“I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
As I have often stated, I don’t for a minute believe that my emotions control my life. When I am not “feeling” the truth, I thank the Lord (out loud) that His truth stands on its own and doesn’t need my emotional confirmation. My feelings don’t get to define me or dictate my actions. Still, I have seen that He often uses my emotions to get my attention and signal me that something is wrong. This week was an example.
Monday I traveled from Kentucky to our family home in Michigan. Usually an eight-hour drive, this time it was more like nine and a half hours. Arriving tired and lazy, I brought in a minimum number of things, leaving the rest to unpack the next day.
A good portion of Tuesday was spent getting resettled, putting things away, making a grocery run, and generally doing “stuff that needed to be done” without any set order or schedule. Oddly, by evening, I was feeling down, then blue, then “depressed” with the unwelcome feeling of self-pity, although I wasn’t sure why. A couple of people had said or texted me things that had hurt my feelings, but this should not have been a big deal.
Wednesday morning neither Marty nor I recognized right away that the power was out. Marty was trying to change a ceiling lightbulb, but the new bulb wouldn’t light either, so he planned to check the fixture after doing some outside chores.
Later, trying to send a message, I saw we had no internet connection and finally realized we had no electricity.
Ever “seeking divine perspective,” I had several things occur to me.
I usually try to start my day with prayer, and usually I get sidetracked with messages, texts, and emails, spending a good portion of the morning telling myself, Just one more thing… (Yep, the old ADD problem.) Today, I was being sent a non-negotiable message to get off the internet!
Secondly, I was seeing some principles at work that, when applied spiritually, may have explained the blue funk I’d been in the night before, when all I’d wanted to do was go to bed and cry.
So, what lessons did I glean?
1. The source of a spiritual and emotional “power outage” may not necessarily be anything we have done, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real, or that we can do nothing about it.
Since we live in the woods, the source of the frequent power outages is usually a downed tree hitting the power lines. That windy Wednesday was no different. We hadn’t done anything wrong. The dead tree that had been left standing too long was not ours, and only the property owner had any control over taking it down preemptively. Since getting a tree removed costs money, most homeowners opt to wait until it falls down and then let the power company remove it “free of charge.”
Applying that concept to emotional power outages, maybe we’ve been treated badly, calamity has hit, or our physical bodies are fighting off an illness. We can’t control everything around us. Still, we need prepare ourselves for such events, so we can be ready to respond to them.
Tuesday morning it had been easy for me to be distracted from morning prayer time with all the “other stuff” that had to be done. I had been short-sighted, not preparing myself for when “life happens.”
2, When we’re not plugged into the Power Source, it may not be evident to us at first that anything is wrong.
Since our Michigan property has a well with an electric pump, when the power goes out, we also lose our source of water. For a while there’s some available, until the built-up pressure runs out. Wednesday, being blissfully ignorant, I’d used all the available water before realizing the power was off. Then, once the realization hit, I found there wasn’t a drop coming from any of the faucets.
Applying the analogy to my emotional state, Monday I had driven for nine hours, spending at least two or three of those hours in prayer. Tuesday I was probably “coasting” on the build-up of spiritual energy from my extended “retreat” in the car. Then, as evening came on, so did the darkness in my unreplenished soul.
Our souls can only “coast” for so long before our strength fails us. Then we’re left with little or no emotional energy to resist the negative thoughts that plague our minds.
3. The solution to a power outage is communication with the Power Source.
When I called the power company Wednesday, I was not chastised or lectured, but cheerfully assured that they would get right on it. And in a few hours, power was restored.
When I came to Jesus, confessing my neglect and looking to Him for the strength I needed to get through the rest of the day, He welcomed me with open arms. He always does. And He holds me as long as necessary, even as my childish nature continues to squirm to get back to the world and its distractions.
4. It is crucial to pray for one another. When someone is not plugged into the Power Source, the trouble with not recognizing the symptoms right away is that by the time the depressed feeling set in, that person often doesn’t have the emotional strength or mental clarity to pray. This is one reason the Bible tells us to pray for one another (James 5:16) and not to neglect the assembling of ourselves (Hebrews 10:25). We need one another!
Yes, God is our Power Source, but He works through His people. Do not try to walk out the Christian faith on your own! If you do, you may find yourself running on empty with no help in sight.
Prayer: Jesus, You are the Vine, and we are the branches. Without you we can do nothing. Forgive us for the times we have disconnected from You. Thank You for showing us when we are straying, and for drawing us back to You – and back to one another. In Your name we pray. Amen.