hand will learn how to keep feelings from consuming them and causing an unhealthy self-preoccupation that keeps them from reaching out to others. Their sensitivity can be harnessed and used if they hang around maturing "sunnies," and all will grow. Uh oh, did I just sound like a "sunny?" Hmmmm...

1 Great Ideas:

Blogger SweetChicken said...

And then there are those who fall in between the "sunnies" and "melancholies". I find that some days I tend toward one, and the next day I may tend toward the other. This is not me being bi-polar (I'm not), it's just an effect of life's ever present ups and downs. :D

I love this post... you have summed up my position on this beautifully, without coming across as condescending or martyred.

Thank you for blessing my heart today.

February 27, 2006 2:12 PM

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