What do I do now? I wondered as I struggled to maintain myself in a half-squatting, half-sitting position while holding onto a small tree.
Although it was a beginner’s run, it looked too steep to go the rest of the way down, and I certainly couldn’t crawl back up. Maybe I could just pretend I hurt myself and be whisked away in one of those sleds by the ski patrol.
How could this resort be called Heavenly Valley?
I had two choices—either I could stay there holding on to that tree as I let fear take over or I could go for it and stop worrying about falling or making a fool of myself.
I did go down the slope at Heavenly Valley that day. In fact I went down an even steeper run from which I could see a breath-taking view of Lake Tahoe. And yes at moments I probably did look foolish as a brand new skier at the age of 36. And yes I fell many times—once as I got off of the ski lift. I had such a difficult time in my attempt to get back up that I crawled away from the lift.
This week I thought back again to my struggle on the slopes of Heavenly Valley as I reflected on how far I’ve come in the area of allowing faith rather than feelings to lead the way in my life.
That day years ago I almost allowed myself to be robbed of the joy of conquering that mountain as a skier. In my Christian life as well I have too often allowed negative emotions to steal my joy and keep me from God’s best.
The primary emotions I’ve wrestled with over the years are fear, anger, bitterness, and depression. If I let any of these emotions take charge in my life, my Christian walk has been hurt. Often the people around me have been affected as well.
The Word of God encourages me with this definition of faith:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 NIV
That day on the slopes it was faith that urged me to get up instead of staying down. In my mind I embraced what I hoped for—to get to the bottom. And I became certain of what I did not see—me remembering what I learned from my ski instructor and with God’s help being able to accomplish the task.
I’ve learned over the years that it’s OK to feel emotions, but I am not to allow them to direct my actions. The key is to feel without making feelings king.
If I let emotions rule, I tend to sin ie God calls me to volunteer in a ministry, and I use the excuse “I feel too depressed.” Or He directs me to send a note to someone who has hurt me, and I refuse thinking that my “I feel too angry at that person” is a good reason to disobey. I think back to the years I stayed disconnected from certain relatives because I let bitterness take charge of the relationships.
As I put my emotions back in their proper place, I have been amazed at what God can do through me as I embrace my faith in Him, believing that if He calls me to a task, He will help me to accomplish it.
What about you? Do you find yourself allowing emotions rather than your faith in God to rule your life? Spend some time with God asking Him to help you deal with your emotions His way. Peace and joy will follow.