Have you ever been excited about something just to have it suddenly fall through? This just happened to me. In the matter of 24 hours, I went from an extreme high to an extreme low. The high was a plan for something that I wanted falling through. The low was news that may take me in the exact opposite direction of that very thing.
Here’s a little back story to help you understand my situation: My family has been contemplating a big move for what seems like years. We’ve weighed the pros and cons of staying and leaving, we’ve searched for jobs and even looked at houses listed for sale in other locations (online, of course). Yet nothing has really changed. We’re still here, in the same place, living the same life as we always have. I’m not against the idea of living in a place where I wake up to the sight of mountains, have hundreds of miles of trails to explore right out my back door, and see the blue sky and sun on an almost daily basis. Neither am I against staying where we are, close to our family.
A few weeks ago, a house was put up on the market in our local area that had an amazing kitchen and a great main living space. We decided to go look at it. That’s when it happened. All of a sudden, the emotional high was there, staring me in the face. I didn’t even realize how badly I wanted it to work out until that moment. I didn’t care as much about the purchase of the house, per se, as I did knowing that this could potentially be our new home. And then equally as sudden came the low. We didn’t bid for the house because there are still things we have to settle in our hearts and minds first.
Like a pendulum, my emotions were swinging one way and then the other. But it wasn’t until this most recent swing that I realized how much I want this crazy pendulum ride to stop. I’m not even sure I care about which direction it stops in as much as I care about it stopping. I want things to be settled. I want to make a plan. I want to move forward. I want to be home.
Like most people, when my thoughts and emotions are raging against each other, I want to vent. Not to everyone but to someone, a trusted friend who will commiserate with me. Someone who will make me feel justified for what I’m feeling. Misery loves company, right? I was unsure of what I was feeling and I wanted someone to join me there. But when I really dig down deep, the truth is that I don’t want to feel that misery at all.
I was thinking about this today as I listened to a podcast that talked about the power of words. Words can give life and words can bring death. Words can build up and words can tear down. What we say and how we say it, both to others and to ourselves, matters. We choose the words we say, and that is powerful because where there is choice there is some level of control. If you can control your words – both the ones you say and the ones you think – then you have a lot of power over yourself.
Mark and I recently read through the New Testament, which has reacquainted me with verses that have seen me through some hard times before. These verses tell me that I can take every thought captive and destroy every obstacle that keeps me from knowing God (2 Corinthians 10:5). That I can be transformed by changing the way I think (Romans 12:2). That when I choose to trust God instead of worry, His peace will surpass every thought and guard my heart (Philippians 4:6-7). That His peace can control my heart (Colossians 3:15).
So when my pendulum is swinging and I am in danger of falling into a dark pit, I know that the best thing I can do is capture those negative thoughts and throw them out. I need only to replace them with what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8) and I can know peace.
I just have to embrace the truth.
This is what’s true: God loves me (Romans 5:8). Fiercely and deeply (John 15:13). He wants me to know Him because He is all that is good (Mark 10:18), and He draws me to Himself (Jeremiah 31:3). No distance and no move can ever take that away from me (Romans 8:37-39). He wants to give me good things (James 1:17) and He has a purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11).
I know this. These words are engraved on my heart. Yet still, when that pendulum is swinging, I do battle in my mind. Sometimes I wish the battle away. I wish that I didn’t have to muster the mental and emotional energy to fight it. However, the other day I realized the battle isn’t something to be upset about but something to be thankful for. If the truth wasn’t in my heart, then it wouldn’t be there to fight. And there is something about the battle scene that spurs my transformation into someone who is more like Christ.
And all of this made me wonder why we spend so much time talking about the things we can’t control, the things we allow ourselves to get miserable about. Sure, dealing with life may not be easy but that doesn’t make God any less good. So instead of sharing my misery, I choose to share the overwhelming knowledge of God’s love for me.
I will try not to forget this, not even for a moment. I know that no matter where this particular pendulum stops swinging, I will find my peace. No matter what, I will be able to live joyfully and love deeply, because I am deeply loved. After all, if misery loves company, shouldn’t unbreakable joy love it even more?