I’ve talked about what exile is and described a variety of exiles. Now I want to look at what sends you into exile.
Your emotions give you a clue to some wrong, even toxic thinking that might be present within you.
Of course, outright sin is the fast track to exile. But I want to focus on the more subtle causes of exile. What often sends us into exile is loss. Loss happens when your experience falls short of your expectation. If you look back over the last few days, that’s what happened to Abram. He expected glory. He experienced famine. That was a loss.
Most of us are ill-prepared for loss. I’m not sure why that is. Are we that optimistic or that naive? We see loss all around us. But we rarely think it will happen to us. When it does, we are often devastated and disillusioned. It can knock us off course for years (thus: exile).
Loss produces a variety of uncomfortable emotions. The big three are:
- anger– you are mad that your expectation wasn’t met; mad at whomever you think is responsible.
- sadness– you mourn the loss of what you expected to have forever.
- fear – you are afraid that you will never achieve your expectation: that loss will be a way of life.
If you don’t find an answer for these emotions, they will control you forever. They will be like a choke-chain, able to jerk you around at any given moment.
You need to know that these emotions are normal. In fact they are good. If you didn’t have an emotional response to loss, there would be something wrong with you. We have a word for people like that: sociopath. So be glad you have emotions. God gave them to you to move you to resolve your problems.
But, you don’t want to get stuck in your emotions. You need to move through them to a better place. Be careful that you don’t stuff your emotion as a “quick-fix” to their discomfort. These emotions help you explore what’s going inside your head and heart. They help you understand where you stand with God and people. They give you a clue to some wrong, even toxic thinking that might be present within you.
What are some emotions you’ve experienced in exile? How do they make you feel? Do you try to suppress them? What have you learned about yourself and God from your emotions?
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Be sure to track back to catch the previous days of this 40 day journey.