Polyurethane fumes assaulted my nose when I opened my car door. We’d spent a week out of town while our floors were being refinished. I couldn’t wait to see them. I peeked through the windows. My stomach folded. They didn’t look like the furniture I’d asked them to match.
The vent grates drying on the front porch confirmed my fears. How could this happen? He’d told me he could match the color I’d shown him.
I would have to wait another 24 hours before I could go inside. I drove away feeling sick.
That weekend I’d taught two workshops on Messy Emotions. Do I have to live everything I teach? I wondered.
In my workshop, I’d reminded the women that God has not given us a dial to adjust our emotions. But He has equipped us to take every thought captive. If we tell ourselves the truth, our emotions will eventually catch up. In the meantime, while we endure emotional discomfort, it helps me to remember the unpleasant feelings will pass. I can live with them like I would a temporary headache.
I reminded myself that what often appears to be a disappointment can turn into something good. I recalled the time they put the wrong tile in our master bath. After the initial blow, I ended up liking it better than the one I’d chosen. I thought about some other initial letdowns that ended up being better than I’d hoped.
I reminded myself that God’s goal was bigger than our house. He cares about details—He’s numbered the hairs on my head. This was no mistake. He was sanding and polishing me.
Don’t despair, I told myself.
God reminded me of many truths. I had a choice whether to think His empowering thoughts or to worry about my floors. Every time my mind wandered to my floors, the knot returned to my stomach. It was a good reminder to set my affections on things above.
The story of Abraham helped me the most. By faith Abraham “ lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:9,10, NASB).
The contrast of living in tents while looking for a city “which has foundations” struck me. A tent is used for camping. It has no foundations because it’s temporary. No one expects the comforts of home while living in a tent. Abraham didn’t even try to make the Promised Land his home. He lived like a traveler passing through.
In my few camping experiences, no one ever complained that the tent clashed with her sleeping bag. If we viewed our homes or even our bodies as temporary tents to house us on the way to our real homes in heaven, how would that change how we viewed life’s disappointments?
I asked the Lord to make me more like Abraham. To grant me joy in my journey and help me live like heaven is my real home. He reminded me of the more important blessings I have. I wouldn’t trade one of them for a different color floor.
Sunday, after church, the floors were dry enough to walk on. Two friends met me there for moral support. The floors are beautiful. They are lighter than I had pictured, but they are the most beautiful tent floors I’ve ever seen!
What helps you deal with your messy emotions? Are you listening to your emotions or telling yourself the truth?
My Bible study, Give Yourself a Break, has a whole chapter on messy emotions. We have some at the office. I hope to launch the book soon. Thanks for your prayers and friendship. I love hearing from you!
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