For years experts have told us not to trust our emotions because they will lead us astray and keep us from experiencing healthy, thriving relationships. You can sure understand how repeated, explosive outbursts create chaos inwardly in our soul and outwardly in our relationships. One expert said that if we lead with our emotions, if we allow whatever we feel to dictate how we behave, we’ll never mature.
If we live by our feelings, our brains will start to look for evidence to support those beliefs, even if there are no actual facts or evidence to back up what our emotions so strongly suggest. For instance, if you’re convinced people don’t like you, your brain will start to search for and find evidence to support that claim, even if it isn’t actually true.
So it is wise to not let our feelings and ever changing emotions to take us on a wild-goose-chase.
However, all of this debunking of our emotions has sent us into another extreme that is as damaging to our souls, if not more so. We’ve begun to detest the emotions that surface in us. We don’t know what to do with what we feel, so we stuff those emotions and find ways to keep going regardless of inner chaos vying for our attention.
Though emotions aren’t good leaders, they’re wonderful teachers. Our emotions offer us information about what’s going on inside of us. Every one of us walks around with unresolved grief, buried trauma, and hurts that we have to sort through. So, when something in our present triggers something from our past, our emotions are there to tell us that something’s not quite right.
Marc Alan Schelske, author of the book The Wisdom of Your Heart, connects our spiritual growth to emotional growth. He suggests that as we give time and space to process through what continually surfaces in our lives, we’ll start to experience the wholeness and freedom Christ won for us.
“Frankly, if we aren’t willing to tackle the task of growing emotionally, there will be painful consequences in our lives. Emotional immaturity pushes us into poorly lived lives. The instinct to avoid discomfort can drive us toward choices with short-term benefits. These choices are often the most self-indulgent or addictive. Over time they pile up, resulting in fragile, insecure, and inauthentic lives. It may sound noble to ignore emotions. Trying to live by reason or truth alone seems elevated, more spiritual. But this is just not the case. If someone told you the most spiritual way to move around was to hop on one leg, you would know immediately that this person was off the deep end.”
“Choosing to live without carefully considering our emotional responses is just as absurd. Drivers who ignore the check-engine light on the dash are naïve, irresponsible, and even a threat to those around them. Emotions are meant to bring to mind crucial information about our hearts and our circumstances. Carefully handled, they are messengers of truth. Giving proper and appropriate attention to our emotions is one of the ways we learn and grow. It’s also one of the places the Holy Spirit works most deeply in our lives.” – Marc Alan Schelske, The Wisdom of Your Heart
Imagine yourself a year from now. What would a healthier, happier you look like? What if you were less trigger-able? What if God did such a deep, healing work in your soul that the things that once set you off or stirred you up no longer had that kind of power over you? Can you picture it?
Jesus invites you on this healing journey. He intends to restore your soul. Don’t deny or make excuses for your emotions. Explore them with a godly mentor or counselor. Spend some time in God’s Word. Ask Him to show you what your next steps should be.
May you follow the Savior’s lead. He will not forsake you!