The scene is a roller coaster.
If you make art, you are bombarded with circumstances and events through your day that almost seem to be bent on knocking you off-balance. Highs and lows in your art, your events, and your life can leave you feeling frayed or numb. All of us experience these challenges and many of us find it difficult to master them with any sort of authenticity.
There's a lot to be said about emotions and how they affect the rest of our general health: how we think and feel inevitably impacts our physical well-being. Still more, our thoughts dictate our actions, and emotions can shape our short-term decisions and our long-term outlook on life. How we feel shapes who we become.
Living by our emotions is what the Epistles called sensuality--letting our senses dictate our decisions and view of the world. If I live through the lens of sensuality, I live like this: today I wake up and check my email and find out that I've been booked for the largest Christian festival in the country! I'm going to be at all of their events in the next 6 months. I'm flying high--God is good! I turn on some music and I am thanking God for His goodness! But then I get a call saying they spoke too soon and they won't actually be able to host me this year; I'm crushed. I switch my Spotify playlist to some dark feely stuff and I settle in to moping. Is God still good? Can I trust him? But I get another call of a radio tour and off we go...
And so on and so forth! If our emotions dictate our security and daily process, we really are "like a boat tossed to and fro by the waves" (Ephesians 4:14) of our emotions. As a creative, conquering your emotions is critical. This is not about no longer feeling--I don't stop experiencing emotions and the goal is not about making you stoic--where you are freed from all emotion. Instead, I live in a place where my emotions flow from the reality of the way things truly are from God's perspective instead of from my own. How I feel is determined by heavenly reality instead of my momentary circumstance.
The bible calls this faith. Hebrews calls it "the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:11 ERV). I love that word proving--it means it confirms what is already true. Many have taught that faith is something you fake until you make, it's a way of doing things that you sort of "will" to happen. Hebrews paints a different picture: faith is clearly seeing realities of heaven that are already in existence and living in those realities until they become earthly realities. So instead of trying to make something happen, I live with the perspective and confidence of things that have already been declared to happen in the Kingdom of God and with an expectancy to see those things revealed on earth as it is in heaven. I live with a peace and a certainty that those things will ultimately become reality in my existence--whether in this life or the next.
This profoundly changes my emotions and thoughts. When I let my thought life soak in realities of who God is, like a sponge coming out of the water, my thought life is dripping with the realities of God's plans for this world and for me. When my emotions flow from that place, I live in joy and peace and confidence that comes having experienced God's goodness firsthand--it's not being rid of emotions, it's actually taking on more and experiencing truer right emotions.
The journey of faith begins with a setting of a foundation in heavenly places. It starts by letting our thought and emotional lives be re-ordered to flow from heavenly realities. Faith is more than what you feel. But faith will ultimately lead you to experience God more deeply than you ever have before and will change your feelings to feel what God feels.
As we begin to examine faith in this series, set out on the journey to heavenly places. Let God show you the place He died to give you.