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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Emotions, Hormones And Sin!

Ever since my children were small I've noticed that it can be easy to make excuses for sinful behavior. When they are two we call it "the terrible two's". Many behaviors are excused because it is said that they "are normal for that age". When they turn 13 "their bodies are changing"! When they are 16 "it's hormonal" or "they are teenagers". When they are college age "they are just's 'normal' to act that way 'at their age"! What I find interesting is that it doesn't stop there. Women blame sinful behavior on hormones. When we're pregnant, "it's hormones". When we're in our 40's, "I'm perimenopausal". In our 50's, "It's menopause".

And so on...

With each age and season of life it can be a challenge to respond correctly. I've had my share of days when I haven't felt good or when I've felt "hormonal"! It is not easy. Thanks to some faithful women who have been living examples to me, I am also aware of the fact that regardless of how I FEEL, I am responsible for how I respond to life! I am responsible for every word that comes out of my mouth, for every response, and for every second that has been given to me.

I have a friend who regularly gets terrible migraine headaches. Although she will ask me to pray for her when she gets them, it is not normally prayer just for herself, but prayers that she will be able to serve those in her family or get accomplished what she needs to get done. I have never heard her complain and have observed her push through many things while suffering with a migraine. She has pushed through migraines (and menopause!) with self control and grace!

I have another friend who went through breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy. Not too long ago her oldest daughter passed away at age 28. She never ceases to have a cheerful spirit. Whenever I talk with her one of the first things she says is, "Gina, God is good! He really is, Gina." The only explanation for both of these women's responses is that God is POURING OUT HIS GRACE that they might choose to glorify Him in their hard circumstances. He is also enabling them to be examples to those of us who are younger as we face our share of difficulty.

One author put it this way: "The problem is not that we have emotions--they are a gift from God. The problem is that our emotions (unlike God's) are tainted by the fall. The challenge is to let the Spirit of God sanctify us in the realm of our emotions so that they can be expressed in godly ways."

Brian and I have made it our goal to teach this to our children since they were very little. Although we are aware that there is a process of maturity going on with them (and we give them room for that) we also know we would not being doing them any favors if we made excuses for sinful behavior.

I am also aware of the responsibility I have to model this in front of my children. It would be hypocritical for me to tell them they need to respond well to difficulties and then melt down whenever I face a challenge! With the combination of health issues and hormonal ups and downs, this can been quite a challenge at times. That is when I need to be honest with my family and tell them how I am feeling. I tell them I am working very hard to control myself and that if I am more quiet than normal it is because I am working at responding correctly. In doing this I feel like my son is learning to be aware and sensitive, and preparing for the possibility of being a husband. My daughter is learning that she needs to be in control even when she has PMS! (Her husband will be very grateful!)

I understand that what happens in our bodies is very real and can affect us in many ways. I know women who have gone through very hard times both physically, hormonally, and emotionally. I have gone through it too! Yet we need to be careful that we do not buy into the lie from the enemy that we can justify sinful behavior because of these challenges.

Two year olds might throw fits, yell "NO!", and hit other children. They need to be taught that is sinful. Teenagers may become emotional or disrespectful. They need to be taught that is sinful and unacceptable. College age students may may feel like their parents have no right to tell them what to do, they may resist authority, or may act foolishly; however, they need to be told that rebellion is sinful, that they still need guidance, they need to press on to maturity and that they need to honor God. AND, women need to remember that it is sinful to allow how we feel to control us and our responses.

I find that I need to CHOOSE to practice this on a minute by by second basis! With the help of God I am determined to persevere in this. I don't want to make life miserable for my family. I don't want my children to remember me as a "basket case"! Teaching self control to my children is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. I pray that I would live that principle out before others. I pray that others might see God's goodness and grace, which helps us get through anything that He allows into our lives.

"Grace abounding strong and true,
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride,
To love the cross on which You died...for me!
Grace unending all my days,
Will give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through,
My praise will all belong to you."

This is the grace that is available to us in all circumstances! I am grateful!

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

(Gina has begun writing again after taking a few months off. She has some fresh, new perspective after going through some very dark times. She would love it if you stopped by for a chat and some coffee! You can find her at her personal blog: Chats With An Old Lady.)

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