“Disordered affections,” that sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? It’s just a fancy way of saying forgetting to keep the first thing, the first thing. That would be Jesus. Matthew 6:23 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. “
I’m writing this today because a bunch of people I know are struggling, which is a good thing because it means you are still kicking. Nothing wrong with struggling! I just know from experience that 97% of my own struggles come from disordered affections. I put the bills first. I put the kids first. I put my hubby first. I put circumstances first. I am so good at putting other people’s problems first, I actually need therapy just to cope with all the mountains of other people’s stuff!
I jest with a bit of self depreciating humor. Just saying, how do you know if you suffer from disordered affections? You actually need therapy for other people’s problems. In my defense, it is kind of true! I’m usually doing pretty well myself, but I’m often surrounded by tons of people who are not. When you are surrounded by a lot of anxiety, no matter how calm you are, all that energy can start to stick to you and rock your own peace.
It can get so bad someone will ask you how you are and you haven’t got a blasted clue anymore, but you have the personal inventory of 17 family members complete with a color coded crisis chart for each one. Been there and done that. That is what I mean about disordered affections.
I like to tell people, we, YOU, are the Lord’s investment, dearly loved, bought at a great price, and so to ignore yourself and your own relationship with the Lord is a bit like putting diesel in a classic car and keying the doors. The Lord’s priceless, classic car, He hand restored Himself. Seriously that is you, a priceless treasure, a pearl of great worth.
I read a really good post and listened to a podcast, Darrell B. Harrison’s, and I’m just going to quote one tiny bit of it, “Discontentment is grounded in misplaced affections; and affections—for better or worse—are always a matter of the heart.”
I really liked that wording and the reminder that affections are a heart matter. Placing bills first for example, giving them all you attention and worry doesn’t seem like a heart matter on the surface, but it is, usually something involving, fear, insecurity, doubt, shame, distrust, abandonment issues……well, you get the idea.
“Affections” don’t have to be positive things, either! Worry and fear for example are not very pleasant things, but sometimes that is exactly where we will place our affections and attention. Sometimes we grew up with so much fear and anxiety that it feels normal, that it’s absence is actually distressing, unfamiliar and disconcerting.
I don’t have any major issues with bills right now, well no more then usual, it’s just an example of something that can consume your focus and energy and distract you from Jesus. Also, it can be really deceptive, because it’s good to be responsible, right? Good stewards? Except I know people who actually say, I’m planning to go back to church just as soon as I get some bills paid first. I myself worked five years of straight Sundays before I realized that was a boundary I not only had a right to set, but an obligation to do so.
Several years ago I had a series of dreams and I was so clueless it is almost comical. For the life of me I could not figure out what it meant. It was just this some what ordinary looking man standing across a river trying to get my attention and pointing to his eyes. At the time all I could think of was, I’m not crossing that river and don’t make eye contact with that man. Too funny! Today it all makes complete sense and it was a downright prophetic dream, too. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
James says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. “