(Incidentally, doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a chapter in Winnie the Pooh? If it said “Pooh is” or “Piglet is” instead of “I am” especially. Or if it ended with “Important Truth About Hunny.”)
I was reminded recently of something very important, which I either didn’t realize or had forgotten. A dear friend sent me a brief text with just a couple of sentences addressing something I’d been angsting about — honest words that stung a little, to tell you the truth. It wasn’t a sermon or a long conversation, just something I really needed to be reminded of about my affections. Which I’ll come back to.
I’m a pretty cerebral kinda gal. Being cerebral is one of those characteristics that’s a lot like the Girl with the Curl from the nursery rhyme: when it’s good, it’s very, very good, but when it’s bad, it’s horrid. The good part is that I love to think deeply and ponder and muse and learn and wonder and teach my students to do the same. The horrid part is when I get so far inside my head that I can’t escape, and what ends up happening is that I live an almost parallel life, some self-narrated alternate reality in my head until I’m so wrapped up in it that everything about real life seems less real and far, far more disappointing.
So back to the affections. Jonathan Edwards wrote of the affections that they “are no other than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul.” Wait, what? Are you trying to tell me that my affections are exercises of my will? To be used sensibly and thoughtfully, not merely letting them light wherever they want, but to be directed and applied in a godly way? Far out.
In that self-narrated alternate reality that’s constantly competing for my attentions, I have allowed my affections to be directed toward things and circumstances and people thoughtlessly. Rather than choosing to set my mind on — to direct my affections toward — “things above” as the Scriptures say, I have too often chosen to allow my affections to be cast about by my mood, my temperament, my situation, and countless other factors.
I needed (and am very grateful for) the reminder that my deepest affections belong only to God.