Emotions have often been given a binary treatment in our culture—either they are “good” or “bad.” Happiness? Good. Sadness, loneliness, or anger? Bad. Especially within our Christian communities, there’s a tendency to offer unsolicited emotional “upgrades” like trading bitterness for gratitude or swapping loneliness for community. Well-intentioned, yes, but often those suggestions can create a sense of inadequacy. So, let’s set the record straight: all emotions are messengers from God.
Don’t Judge, Just Listen
Sometimes we try to silence our “less pleasant” emotions, thinking we are doing a spiritual good. The irony? We only plunge deeper into the emotional morass. This isn’t to discredit the virtues of contentment, joy, and gratitude; rather, it’s about recognizing the value of all emotions. Remember, David poured out his despair and his hope alike to God in the Psalms, using his emotions as a mirror for his soul.
Feelings Are Signposts, Not Pitfalls
When we actually stop to ask ourselves, “Why am I feeling this way?”, we unlock the underlying beliefs that fuel these emotions. Behind my sadness, for example, might be issues of abandonment or my craving for validation. Your anger could be signaling unforgiveness or a deep-seated resentment. Instead of painting over these ‘negative’ emotions with a facade of happiness, we should investigate what they’re trying to reveal about our deeper selves.
God’s Word: The Ultimate Heart Check
As we dig deeper into the reasons behind our emotional states, our next step is turning to the unwavering truth of Scripture. Not to sound like an emotional quick-fix, but because the Word of God speaks to who we are at our core. It illuminates how we see God and reveals His never-changing nature, which, in turn, should influence how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.
Embracing Emotion Through the Lens of God’s Love
The pivotal moment in my own journey was when I grasped the full measure of Christ’s love for me. Even in my weakness, even in my searching, His love was constant. His Word assured me that my value wasn’t shaky; it was secure in Him. Yes, I still experience sadness, but now I embrace it, recognizing that God is still with me, shaping me through each emotional high and low.
Deepen Your Emotional Vocabulary with Prayer
Feeling stuck in an emotional loop? Take a leaf out of David’s book. In Psalm 139:23-24 he prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and leads me along the path of everlasting life.” This humble, open prayer could be your first step in aligning your emotional world with the promises of God.
Let’s Get Real
So, instead of trying to sanitize our emotional life, let’s take each feeling as an invitation to dialogue—with ourselves, with others, and most importantly, with God. Whether you’re feeling ecstatic or downcast, know that each emotion is a clue, a message, a nudge towards a deeper understanding of our lives and God’s role in them. So let’s welcome them as the holy messengers they are.
Trust me, your emotions are speaking. The question is, are you listening?