The Clash of Feelings and Reality

My alarm wasn’t set to go off until 6:00, but I awoke at 4:45 and after trying to fall back asleep for a few minutes decided I might as well get an early start on the week. Mornings are my favorite – I sit by the open front door and listen to the birds and crickets and sometimes the Piano Guys (not in person, although they’re welcome to serenade me anytime). I live just seven hundred and fifty feet from the Ohio River, and even though I can’t see it from my little home I often walk there in the evenings and watch as the sun sparkles and shimmers over the peaceful water that everyone has assured me is beyond dirty.

Some things in life make me feel like perhaps I’m beginning to grasp what it means to be an adult. Like, my porch swing that sat in a heap on the porch for over three months is finally hung. (When you don’t have tools or knowledge even small home improvements are difficult.) Being able to sit on the swing without having it collapse – well, that’s a good feeling. Weeding my flowerbeds also makes me feel like perhaps I might have life under control. As does buying a mousetrap and catching the critter within a day of discovering it took up residence in my little domine. And the fact that I have my mortgage and electric bill set up to be paid automatically. And that I (finally!) have a screen for the front door – although I just bought it, my roommate’s the one who actually hung it. (Much like the porch swing if you must know, but shhh… I never claimed to be the adult in this home.)

Then there are other things that make me question my past, present, and future. Like how the shower faucet broke over five weeks ago and it’s still not fixed. Or that I let my brakes get so bad on my car before I noticed something was wrong with them that it cost twice as much to fix them as it should have. Or that my spelling is as atrocious now as it was when I was a teenager and I rely on Siri to help me not make a complete fool of myself. (And yes, I literally had to ask Siri how to spell her name just now…)

It’s so easy for me to get overwhelmed with what I can’t do, what I’m not doing, and what I’m doing incorrectly. But when I find myself getting bogged down in the mire of what could be, should be, and needs to be, I feel the joy leaking out of my life. And joy isn’t supposed to be based upon my circumstances – that’s what happiness is for. Joy? Joy is deeper. Joy goes beyond feeling and reason and reminds me that I’m loved by the very Creator of the universe. So I climb out of bed early and watch the world slowly grow light as I seep myself in God’s Words, God’s love, and God’s promises.

Last night I was feeling annoying and sad and overwhelmed by all that’s wrong in the world and wrong with me. But then I stopped to think about reality, and as it turns out, my thoughts and the truth didn’t match up. Sure, I can be annoying, and yes, there is a lot wrong with the world. But, the specifics that I was feeling at that time were just feelings and not based on the truth. When I stopped and thought about it I could see that the condemnation I was experiencing was more likely a result of an over-active imagination and tiredness than how people were actually viewing me. It was a good reminder that feelings are just that – things we feel – and not necessarily the truth.

Something I started doing last year that really helps me is using my prayer journal to sort out my feelings versus reality. I write down everything I am feeling on one side of the page – the good, bad, and conflicting and contradicting feelings – and then on the other side of the page, I use passages from the Bible to write the truth. Realizing that how I feel doesn’t always match up with reality has helped me silence lies and listen to logic and truth.

The day is now bright around me and this post – which started out as a book review and quickly morphed to musings – has reached a length of nearly 800 words. I’m about to pack my lunch (with food that I meal prepped last weekend while being a steller adult) then head to work where I still question how I ended up where I did (because it’s fun and challenging but I’m still an eight-year-old at heart so how did I get so much responsibility?). My day will be long and I’ll probably be extra tired by the end due to my early morning, but it will totally be worth it. I’m thankful for the rejuvenation that I feel this morning, along with the reminder that feelings don’t determine reality. Blessings to you, my friends, and Happy Monday!

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