How are you doing?”
You’ve heard this greeting and this Sabbath
morning question many times. You
responded “good.” Maybe the person who
asked heard your response. You proceeded
on to your Sabbath School or pew
I am presenting them to you this morning for you to take a
moment to truthfully answer the question as you enter the
sanctuary and take a quiet seat. In the Bible, the Book of
Psalms is chockfull of the Psalmist’s feelings: mad, sad, glad,
afraid, guilty, ashamed. But forget for a moment about the
sacred books, religious terms, and religious feelings. Look
down in yourself in truth and in love.
How are you doing?
What are you feeling right now?
Take the time to check-in with that.
Are you afraid? Are you angry, sad or glad? Do you feel
some guilt or shame? Sadness comes when we experience a
loss. Anger when someone trespasses our boundaries. We
are afraid when we perceive a threat. Guilt comes from
having done something we deem wrong. Shame is feeling
that there’s something wrong in who we are! Gladness is
only one of those five feelings we bring in.
Identify the feelings. Not a description of how your week
went, or of what “they” did, or of how you feel physically
(ex.: tired). Rather, feelings. Which of these five feelings do
you feel—and not just the “good” ones, but each and all the
feelings that you bring in. Own them before yourself, just
between you and God. Then, close this check-in by taking a
moment to have a look at why you feel them—the
circumstances, the causes, triggers that have brought the
feelings to you. This will give you clarity as to where you are
and as far as where you want to be.
Identifying and owning the basic feeling(s) you bring into the
church circle is critical for you to know what you came for.
And this is also critical for you to contribute to emotional
safety in our community. This is because rather than
conscious thoughts, emotions are the most powerful and
yet most overlooked element anyone brings into any
interaction. This includes one’s interactions with fellow
church members as well as our interaction with God.
Unrecognized and unacknowledged emotional energies
color everything in group interactions unbeknownst to their
recipient, often dangerously coming up sideways in
unexpected and negative ways. Taking the time to honestly
speak with oneself (and to hear) “the truth in love”
(Ephesians 4:15) benefits others in the church. Most
importantly, it benefits you. God bless you for doing it.