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Friday, September 4, 2009


"Happiness is a moral obligation."
~ Dennis Prager

I venture into dangerous territory today. I'll mention a topic so awful it's spelled.


Right off the bat I offer disclaimer: I do not suffer from PMS or its symptoms. I ask the women who do, please, don't hate me for having undeservedly received such an enormous blessing.

I do, however, know what PMS feels like. During my third pregnancy, I experienced a strange hormonal imbalance. It felt like someone had handed me a license which conferred upon me certain rights, foremost the right to be a ... witch.

It was awful. I knew my feelings of malice toward everyone and everything were unfounded. But I didn't care. Or so I thought.

I discovered that I hated the unfamiliarity and utter illogic of those feelings. I loved the two small children with whom I spent my days, and did not wish to distress them. Somewhere deep within me I found the ability to fight those irrational feelings, for the sake of my loved ones and my sanity.

But if you bite and devour one another,
beware lest you be consumed by one another!
I say then: Walk in the Spirit,
and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
~ Galatians 5:15-16 (NKJV)

Though I may not suffer PMS (or pregnancy), I am given to intense feelings. "Intense" is a what people who love me call it. (How are they able?) My inclination is to freely express my feelings—sometimes a good thing, sometimes not. When feeling affection, I'm inclined to smother. When sad, abundant tears stand ready. When happy, I can be obnoxious (so I aim for just cheerful). When angry, somebody may need to leave the premises.

Those are my natural inclinations. But the Lord resides within me and empowers another option: Walk in the Spirit. Happy, sad, angry, and affectionate aren't wrong emotions. But demonstrating them however I feel like it can be wrong—as I've well learned. And not all feelings justify expression. "The better part of valor is discretion." (Shakespeare)

Happiness is indeed a moral obligation. As Dennis Prager says, "Happiness—or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one's unhappiness on others—is no less important in making the world better than any other human trait." He cites the effects of unhappy parents, spouses, children, co-workers on people with whom they have long-standing or influential relationships.

Bad moods and unhappiness can indeed be an emotional assault which harms others.

As mentioned in "Feelings Part I," Jesus says lust is adultery in the heart. He also described unjust anger as a violation of "Do not murder." Murder harms life. So does anger. And so may other feelings when not given their proper expression.

Jesus gives us life. If He lives in us, He desires to give life to others through us.

We do so by being empowered to walk according to His Spirit, and not according to fleeting feelings.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I know people who breed off anger the way the rest of us need oxygen to survive.

    I love Denis Prager. Great quote.

  2. That is why I love you so, we share the intensity. :D
    God keeps whispering the word fresh to me. Even found it in a verse last night. When I am deflated and tired, he wants to freshen and liven.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    ~ Wendy

  3. Thank you, Anne. Your point about the effect of destructive emotions on those around us is excellent. It's hard to find a balance sometimes between a healthy acknowledgement of emotion and an unhealthy wallowing.

    A toast to the intense. ;-) Sometimes I wonder how anyone grows up not intense. Where does all the feeling go? I guess it's all part of the mystery of temperament.

  4. Maybe that's why I'm a writer, to take all that intensity and give it a healthy outlet. :) Yes, it is probably through God's grace alone that I can keep my cool when PMS-ing, as I tend to be extremely hormonal. Ack! lol... Thank you for the reminder about destructive emotions...and how even good emotions can go overboard.

  5. Such a great post. Sometimes getting my emotions under control is a major task. Thanks for reminding me of their effects on myself as well as others.

  6. Denise, thank you for "showing up." You bless me.

    T. Anne, don't you especially love the quote with Taz? I may just frame the two.

    Wendy, I love you too. Glad to know some others understand the intensity.

    Rosslyn, I think balance is the key to just about everything we struggle with.

    Stefne, getting emotions under control is downright impossible ... apart from the H.S.

  7. Ralene, writing is cathartic for me too. Even my bad guys have some of me in them.

  8. Annie,
    (Yes, I do occasionally read some of your blog postings.)
    I thought you expressed yourself excellently, without sounding preachy.

  9. Dad, I try to avoid "preachy" all the time. I'm working on it. Thanks for stopping by.



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