In Part 5 of Now What? I said that "I pay attention to other's spirits to see what I can discern in them and I pay attention to the physical circumstances that come into my life and how they make me feel and affect my spirit." and you may wonder what that looks like on a daily basis.
The physical circumstances that make me stop and take notice fall into two categories:
1. The same %^&*#! thing keeps happening over and over again.
2. Something that's never or rarely ever happened before.
These two types of circumstances get my attention because they cause my spirit to be affected and me to feel things that I know I need to take notice of. I'll be honest and tell you that this was not always the case. Gwen used to wonder at my lack of response to both of these types of circumstances. I was the type that would minimize when God would work a miracle in my life and take it for granted that the same old #@!*&* was going to happen again and again. I was that numb man that I described previously. I didn't even know that I had a spirit that was being affected. Before, I couldn't name any emotions other that angry, frustrated and impatient.
I'll give you a couple of recent examples of things that have never or rarely happened before. First, we have planted some ivys in our garden. In a matter of a week, one of them went from looking great to the leaves looking like lace. It was infested by a caterpillar-like bug that quickly ate the leaves and made the ivy look dead. Second, someone came into our home, while my son was still sleeping and my wife was out walking her dog, and went to the master bedroom closet and stole most of Gwen's jewelry. Both of these circumstances caused me to feel "robbed," "threatened," "concerned," "violated," "loss," on some level "inconvenienced," "worried," about my wife and son and then "relief" that no permanent damage had occurred, no lives threatened.
You might still be wondering why it's important to identify and express these feelings. Two reasons:
1. To identify with Christ. Two millennia ago, He walked the earth and lived among us. He was a spiritual leader and felt what we felt and experienced what we experience. If I can identify in Scripture times when He might have felt the way I'm feeling I can connect with Him and Him with me in an amazing way.
2. To empathize with others. Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. This means that I have to pay attention to my feelings so that I can empathize with others and understand their spirits. So when you tell me that you feel "robbed," I REALLY DO know what you mean and can "go there" with you. Then, hopefully, I can encourage you to a better place than "robbed."
Next time we talk more about paying attention to other people's spirits.