Sometimes my emotions hold me hostage—buckle me into a rollercoaster I don’t wish to ride. Moods throw me up and down—along tight twists and turns. Feelings muffle my ears and distort my conversations. Attitude colors each thought, taints every action, until I am out of control.In my early twenties, before kids and slightly after marriage, my husband and I drove cross-country from Indiana to California. On the drive, he turned to me and asked, “Why don’t you love me the way I want you to?”
I knew exactly what he meant. Over the years, numbness had seeped in, over and around, encasing my emotions in a sheath of blankets that sheltered and protected me.
I crossed my legs and leaned against the window. “My heart is wrapped in blankets.”
“Unwrap them.” His eyes held a strange mixture of emotion as he turned them back to the road.
Looking out the window, I shook my head. “Not that easy.”
The blankets began piling on the day my dad walked out on us—a subtle imprisonment like the proverbial frog boiling in the water, peacefully shutting out the world as he unknowingly slips peacefully into death. Until my husband posed the question, I hadn’t even realized how sedated I’d become. His plea gave question to my zombie walk through life. Did I want to feel? Could I take the pain that would accompany the pleasure?
By the time we arrived in L.A., I wanted my feelings back. The blankets were binding, suffocating and isolating. The price for protection was too high and I begged God to strip away my insulation and over the next year, He did.
But life is hard and sometimes ugly. I have my emotions back—yet they control me, not the other way around and there are days I scavenge for my blankets.
Days like today.
I forage in the pantry or the fridge, search for distraction inside the binding of books or across the TV screen. I hunt on the radio, flipping channels, cranking up the volume in the car.
When will my rollercoaster pull into the platform so I can stop swinging from one extreme to the next? There is a fine line between feeling nothing and feeling everything and I seem to be one extreme or the other.
Then God whispers scripture in my heart, “Jesus is your strong tower. Run to Him.”
He whispers again,“Take every thought captive.”
I understand. Jesus can protect my vulnerable heart, speak truth into the lies, and temper my emotions.
If I let Him.
And taking every thought captive means just that. Grab it, wrap it, hand it off to the Lord, before it gets out of control.
I make a plan—I will walk my day with Him. Quiet time in the morning helps me begin my day in peace, with my hand in His. Committing scripture to memory gives me a weapon against my wayward emotions running out of control. In the moments I’m overwhelmed, or find myself wishing for those blankets, I freeze, picture Jesus on His throne, me at his feet. I hand over my life—again and again if necessary, until it becomes habit to run to Him first.
It turns out the answer is not found amongst the insulating blankets or on the untamed rollercoaster. Trusting in Jesus daily fixes me firmly where I need to tread. He is my strong tower.
I just need to remind myself I only have need of Him.