Emotions. They’re raw, they’re real.
So real the pain and exhaustion from our emotions can leave us in a daze. Scarred and scared. Rubbed raw. In this daze we attempt to drift through life, floating over tumultuous waters, trying not to sink or swim… but fly.
When we’re in an emotional daze, how can we find strength and energy again?
If only we could rise above the emotions and situations while also getting underneath, to understand them and uncover their source. It’s all a big paradox because we can’t understand our feelings when they’re so fleeting. What’s more, if we keep floating and flying around them, the emotions will continue to escape us as we fail to express them in the moment. The emotions manifest instead as a kettle of confusion, and finding clarity is like attempting to boil the ocean. But. We need to float and fly through life, above our emotions, because how else will we survive? If we dive deep then maybe we can get beneath the surface of situations to the root of the problem (past wounding). If we fly then maybe we can get above our feelings to gain some perspective.
Sink, swim, dive, fly. Who is doing all the work here? Why do we try to do it in our own strength?
Emotions are not a weakness, but when we give them power they leave an emptiness in our spirits that only God can enter and fill with His strength. His wings are sufficient to wade in the deepest waters and to fly in the fiercest winds.
God sent His very own Son to penetrate every paradox, so that we (unholy and dirty) might be able to enter His presence. He is a God who is infinitely holy, eternally righteous and pure at heart. He has sent his Spirit of power, love and self-control, to fight for us and within us. The Spirit enables us to experience the objective truth of Jesus death and resurrection, his finished work at the Cross. By God’s grace we have received salvation in Christ, and this is deliverance. He delivers us from this evil age and the rebellion that wages war in us as we are tempted to ignore God and choose our own path, our own flight, where we will sink and float and never quite gain the strength on our own to keep swimming.
What does this all mean?
Our emotions might empty or exhaust, but God fills and upholds. God is in control. God knows our emotions. He wants us to entrust our rubbed raw selves to Him for repair, reconstruction, and renewal. He wants us to also stop rubbing ourselves raw when we choose to follow our fleshly desires, our sinful natures that steal our sight from the cross of Christ and the blessing found in being a part of God’s family, in his presence.
Will you continue to escape from your emotions, or will you allow our mighty Eagle Warrior to enter those places of emotional scarring?
My housemate said something startling the other week. How emotional neglect, the art of omission in childhood, can have a real impact on us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. I see this. Our emotions are echoes of wounds we have received and are vulnerable to. But Christ was wounded on our behalf, and that is a great comfort, knowing he was willing to go where we could not go, to do what we could not do, to take that cup of suffering, turning to his Father’s will. Our will and emotions can seem so powerful at times, so painful at others. But God’s will is mightier, stronger, and so much better. He has a plan and a purpose and his desires are not for our destruction but for our salvation. And what a joy to know that he disciplines those he loves. This discipline itself provokes painful emotions at times, but our suffering in this life produces a perseverance that will spur us to seek first the Kingdom of God and pursue him, trust him and love him until Christ is formed in us and until he returns!
“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
– 1 Peter 2:19-25
How extraordinary that Christ endured suffering for us, that in him we have an example of how to respond in times of need. Let us choose to turn to the Lord in our emotional need as well as our physical and spiritual needs. Let us cry to him for help, let pleas of mercy escape our hearts as we acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves or fly on our own ~ we need his Eagle Wings. He promises to protect us, provide for us, to lead us into his everlasting peace.
On a rather large end note, I’m currently reading “What Your Body Knows About God: How We Are Designed To Connect, Serve and Thrive” by Rob Moll. I love how Moll combines neuroscience findings with the Bible to bring meaning to what it means to be created in God’s image and for communion with him and others. The Bible speaks of us as whole beings, not separable parts.
“We think with our feelings, and our feelings are nothing more than the state of our bodies. That’s why they’re called feelings. This is what scientists call embodied cognition … How we feel and how we think are not so easily separated … We feel before we think, and if we don’t feel we can’t actually think … All of our deep logic, well-thought theology and worldview tend to arise from our desires and our loves rather than shaping them. Our job, then, is to train our desires to love the right things. In the language of neuroscience, we need to get the “reward circuitry” of our brains to fire to images of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness” (Gal.5:22).
“Not only is God interested in our intellectual or emotional connection to him; he has designed our bodies to intimately participate in this relationship, to connect to him and to the people around us”
“As we regularly commune with God, we create neural pathways that strengthen our relationship, eliminating those things that would detract from our growth and reinforcing and developing those habits that lead to our sanctification. This is how God designed us to thrive.”