Any of my friends reading this will know that I seriously hate emotions. I have a very bad relationship with them. Sometimes I have none at all (thanks to depression) and sometimes I have them very strongly, it can be hard to straddle the tension between these two polar opposites.
I run away from pain (literally, I have hidden in coffee shops to try and outrun it, fyi it doesn’t work), when I feel genuinely happy its taken me years to actually enjoy it and not just spend the whole day confused as to why I feel happy. And when I get feelings for someone I again want to run off (sometimes literally, which my friends again will vouch for).
But this aversion too emotions doesn’t mean they don’t happen. I can ignore them all I want, but they will find me, and they will not go away. Which leaves us two options.
The first is that we try our best and continue on our journey avoiding them at all cost. However, 1.) as mentioned earlier this doesn’t work and 2.) it doesn’t lead us to a healthy and gospel-focused mind.
The second is to realise that God has given us emotions for a reason, and for us to truly deal with any pain, discomfort or overwhelmingness (not a word?) we may feel by bringing them to God. By processing them in the way you best process (I am a verbal processor but I also journal and I have friends who just journal and don’t find talking helpful). And by actively finding ways to incorporate these practices into your life.
And by seeing them as a gift, seeing that they aren’t scary and nothing bad will happen if you actually deal with them, actually more good will come out of it than anything (honestly, I am writing this to myself, as it’s something I need to hear… constantly).
But then I can go to complete other direction, instead of ignoring them, they take over completely. They become so big in my head that nothing else can get in. Something that when put in its place should help me to live my life for God’s glory, tries to steal the glory for its self.
It does this by overwhelming and completely blindsiding me. And it becomes my reality (something I am told frequently is that how I feel doesn’t always and often doesn’t equate to reality). How I feel becomes dominant and the avenue for how I live.
I feel like getting drunk so I will.
I don’t feel like talking to this friends so I’ll avoid them.
I don’t feel like church so I’ll not go.
These examples aren’t talking about specific situations where people genuinely struggle, it’s for the people will me who often let their feelings govern their lives and not Christ.
So why is it important for Christ to govern us and not our emotions? Well, for those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross, we accept that Jesus is God, the only son of God (we are adopted), and that he deserves all of our affections and emotions. He made us, knows us and even after our rebellion against him, chose us and loves us.
He completely deserves our everything, including our emotions, or lack of emotions.
So instead of letting them rule us either by reading too much into them or by ignoring them completely (because avoiding them is giving them power they shouldn’t have, no feeling or emotion will destroy us in of themselves), let’s acknowledge that Christ rules our hearts and minds. And this means we can rest in him alone and trust him with a gift he gave.