I’m currently walking down the street as I’m writing this post attempting to come up with something “deep” to talk about. I’m finding great difficulty with developing a thought because of how I feel emotionally today. So I’ve decided to talk about the importance of not ignoring your emotions and how they impact your every day life.
Often, especially in church, we are told that in order to walk by faith that you shouldn’t pay attention to your feelings. I’ve even heard respected leaders go as far as to say that feelings are fake. This way of thinking has damaged individuals, families, and organizations. When we ignore our emotional experience in the name of faith, essentially we transition from living authentically to being fake. This is also a form of self rejection that hardens us emotionally and affects our ability to be compassionate towards others when broken.
Let’s look at a few lies about emotions:
1. Emotions Are Fake
While the intentions behind this statement were good, the results can be dangerous. Let’s begin by saying that God is not afraid of our feelings both good or bad. Like anything else, the positive or negative of a thing is found in how you address them. God, being Creator has designed you with the capacity to feel. Feelings tell a story about your inner world that you couldn’t know other wise. They reveal the maturity and level at which you reason and respond. Feelings provide great opportunities for growth and advancement when properly assessed.
2. You Can’t Walk By Faith and be Emotional
The walk of faith is one of relationship with God. The Son of Man walked this earth and displayed how to experience emotions and walk by faith. Let’s look at a few places where Jesus shows emotion:
- “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Mark 10:14 NASB
Jesus became indignant (expression of anger and annoyance) when he perceived that the children were being treated unfairly.
- “So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!”” – John 11:36 NASB
Jesus was weeping with grief because of Lazarus’ death whom He loved. He was also described as being greatly disturbed in His spirit when He saw Mary crying in verse 11:38. The use of the word disturbed in that time was translated as a mixture of anguish and rage. Jesus didn’t just cry, but He wept from the depths of His spirit.
His rage was against death.
- Then there is the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is crying out seeking for the cup (the way in which He was about to die) to be passed by Him if possible. Up until this point Jesus had gone through quite a bit and is aware He is about to embark upon the roughest part of His journey.
I shared the negative emotions because they are the ones that are often targeted. Something I would like to share is that regardless of what Jesus experienced, His first response was to lean into The Father. Studying the emotions of Jesus really challenges us to ask one very important question.
What is driving your emotional response?
The emotions we experience are an internal response to the external. When addressing emotions it’s important to assess what they are rooted in. Though Jesus experienced emotions of anger, rage, and grief; they were rooted in compassion. His compassion for life and justice caused an emotional response that invoked change in those situations. It was these same emotions of compassion that moved Jesus to produce the miraculous. Emotions can be very powerful depending on how you leverage them! God wants to give expression in every part of your life including your emotions.
We are defined by His love that is consistent when our feelings are not.
3. If you don’t feel like you love God you probably don’t.
Today is one of those days where I’m not particularly feeling the love, but the position of my heart is head over heels in love with Him. When emotions are fleeting to and fro you have to take hold of your God-given authority and remind yourself of the absolutes that God has spoken concerning you. Though that may sound elementary it is necessary. The purpose of this is to reground yourself in an authoritative position and lean into truth which will remain standing after your emotions have changed. We all have our moments when we don’t feel it, but we are not defined by moments. We are defined by His love that is consistent when our feelings are not.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding emotions?
1 Are they fleeting or lasting emotions? Emotions that remain over a sustained period of time warrent attention and investigation.
2 How are they affecting your life? There is a line that must be drawn when it comes to your emotions. When they start to negatively impact your life, productivity and relationships its time to take inventory.
3 What kind of fruit are they bearing? Emotions that you experience are internal responses to external stimuli. What kind of fruit are they bearing in your life? Are they working for you or against you?
4 Do you need help sorting through what you are experiencing emotionally? I have witnessed on numerous occasions where church leaders condemn others for seeking professional help with what they are experiencing. There is absolutely no shame in seeking help. I believe seeking help from the gifts of God is honorable whether it is a ministry leader who has the wisdom to help you or a professional psychologist. His heart for you is wholeness.
Thanks for reading this post. Share with someone you feel this will bless and let’s chat below!