Emotional health seems like a lofty dream to me. I’ve felt way UNDER-qualified to have this conversation because my emotions are all over the place. But here’s what I’ve come to realize: emotions are NOT bad. It’s what I do with them that can get me a little unhinged.
We all have some kind of RELATIONSHIP with our emotions:
- You may hide your emotions.
- Stuff ’em down.
- Lock ’em up.
- Put on the smiley face and push on through.
- You may think that your feelings make you weak or could identify some kind of faithLESSness.
- You may over-apologize for emotion.
- You may bear everyone else’s emotions YET feel like you have no safe place for yours’ to land.
I get it.
But, emotions are not bad. For goodness sakes, Jesus was PERFECT and had emotions:
- Anger at the moneychangers in the temple (Mark 11:15-17)
- Full of joy ( Luke 10:21)
- Love for Mary and Martha and Lazarus (John 11:33-34)
- Distraught and wept over the death of Lazarus (John 11:35)
- Moved to compassion when he saw the lostness of people (Matt. 9:36)
Jesus was THE PERFECT PICTURE of emotional healthiness yet still existed in the middle of all the human emotions.
Emotional healthiness doesn’t mean to be VOID of emotion. It’s just knowing how to manage emotions and not let them boss you around.
So, my friend, DON’T FEEL SHAME for feeling disappointment or anger or helplessness or frustration or sadness. You are NOT weak or faithless or hypocritical. You are HUMAN, and God has empowered and equipped you to handle them wisely.
Here are 3 healthy ways to grow a better relationship with your emotions:
1) Name it. Don’t stuff it. Call the emotion out and bring it to Jesus.
“Lord, I am feeling disappointed because…”
Don’t heap on shame. Don’t apologize. Don’t squirm in your seat. Say it. God can take it. He can take all the fury of your emotional, irrational, possibly tear-filled outburst. It doesn’t scare him, and he won’t think less of you.
2) Think through it in light of God’s truth.
“I feel disappointed but it doesn’t mean that all is lost.”
Don’t let your emotions tell you who you are, what the situation is, or who God is. Your emotions have no place or authority to lead you. Think rationally through it.
3) Believe the truth of what God says even when you don’t feel like it.
“I feel disappointed but it doesn’t mean that all is lost because you say that you are always working, providing, and supplying for everything I need. I trust you in my disappointment.”
Give God’s truth weightier authority than your emotions. Choose God over what you feel.
*2 Peter 1:3 & 2 Cor. 9:8
I can’t tell you how much I writing this for myself, my friends- like right now. And as I putting these words into practice, I am comforted in deep ways by our Heavenly Father and have hope.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26, NIV