Are you one of those people who find it easier to worry about everything, rather than not worry about everything? I find myself in this position sometimes and don’t really know why; everything gets on top of me and all I want to do is pull the duvet over my head and never get out of bed again! I think many people have the same feeling now and again. Do we ever fully understand human feelings and emotions, do we ever sit down and really try to understand them?
In trying to come terms with our emotions, how we think and feel, and maybe especially as Christians, we might begin to think about God and how He made us in His image; what exactly does that mean? I certainly don’t think God is a big bearded bloke in the sky, balancing on a cloud! Seriously, God is of course the supreme spiritual being of the universe, far from our general understanding. But, if He did make us in His image, then we share traits with Him even though we are very different. We share a spiritual dimension which must not be overlooked. Our emotions, whether good or bad, I believe are part of that synthesis we have with God. When humans feel very bad they can do bad things; when humans feel good they can do good things. So, we know that how we feel can often impact on other people; sometimes positively and, unfortunately, sometimes negatively.
So we worry, and if we are we honest, we don’t really know why; perhaps it’s just a part of being human; perhaps it’s a part of those emotions that we don’t really understand. I think that if we are in tune with God, our emotions tune into Him as well. In other words, we may just find that as we lead a God-driven existence, we begin to find peace and contentment in our lives too. Of course no one’s life is ever perfect or always runs smoothly, but I think we can live in general in a level of peace with God that we certainly couldn’t without Him.
We want to receive, so we pray. We pray, and we don’t receive so we get despondent; so we indulge, and create more problems. We pray for a job, and we don’t get one. We pray for a better life all told, but we still feel we are stuck in a rut. We want something to change and to change for the better, and nothing seems to change. We want something new but have to put up with the old. We yearn for things we can’t put into words and struggle with what we can’t fully understand. We are in a mess, and we want everything straightened out straight away. We want everything, and think we have nothing. What are we being taught? Perhaps, after all, we are being taught patience.
Do we wander in the desert for 40 years as Christians, until we reach middle age, then find God more relevant? I feel that for much of my life I haven’t really been ‘in tune’ with God, maybe for one reason and another. I lived in sin for chunks of my life, it’s as simple as that. If you have a calling on your life, and you choose to ignore it or not take it seriously as the Israelites often didn’t, you will sooner or later find your life unravelling as I have many times before today. And as we read in the Bible, God will also punish people for their abandonment of Him. So, it is possible to spend many years in the wilderness, to all intents and purposes ‘doing our own thing’ and finding that we achieve little and are at the same time not satisfied. I firmly believe that if we disregard God, we make the biggest mistake of our lives and, like the Israelites of old, we may very well wander in the desert for 40 years before we see sense. This is how it’s been for me anyway.
It seems clear to me that all Christians will suffer in some way for their sin, and for not taking God seriously at His word. He does have the power to move in our lives, and He does have the power to transform us from wretched sinners to useful servants; if only we let this sink in! Some people who are not Christians may perceive Christianity as a sort of jolly club for the terminally nice living in nice neighbourhoods and singing nice hymns on Sundays in nice, quaint churches. It is an image that for me isn’t really true; there is no stereotype Christian any more than there is a stereotype human being. God calls all types of people to Him, and if He called me I think He can call anyone! What I’m trying to tell you is that God is bigger, more profound, more amazing and more life changing than anything else you may have experienced or anything else you may imagine or perceive. It isn’t necessarily about dusty churches and dog-eared hymnbooks, it is more a lived reality on a daily and on-going basis with a God who is not too proud to walk with us providing we are not too proud to walk with Him.
If we spend years living in the wilderness, away from God and His love and values and law and so on, after it we might begin to reflect a little. When God punishes us for living in sin, we are meant to learn a lesson from this; sometimes we might have to learn a number of lessons. I believe God wants us to serve Him with a whole heart, and wants us to trust Him and put our faith and hope in Him that He will see us right, and in a better condition than we could be without Him.
Positivity and Negativity
Negative people can nurture doubts, while positive people can try to nurture possibilities. You may have a very good reason to be negative or filled with negativity but in the long run it doesn’t serve any purpose other than to make you unhappy or discontented. I believe that God is all positive, there is no negative with Him at all, and I also believe He wants us to be realistically positive rather than unrealistically negative. We all know what it’s like to be around someone who is always negative, always finding faults and always finding reasons not to try something and always complaining that everything is bad. We might even have friends like this; we might even be like this ourselves.
What is the answer to being extremely negative? I think first we need to pray about it, and then maybe ask ourselves why we are so negative. I have had a lot of unhappy experiences with women, and for a long time you could say for the most part I hated women. I think there are many men who hate women, and I think there are many women who hate men, because of bad experiences of one kind or another. You can spend a long time with this mind-set, even if you have good reason for it, but you won’t have anything to show for it at the end of the day other than an unfulfilling bitterness. And, when it boils right down to it, this kind of thinking is a negative trait; our thinking and behaviour and our mind-set are either positive or negative. You might say quite honestly, certainly at this time, that life seems to be more negative than positive in general, and also that no matter how positive we might be, no one’s life ever runs smoothly. I would answer, yes it’s true life isn’t perfect, but ultimately it’s how we face things in life whether good or bad that really defines us; a positive person might find a way, whereas a bitterly negative person usually won’t. If you think you can, you just might, if you think you can’t, you probably won’t. My dream is to be a published author; I’m realistically positive about this, rather than unrealistically negative; if it doesn’t happen then at least I’ve tried and if it does happen I will have seen my dream realised. So, for me, it’s always better to be positive than negative.