It may be selfish, but two months ago hearing of a global pandemic would have been equally terrifying to me as hearing I have to be stuck at home with some loud feelings. The previous months had brought tremendous loss and I had fought hard to get back into a routine. Now, the current state of the world has left all of us with some loud emotions. There are older ones: Traumas that we keep hidden in the boxes of our brain. There are new ones: From the loss of plans, the uncertainty of this time, financial stress, essential workers, caring for others, and wrestling with lots of big questions.
I say more confident than ever, we are all walking through something, most of us are feeling some bigger emotions than before. In the same time, many of the things, unhealthy and healthy, that we would have turned to in the past have been taken away.
In the church, there seems to be a few takes on really “feeling the feels”. For some, they feel strongly that every push and pull of their heart is interpreted as the Holy Spirit. For others, emotions are lumped into the flesh and not to be entertained. Personally, I tend to do this pretend-they-don’t-exist game until I fall apart every few months (life has really been testing this quality). Hey Church, standing strong in Christ does not mean we will not have some strong emotions. These help us in our walk with other people and Christ.
Jesus wept (John 11:35). Jesus wept alongside grieving sisters. Perfect, flawless, and knowing that he would raise their brother from the dead, he wept. Psalm 22 was written by David 1,000 years before Jesus died on the cross. Yet, Jesus cries out with a loud voice, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27), the exact powerful words that start Psalm 22. All scripture is breathed out by God and important, but I see this allusion as yet another affirmation to the psalms. All scripture is important ((2 Timothy 3:16-17), even the book that holds some of the deepest displays of emotion in the entire Bible the psalms. They are important enough that God would reference them a millennium later, as some of the last words spoken of his Son.
Emotions are not the enemy.
We are given the gift of broken hearts for things that break our maker’s heart, I don’t ever want to lose that. It is easy to love people when we feel for them. Many times, our sin comes from lack of emotion. When I fail to love my neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40), it is often not because I feel any opposing emotion. Instead, even if I know that I can/should help, if the emotions aren’t there, it is much easier to look away. This is not only where it comes to others. There is a gift in your own anguish; coming to God in moments of intense emotion is when we can best understand his wide-open arms.
Sharing with people is important.
We are made in the image of a triune God, who is all the Spirit, the Father and the Son (Genesis 1:27). We are called to be one body of Christ, to be members of one another (Romans 12:4-5). Sharing with one another is an important part of a healthy and fruitful body. A sweet friend of mine said “sharing emotion requires vulnerability, vulnerability leads to a closer trust. Closer trust lends itself to moving together as a cohesive unit and accomplishing things together.”
Sharing with God is more important.
I know if my friends love me twice as much as I can ever love them, it still doesn’t compare to the love God has for me. Yet, when I am overwhelmed, anxious, or just sad, I know I’ll get some empathy when I call that friend, it just feels like the problem isn’t big enough for God. We are not only called to cast all our anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7), but to do so because he cares for us. All of them, because he cares. Even the hairs on your head are all numbered (Luke 12:7). There is no worry, no feeling, too small to bring before the Lord.
So friends, feel all those feels, talk to your people, and make sure to talk to God.
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