Allowing feelings to influence actions or living in the Spirit?  

Posted by Sarah Forbes

It is with some trepidation that I write, in total honesty, about what the LORD has brought me through over the past few months. I would, in my humanness, prefer to keep a mask over my short comings, having all who know me in person or in print, think I am simply divine... perfect. It is that pride -- that desire to be seen and admired as perfect-- that has caused, or at the very least contributed to, many of my trials.

I  pray that God will use my struggles to bring honor and glory unto Himself.

Somewhere along the way, over the last -nearly- decade of marriage, I decided that it was acceptable to not DO if I didn't feel like DOING. If I had to guess, I would say this began when I first struggled with low thyroid. I barely had the energy to walk around, let alone

actually clean my house and care for my family.

The problem is that this was not my only ailment... and my sickly-ness was not short lived. In fact the 'disorders' I have, they will be life long.

Yet I did not change my behaviour to match life-long "not feeling good." Instead I bought in to the modern idea of husbands and wives sharing the house work and grew increasingly irritated with my husband that he did not see fit to pick up my slack when he got home. He saw no reason to pick up the slack... he thought I was perfectly capable of performing the tasks expected of me. He was right. (*gulp*). I had chosen, without really knowing it, to not perform my duties unless I felt like I was equal to the task.

But I never FEEL equal to the task. Or if I should have a short run along that vein, I am quickly reminded of my shortcoming by my failure to achieve perfection.

On the best days, I would get done what tasks I considered reasonable. On the worst days, my children would run rampant while I slept or rested because "I just don't feel good today," and they would be the victims of my irritation and frustration about how unfair life had been to me. The culmination came a few months back when one of my doctors discovered the condition of my house. It was TERRIBLE. Moldy Dishes, dirty laundry, cat messes that had not been cleaned in a timely manner (this cat has since been evicted)  just to name a few. I was shocked to discover that the condition of my house would warrant the authorities REMOVING MY CHILDREN FROM MY HOME!

My gracious doctor, at the risk of losing his license, said he would not turn me in if I made quick work of the clean up. Within a week, and with the help of family members, I had the house cleaned to the point of no longer being at risk.

That was the worst week of my life.

Berated by family members afraid of losing the children to the authorities, I was charged with being bereft of the character befitting a godly Christian woman, and devastated by having my shortcomings paraded as dirty laundry. But nothing was so heart-wrenching as the gulf that grew between my husband and I. He told me that he had entrusted the care of the home and children to me and I had broken that trust. That if he ever thought the children were in danger again he would take the children and leave. He loved me but would not subject the children to that.

I vowed it would never happen again.

But how? I had given my word. Now I had to find a way to back it up with action. My marriage, my family, my life as I knew it was at stake.

I began to pray... to seek God... to plead for my marriage, my family, my life. I would go into the bathroom, turn the shower on so my children couldn't hear me, and lay sobbing on the floor... writhing in the pain of being alone: not physically alone, but isolated emotionally from those I love. I have never felt more abandoned. Where was God? Why had He allowed this to happen to me?

It would be a long journey before I realized that God had permitted this in my life as a chastisement. That He would use it for His good. 

I was sitting in on a young ladies Sunday School shortly thereafter, and the topic of the lesson was living in the Spirit verses living in the flesh. I soon realized that I had been living in the flesh-- counting on my own strength to be enough for me to do what I needed to. But my flesh had failed. Miserably so. I could no longer count on my ability to "handle it."


If, every morning, I spend my time focusing on Him, rejecting my sinfulness, and determining-- with His aid-- to live a selfless life, I am able-- despite my illness-- to proceed through my day and care for my family and home. A friend of mine referred to it as being "centered in Christ." It has very little to do with what I am able to do. I have had to learn to trust Him to give me the strength to do what must be done REGARDLESS of how I feel.

All of my hobbies --except singing (which requires very little time investment)-- have been packed away for later. Right now my focus is --as it should be-- on my home. If, in the future, I can find a way to manage my home and still have time for hobbies, some of those boxes may come back out of the garage. If not... there will be all eternity to use my gifts for God. (But what use is it to use my talents for God at the expense of my family?)

Is my home perfectly clean? No.  Absolutely not. It is still a constant struggle. But not one I resent.

The dishes and laundry are done daily and, as I have time, I am sorting through the extra stuff that has been piling up around the house during my "bad days."

I have put my family on a schedule. It focuses on doing certain tasks at certain times of the day. That way, if I truly AM so ill that I cannot function (which is NOT as often as I would have led other to believe in the past) the world can still function. My children can still be cared for. And I have even scheduled play time... which makes them very happy!

I have gained perspective. Learned to live for something other than myself. Learned that how I feel does not negate my responsibility.

Earlier I said that it was the worst week of my life. But really it was the best too.

Because I found strength I didn't know I had.


THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH.