Good morning friends and family,
Have you ever felt used?
Or, any number of other negative emotions?
Chances are you have felt one of these feelings. Or several of them at the same time. And possibly, more than once throughout your life. These feelings may have been triggered by your family, your friends, or even random strangers.
“Our single choice to fight or flee our negative emotions brings us a sense of momentary peace and safety.”
I have bad news.
You don’t have a choice about how you feel. Like a well-used path up an Alaskan mountain from hikers past, our brains work the same way.
Our negative feelings begin with a negative event in our childhood (a single hiker). This singular event triggers a neural connection in our brain. This neural connection develops into multiple connections or a “pathway” (other hikers hear about this awesome majestic path). This pathway becomes a paved street. And, if left unchecked, these streets become 4-lane highways of automatic negative emotions up the Denali Mountain of your brain.
We don’t like feeling negative emotions do we? (At least I don’t.)
So, to protect myself against feeling negative emotions, I learned to “not feel”. Or, more accurately, I chose to ignore, push down, and run away from my negative feelings. I would do everything I could to physically or mentally escape from negative feelings. (NOTE: Running away from my negative feelings of feeling alone, interestingly enough, actually made me feel more alone.)
Some of you, like my wife, fight your negative feelings. You try to control others and circumstances that you perceive to be out of control. You lecture. You get loud or catastrophize (you see the worse case scenario for even the littlest of offenses). You get angry and “explode”. Or, as my Irish friend would say, “you become a nutter”.
“Our negative feelings begin with a negative event in our childhood.”
Our single choice to fight or flee our negative feelings brings us a sense of momentary peace and safety. So we learn to choose to do the same thing the next time a negative feeling comes. As you can guess, another instant surge of peace and safety floods our brains. The next thing you know, these individual choices turn into automatic reactions (or habits). These habits turn into lifestyles. And finally, these lifestyles turn into our natural way of dealing with people or circumstances that “make us” feel bad.
By now in our lives I hope we’ve all learned that these fight or flight reactions in relationships don’t actually help us (like my expectation of withdrawing because I feel lonely will help me not be lonely). More than likely, they’ve probably contributed to making the circumstance or relationship even worse.
Is there hope?
To answer this question, join me next week as we explore Jesus’ story about a crazy farmer who tries to plant a wheat field on a 4-lane highway.
OUR PRAYER & PRAISE REPORT
Ministry Partners: Continued prayer and financial support is essential for the work done here at Alaska Bible Institute. We ask that you would prayerfully consider partnering with our family through monthly financial support.
Doctor’s Appointment: We’re thanking God that Nathan’s doctor appointment when well. While his lung capacity was down a couple percentage points, his lung function was up. He is still continuing to get better from his chest cold the other week which may account for his lowered capacity. Also, he had a good conversation with his endocrinologist regarding his diabetes. We are continuing to work on getting Nathan’s blood sugar levels stabilized — an ongoing task and prayer request.
Nathan & Lacey Steel
Lydia & Arianna
P.S. We would love to hear back from you. If you have any comments from this week’s email or prayer requests you would like to share with us, our email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.