Did I get your attention?
I really do not believe that emotions are the pits, but I do want to discuss their benefits and challenges. Emotions are a volatile subject for many different reasons. You have the difference between men and women, the differences between personalities and a variety of emotional health issues, just to name a few. Today I will be coming to you with my view: a man, married, adult kids, seasoned in life (that is to say I am getting older, LOL) and probably most importantly a disciple of Jesus Christ. So yes, those are some of the filters and viewpoints from which I will write.
To begin, let’s establish a premise from which I am unwilling to waiver. Emotions are God’s idea and design.
He created us in His image, and He is an emotional being. I think it is important to establish this baseline for our article today. If emotions are God’s idea and design, then He has a plan for them. He has a way for us to use them well. Do you ever feel out of control or hopeless with your emotions? I suspect many of you do, as do I. And therefore, it is powerful for us to recognize that we are not alone as it relates to emotions and how to utilize them in this life. Some of the emotions that God feels include love (1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Jeremiah 31:3) and hate (Proverbs 6:16; Psalm 5:5; 11:5), jealousy (Exodus 20:5; Joshua 24:19) and joy (Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 32:41). He feels grief (Genesis 6:6; Psalm 78:40) and He also laughs (Psalm 2:4; 37:13: Proverbs 1:26). His heart is moved by compassion (Psalm 135:14; Judges 2:18; Deuteronomy 32:36).
I encourage you to take a moment to look at these scriptures, that you might better understand God and His emotions. Then consider how this relates to you.
For some of us, me included, we are aware that we have emotions, but it takes effort to connect to them. Others connect to emotions easily. Some have emotions that are out of control, while others stuff their emotions way down deep. No matter where you fall, you have emotions.
And just as God gains value and benefit from emotions, so can we!
My quest these days includes learning how to better express what I feel. I recognize that my relationships, specifically that with my wonderful wife, will be better if I can better and consistently express what I feel. Now, I want to do this in a healthy way that brings value to our lives. To this end I am finding many resources out there that are helping me. A quick Google search brings up many articles, books, therapists etc. that speak to the issue of expressing your feelings to your spouse. For this article I will not point out specific resources. They are out there in plenty, and I encourage you to seek out the ones that speak to you, the ones that ring with your heart. Of course, always let the Bible be your guide and never except input that does not agree with the Bible.
One thing I am learning from my station in life (described early in this article) would be that I often associate my emotions wrongly. What I mean by this is I might, for example, realize I am feeling something and associate it as anger. But as I dig deeper, I find that it is not really anger; rather it might be fear, discouragement, insecurity, or embarrassment. Remember, I do not quickly recognize what emotion I am experiencing. I must do the work to sort what I am actually experiencing. My miss-associating has caused me pain, as I have not tended to get to the heart of the emotions I am experiencing.
Another honest moment, I do not like to be left looking incompetent. And around emotions, I feel just that, incompetent. This matters because as I recognize this, I then am faced with the powerful opportunity to own this emotion and do something about it. If I choose not to do something about it, well then that is on me, isn’t it?
The truth is we all can choose to learn.
That is no different in the area of emotions than in any other area of life. For some of us it will always be more work than for others to navigate emotions in a healthy way. But we can do it! My hope would be that this article has been encouraging. Whether you have a lot of work to do or a little bit of work to do around emotions, you can do that work and it is worth it!