“The fruit of emotional fitness is generous love, so keep filtering your feelings through your beloved-ness.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 7, 2022
Bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Romans 12:14-16
As a grandparent I am learning one gift I can give to my children and grandchildren is emotional availability. Fortunately, in our current season of life, my wife Rita and I have extra margin. Emotional, relational, spiritual and financial capacity to invest in others, not just consume for ourselves. Yes, the worries of this world still compete for our energy, but to the extent our trust in God trumps our fear or worry over the future, we can focus on the present by being present for those who will one day attend our funerals. Listening, comforting and laughing are good gifts to give to those seeking to survive in a season of stress. Emotional support gives the gift of hope.
Paul, the spiritual conscience of the newly birthed church, gave clear commands packed with emotional word pictures on how to love others well. Be a blessing to another by celebrating—rejoice when she rejoices, and by comforting—mourn when she mourns. In humility seek relational harmony by being intentional to relate to another ignored by others. Say his name, be genuinely interested in his life and let him know he is loved and not alone. Paul knew those who were emotionally healthy could bring peace and joy to those gloomy or consumed by life issues.
“Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor” (Job 30:25)?
Are you an emotional giver or an emotional taker? Of course, we all need emotional support from time to time, but overall are you able to be emotionally generous with someone who silently suffers—embarrassed or afraid to share her insecurities and fears? When she does open up, if you are not careful, you can subtly shift the conversation to be about your stuff, instead of staying focused on how to help the one who was just vulnerable with her hurting heart. When a friend laments about a demanding, unrealistic work environment, refrain from droning on about your similar experience. Rather say something like, “Sounds like your work culture is all about producing with no plan to professionally and personally invest in the employees. This sounds exhausting, so sorry for your extra stressful situation”. Then stop talking and listen to love.
This week contemplate on the rhythm of your life. Are your emotional energies channeled inward or outward? Look for ways to emotionally invest in those you come in contact with, being attune to the Holy Spirit’s movements. Experience the greater freedom of emotional giving and the integrity of aligning God’s spiritual resources with one who lacks love. The fruit of emotional fitness is generous love, so keep filtering your feelings through your beloved-ness.
Henri Nouwen expresses so well this idea of growing our capacity to love: “It is in being fully rooted in the heart of God that we are creatively connected with our neighbor as well as with our deepest self. In the heart of God we can see that the other human beings who live on this earth with us are also God’s sons and daughters, and belong to the same family we do. There, too, I can recognize and claim my own beloved-ness, and celebrate with my neighbors”.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Romans 15:5-6).
Heavenly Father, give me emotional eyes to see hurt and offer comfort, to feel fear and reassure with love, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who needs me to be emotionally available to listen without judgment, but with a heart of love, and to be bold to share truth at the appropriate time?
Naomi Raine & Mav City Choir: Revelation 19:1
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