Riding the roller coaster of emotion

I want to start this a little differently.   I have a scenario here and a quick poll related to it.

Let’s start by laying out the scenario.

  • The place:  Crowded parking lot like Wal-Mart or a Mall.
  • The participants:   Driver in a car and a Pedestrian.
  • Visibility: slightly limited

The driver is in the car and getting ready to back out of the parking spot.   Driver looks carefully both ways and the aisle is clear as far as the driver can see.  The driver slowly starts to ease out of the spot when a pedestrian appears and walks right behind the moving car causing the driver to slam on the brakes.

Driver thinks:  I almost hit him!   Why don’t people understand that this isn’t just for walking, people are driving cars here and you can’t just walk behind one that is moving.   What a stupid thing to do!  How am I ever going to get out of here if no one will stop and let me finish backing out.

Pedestrian thinks:  What an idiot.    He should have seen me and stopped.   It doesn’t matter if he was moving or not, I have the right of way because pedestrians always have the right of way.

Put yourself in the place of the driver and think about how you would react.   Then switch places and put yourself in the place of the pedestrian and think about how you would react.

 

 

Congratulations if you chose the last answer!

The interesting thing here is that both the driver’s reaction and the pedestrian’s reaction are ‘valid’ emotional reactions.  Emotional reactions should typically be followed by objective reactions and thought however.   Maybe he didn’t see me or Maybe I should have waited a moment more first.   It’s this ability to temper our emotional reactions with objectivity and/or logic that allows us to navigate the ups and downs of living.

Consider a toddler.   They haven’t learned objectivity and they haven’t learned logic.   They are ruled by their emotions, which is why it is so important for Mom and Dad to guide and teach them self control.   Have you ever seen a young child totally out of control in a temper tantrum?  Their high level of emotion at that moment makes it almost impossible for them to regain self control without assistance.  That assistance can take on many forms, from a firm hand to getting the child into a quiet place where they can’t get the attention they are seeking.

Being emotional is a great thing.  Our emotions help us to connect with other people and to form long lasting bonds.   Our emotions drive our compassion and help us to feel empathy for others.  But being emotional all the time has it’s down sides as well.

Living ruled by emotions is exhausting and a frequent cause of ‘mental breakdown’ and hampers the ability to move through daily life without feeling like it’s a constant roller coaster of ups and downs and twists and turns to the point that it’s impossible to get through.

It can cause relationships to fracture and friends to disappear.  It can cause coworkers to want to keep their distance and cause tension between parents and children.  It can color every situation we look at and every decision we have to make to the point that we are unable to make those decisions or navigate the situations.

That roller coaster can take a significant toll on your health and well being.  The price it extracts is more than many of us can pay.

How about you?   Are you riding the batman of emotional roller coasters or are you riding the kiddie roller coaster that has more level, smooth places than ups and downs?

Here are some things you can do to ease off the roller coaster.

  • Read your bible and pray.  Studies show that people who read the Bible and pray have less major stress related health problems
  • Get a hobby
  • Volunteer for an activity that focuses on helping others
  • Visit a retirement center or nursing home and talk to the residents
  • Walk
  • Join a book, sewing, quilting, chess, dancing, dining or other kind of club
  • Start a book, sewing, quilting, chess, dancing, dining or other kind of club

Whatever you do, be kind to yourself and let that roller coaster take a day off, or a few days off or even a few years.

 

Christianity and Abortion

There are not enough words to express my deep heartache about the current acceptance of abortion by many Christians and churches.  The tragic ending of a life not by accident, disease or trauma, but by deliberate choice.  It cuts to the very heart of me to even consider that not only is it accepted but somehow we have entered into the belief that God is ok with it.

Consider what God has to say.

  • Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them.
    • God didn’t create animals in his image, he created us in his image.   We are special because we are created in the very image of God.
  • Jeremiah 1:5  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you as a prophet to the nations.
    • Does God not know us like this as well?
  • Genesis 25: 22-23  But the children struggled together within her and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?  So she went to inquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said unto her:  Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body. One people shall be stronger than the other and the older shall serve the younger.
    • Before they were ever born, God recognized them as distinct and separate from one another,  2 different children with different personalities and futures.
  • Matthew 19: 13-15  Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.  But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.   Jesus said, ” let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”  When he had laid his hands on them, he went on from there.
    • Jesus places great importance on little children.   They are recognized as important in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds mans blood, by man his blood shall be shed.  For in the image of God he made man.
    • Spoken during God’s instructions to Noah and his family
  • Exodus 21:22-23 If men fight and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follow, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judge determines.  But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life
    • Harm in this case is implied to be to the prematurely delivered infant.

It is clear throughout the bible that God values human life and has given us strict instructions against murder, which is the shedding of innocent blood.

We have crafted our carefully reasoned excuses on why we should be allowed to have abortions.   My body-my choice, population control, poverty, rape and so on.  We have already established that as far as God is concerned each human is created in his image and that murder is wrong.  We have shown that God recognizes children in the womb as human and distinct personalities and futures.  God has commanded us that the shedding of innocent blood is wrong.    It has been established that there is a penalty for murder and that God considers the shedding of innocent blood murder.

We have willingly allowed ourselves to be blinded to the truth.   Because it makes it easier, no child no worries.  Free to go on about our lives as if it had never happened.   But that’s not the truth.   It doesn’t assuage the guilt, it doesn’t do away with the deep depression, it doesn’t do away with the spiraling down into alcoholism, drugs, promiscuous sex and other dangerous behavior that so many women suffer after having an abortion.   We tell ourselves that it only affects us.   That’s not any more true than the assumption that God is ok with it all.    How many men have been grieved by the loss of a child they never got to know, how many men suffer this?

Oh we can go on about how many fathers don’t pay child support or how many kids live in poverty.   We can talk about viability and how pre-born children can’t survive on their own before a certain number of weeks (full term infants can’t survive on their own either).  We can go on about choice and how we must have free birth control and the choice of abortion all the while implying that we are somehow not capable of making other choices that are available to us (abstinence, adoption etc.)  Those are just distractions, meant to turn us away from the real truth of the matter.   People who run from their responsibilities will always be with us.   Choices are always available to us.  We cannot make something that is definitely, horribly wrong into something that is right by pointing to all the wrong things that people do everyday about other things and by denying the validity of the other choices we can make.

No matter the explanations, we can’t change the fact that the life created in the womb is a living, growing, child uniquely created with it’s own DNA, fingerprints, personality and other characteristics, regardless of the stage of development.  It will never be anything other than a human life regardless of the method God ordained to bring it into the world.

And no matter how we try, we can’t make it right in the eyes of God.