I love this spot down by the creek near my house. Sometimes I sit quietly on the park bench and wait for my soul to be at peace.
I heard a new word recently — orthopathy. Orthodoxy is thinking in alignment with God. Orthopraxy is acting in alignment with God. Orthopathy is feeling in alignment with God. It comes from ortho – right, and pathos –intense feelings of compassion.
Emotions are part of who we are as those created in God’s image. God has feelings and strong affections, but they flow from a unified heart filled with love. Jesus wept with compassion. There was no “it-is-what-it-is” emotional distancing when he engaged with real people with real problems. We are also told that he was ecstatic with joy when he saw who God chose to reveal his plan to first.
Our emotions tend to run all over the place like sticks caught in eddies of turbulent water. That’s why some people shut them off; they are afraid they will be swept away. Others wallow in emotion, having lost their footing long ago. Jesus offers to heal our emotions too, because healthy feelings are an important part of wholeness.
I think the reason I like the Psalms so much is that David and the other Psalmists are neither bereft of emotion nor do they plop down in despair or spin in giddy distraction forever. They rejoice. They wail. They lament. They admit feeling perplexed. But in the end they rein in affections to agree with God’s way of thinking and acting as they unwrap his words, his actions, his character, his promises. They soak in his words.
Fill your thoughts with my [Wisdom’s] words
until they penetrate deep into your spirit.
Then, as you unwrap my words,
they will impart true life and radiant health
into the very core of your being.
So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
for they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
for from there flows the wellspring of life.
(Proverbs 4:21-23 TPT)