“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
“One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.”
― Gustave Flaubert
I have many masters in my life. I’m not tickled about it. I need only one Master but out-of-control feelings say differently.
Here’s a list of the masters that I need to let go!
Money. Many serve money and I have been guilty, but a closer look at money leads to deeper and trickier masters like:
Approval. Acceptance. Status. Have you ever had a bad day because someone frowned at you or made a disapproving comment? Inability to stand up for someone or something? Down the tubes. Mastered.
Pride. Have I withheld an apology? A phone call of congratulations? Volunteering for a “dirty job?”
Competitiveness. I must win or I am nothing. I’ll show you!
Self-Pity. One of my thorns! Leads to jealousy/isolation if not mastered.
Control. We will never, ever have control over people, places and things. When I think I need control, I hold my breath. Who gives breath?
Envy. Always comparing and always falling short. The green-eyed monster.
Anger. My little dog finagled his way from his leash and enjoyed a romp in the park and had the nerve to taunt me to get me to chase him! The little varmint! However, once I calmed myself and refused the chase, here he comes. If a little dog can master me, oh how I still have a long, long way to go. Sigh…
Fear. Do I truly trust my Lord and savior? This world is so treacherous! The father of all lies rules.
They’re all related! It’s like whack-a-mole! I focus on letting go of one and I’m blindsided by another. I get why Paul asked, “Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death?”
But they don’t get the final say. This is where our Father, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit come into play. The word says to rejoice when encountering various trials. No. I’m not there. I’m better but something comes along and tests my confidence. Something that may seem small like eating too much dessert to holding back charitable giving. Back to the true Master with prayer. Father confidence. And practice.
Bottom line: We will always have feelings. They are so valuable in living a full and joyful life. Life would be empty without them–a robotic existence. Feelings are a warning light on the dashboard of life. Something needs attention. Something needs counseling. Something needs confession. Something needs self-reflection. Something needs forgiveness, even for yourself. Something needs to be let go. Something needs prayer. Sometimes it’s focusing on the lovely, pure, worthy of praise. Then Mastery.
You took a heart of stone and made it a heart of flesh. Feelings.
If our salvation depended on our feelings alone, oh how frightening that would be! If our relationships depended on good feelings only, oh how lost we would be. Yet, good feelings come when we master them. When we do what’s right no matter the feeling. Feelings enrich our lives and our lives with you.
Thank you for feelings. Thank you for not making robots.