On Needing My Pain (and other emotions) – or On The Vulcan Influence…

Because I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul and tie as much as possible into Star Trek…  And Star Trek V isn’t as bad as everyone else makes it out to be – especially since JJ Abrams tried to murder the franchise.

Today we had a guest speaker at church, Jim Lyon – his message can be found here.  I thought the message was especially interesting since it provides the counter-argument to the Stoic line of thought that I’ve been reading in Meditations: where one argues that evil comes from emotion and they should be suppressed in favor of reason and intellect (the Stoic school of thought dumbed down as much as I possibly can here); while the other argues emotions are part and parcel of being the wonderful creations we are – in God’s own image no less.

Now, emotions are not something I’m generally comfortable talking about; c’mon, I’m a guy – can’t we talk about football instead?  But they are something I’ve learned to deal with a little bit better in the last year or so; whereas the emotions I find easiest to express are probably not the healthiest – anger and frustration, the rest escape me most of the time – just they way I’m wired.  
In the past, you could find me ensconced in politics 24/7/365 – it was what I loved, what I lived for from the time I was in middle school until I was 34, and I like to think I was semi-competent at it…  and towards the end I spent most of that time angry.  While I would consider my anger righteous in nature (it wasn’t… most of the time), but eventually it became pretty encompassing: I couldn’t just see people on the other side of an argument as people who needed to be loved but I disagreed with – they were the opposition, the enemy.  And that wasn’t just people in the other party, it was people in my own.  I sat in a few meetings where an individual repeatedly berated people who disagreed with them (I was on the receiving end of one of those tirades a time or two), and after on incident where this individual – a proclaimed Christian, said this about someone with whom they disagreed about a political issue “There is no mercy for [him]!” I had to take a step back and think about things.  I realized I never wanted to get to that point, where someone would see that kind of vitriol from me – so I had to take a step back.  As I slowly extricated myself from the organizations and things I enjoyed most in life I found something out: I became happier.  I found other ways to spend my time: instead of volunteering for a political party I found opportunities in the community, I found more opportunities at church, etc.  And I wasn’t as angry all the time – look, I still read the news and politics is still my first love (Daphne Du Maurier once said about first love, “I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.”) I’m still going to get angry; but I’m not angry at the people next door, and I like to think I’m getting better at the rest of the world too (it’s realllllllly hard though – why are people so stupid?!).  It’s a process though, and one I have a hard time trusting God with – but trust Him I need to.  My emotions are a part of me and who God created me to be – I need them, they’re natural, they make me who I am; but as Mr. Lyon said they are corrupted versions of the pure emotions of He who created me so I need His help dealing with them.  This is just one area pertaining to emotions where I need help, there are plenty more areas…

So much of life comes down to trusting God, and the emotional side of things is one of the hardest for me, for a lot of people I’m guessing… and that’s why todays Verse of the Day is this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

I hope I do a better job trusting God tomorrow than I did today, and the day after, and the day after – I hope we all do.

Have an awesome Labor Day!


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