I have been on a emotional ROLL this week (not to be confused with an emotional rollercoaster 😁😲😌).
I have been teaching you so much about emotions because emotions fuel all your interactions and outcomes.
I shared with you that the opposite of allowing emotion is buffering emotion. It is what we do to avoid pain. So, it makes sense when you stop buffering you will feel pain.
Yesterday we talked about how when we feel this pain, we want to think "not buffering" is a bad idea. We don't like feeling like we have failed when we feel pain.
Just because you open the junk drawer ( or junk closet, or junk room) and see the pile-up that was lurking in the dark, does not mean life will improve if you just maneuver the drawer shut again.
Who wants to live a life where you keep filling your overfull drawers with junk? Many of us live that way, but we feel burdened by what was meant to unburden us.
Idolatry is not dead. Anything we put in a position of power and authority in our life is an idol. Anything that consumes us can become an idol. Anything that we turn to for relief and comfort instead of God is an idol. We may not cast statues of gold to save us, but we create idols in our life when we turn toward false pleasure (buffering) to save us.
There are so many benefits when we stop buffering and discovering what our life really is. When we remove the idols, we discover who God really is.
So how do you know if you are buffering or just enjoying a gift of pleasure?
If buffering is relying on external means to shift our feelings, the buffers aren't always bad. It is the reason we use them that determines what they mean to us. It is the control they have over our life that determines if they are an idol or a blessing to simply enjoy.
Here are some questions to determine if something ( or someone/some activity/substance) has become an buffer (idol) in your life:
1. Is this causing a net negative consequence in my life? Is it interfering with my health, relationships or some other area of functioning?
2. Do I spend a great amount of time obsessing and thinking about this pleasure? Does it take away from other positive things I could be creating in my life? What would I be doing if this idol was not part of my life? How might life look different?
3. Why do I ____________ everyday? What are my reasons for the pleasure?
4. If I remove the buffer, what is left for me to deal with? What am I avoiding?
The best way to know if a pleasure has become a coping mechanism (or little g.o.d), is to eliminate it for a few weeks and see what is left. Then you will know.
It may be uncomfortable at first, but remember that is totally okay. The discomfort is not caused by removing the idol, the idol just masked the real pain. When you find the real pain, you can look it in the eyeballs and discover the life that you are meant to live.
The pain is part of living in a fallen world. The pain you have been buffering is the bridge to a more intimate relationship with your creator and the lover of your soul. Remove the buffer and what you actually discover is greater love.
If you want a better marriage, you have to clean out your internal clutter. Worrying about all your husband needs to clean up is the equivalent of worrying about the neighbors yard when yours is overgrown. Focus on taking responsibility for yourself rather than what responsibility your man should be taking (Matt. 7:3 Remember the speck and plank?)
There is so much you can do to feel better and think clearer. Lets start with us! When we do, our marriage gets better (because remember your marriage exists in your head).
If you need some coaching on this journey I am here to help. I work with those who are committed to change. Set up your free mini session here.
Where we are in life proves what we are thinking. When we change our perspective, we can change our lives and our relationships.