Are You Feeling It?

Rejoice with those who rejoice: weep with those who weep. Live together in harmony.   ~ Romans 12:15-16

Rejoice and weep are big words. They call for more than the perfunctionary Gee, I’m so happy for you; or Gosh I’m so sorry. When we bump into someone else’s emotions, if we linger at all, we often tell when we should listen; we try to fix when we should feel.

We want a cure. We want to be the cure. We offer a promise or a pill or a platitude or even a prayer, while remaining emotionally removed. We may not have learned to tame the tongue, but we’ve certainly learned to tame the heart. It stays in its place, rarely venturing out into the depths of the joy or the grief of another.

We focus a lot on the weeping part, but I don’t think we even know how to rejoice with those who rejoice – not really. It’s a good place to start because there’s less vulnerability in joy than in sorrow. Oh, we act happy. We smile and nod but we don’t lose a lot of prayer time thanking God for someone else’s joy. It might get a mention, but we are Out of sight, out of mind people.

Rejoice, weep, live together in harmony.

As we spend time celebrating the good and quietly holding hands through the bad, we develop a reverence for each other’s hearts that overshadows any doctrinal or philosophical discord. Once you’ve really rejoiced with another in their happiness and wept with them in their pain, you begin to see them through the tender eyes of grace.

Conversely, have you ever skipped a stone, watching it skim across the surface? It’s almost like the stone is walking on water. That’s the illusion. It sinks, eventually. It’s the same way with people. We can become masterful at pretend joy and pretend grief, but all we’re doing is skimming the surface. It’s not harmony, it’s lip-syncing.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

12 thoughts on “Are You Feeling It?”

  1. I was once instructed by a mentor in our faith, “No words, just be there… be there for them.”

    Loved the analogy Debbie. Thanks for gently slamming us to the canvas, then lifting us to a usable position for the Kingdom. “There’s much gold in them thar’ words!” God bless.

    1. mt – You had a wise mentor. No words, just be there…
      Sorry, I forgot to warn you about that left hook of mine. Glad it didn’t keep you down!
      Really, thanks Mike, for you comments and kindness.
      ~ Debbie

  2. “We fix when we should feel”. I really need to think about that. I’m going to let the first paragraph sink in and come back later for the rest. My initial reaction is that I fix because of my self-seeking motives. I want to be the one that did it.

    Today I backed away from my usual fix-it, handyman role and God really wowed me with how he actually Fixed it. I was going to patch the wall and he tore it down. New construction is in process! So exciting.

    I think the take home lesson in this one for me is to practice feeling. Thank you!

    1. Heidi – That IS exciting! It’s amazing what He can do when we step a little to the side. Sorry you have to revisit this post. I think I tried to work too many concepts into 300 words. That’s my tendency – I need to fix it. 😉
      Thanks for always being such a kind encourager – even when I do things like spell Forgot without an r!
      ~ Debbie

    1. Jeffery – Yikes – bet that makes you really want to visit here, huh? I was aiming for a tap on the shoulder. Thanks for reading, even when I get a little heavy-handed!
      ~ Debbie

  3. I find myself so often in the words of your blog. Great analogy of the skipping stone. I need to remember that and so much more. Thank you, dear friend.

    1. Debby – I would think it would be a great temptation, doing the work you do, to not go too deep. There were times, back in my counseling days, when I felt I had to shut out some of the pain to be of any use at all. It’s never good for a client if you make them feel worse than they did to start with. 😉
      I don’t have that excuse now. If I fail to feel, I simply fail. I’m either indifferent to the joys and sorrows around me – or I’m just too preoccupied with me.
      Thank you for holding my hand on this journey, my friend!
      ~ Debbie

  4. Debbie … it’s cool how our blogs kind of bounce off each other. Maybe i’m just sharing “my” vibe … that i projected onto your post 😉

    The word: Empathy, and sympathy. I prefer empathy … it is much less condescending BUT if you cannot TRULY relate to another’s plight … sympathy is all you can “do.” … but are YOU just doing? Really? I’d give yourself more credit than that. I know you do … BUT

    … self-preservation dictates that you don’t SPONGE peoples’ sorrows. I did that, and it sucked out my soul … i had to quit losing myself in a “world of the other”.

    I DO feel other people’s pain … and at time i’m envious of their joy … oh to be human.

    BUT, once i pull myself back together i realize … joy is tempered by sadness and difficulties … so i am joyous with (or for) the joyful!!!!

    I am grateful to feel joy and sorrow today, mine and others … and be moderate with all ….

    OH … i’ve got a jackapoodle (Gracie) on my leg … gotta go!

    Peace, m

    1. m – so true – the balance between empathy and enabling is a fine line sometimes. I’m grateful you can feel at all. So much healing has happened to make that even possible! You’re an amazing survivor.
      By the way, I sometimes wish I would have named Henry (my schnoodle) Grace – then I would have been called out Grace all the time. What a reminder!
      He just doesn’t look much like a Gracie though – he looks like a Henry.
      ~ Debbie

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