I used to joke with a friend that I wished I was like Mr. Spock. You know, Mr. Spock from Star Trek.
During emotionally turbulent times in my life, I often wish I didn’t have to feel any emotion I might deem “negative”.
In the past Sometimes I believe that emotions are wholly overrated and something I want to distance myself from as much as possible. From where I sat, Spock’s life looked like one of freedom. Freedom from over-thinking the simplest of decisions, freedom from waking up in the mornings overwhelmed with fear and dread without knowing why, freedom from guilt, shame, condemnation, and lies of the enemy. Only a mind of logic and truth. Who would choose to feel pain and sadness if they had a choice? I knew that this was a good decision – to feel nothing. And every woman knows that once she makes a good decision, it is essential to share it with a friend.
So one day I shared these thoughts with a friend, and she gently rebuked me that I was not Spock, and that my feelings had a purpose and a reason, which
is exactly what I wanted to hear was true. As much as I wanted to pretend, I would never be emotionless. But that realization didn’t solve the problem. Allowing myself to feel any emotion always seems to go hand in hand with a lack of control, and let’s just say I’m on the end of the spectrum that prefers to be closer to “in control.” And by that, let’s just say I like to smother it, y’all. With gravy. There is something so all-encompassing about sadness that it seems, if we allow ourselves to feel it, it will swallow us whole, never to be found again. Living in fear of being swallowed up whole from the inside, I chose to control by not allowing myself to really feel pain – or joy. Feeling sad? It’s okay to cry, but tell everyone you’re “fine.” Listen to happy music, dance and smile. Watch a funny movie. Fake it ’til you make it. Feeling happy? Great. Enjoy it girl. But keep your eyes on the ceiling and watch for the other shoe that is about to drop. The really horrible thing that is about to happen is coming – because let’s face it – it’s not likely that I will be happy for long. Can you relate? If you can’t, then let me just tell you. This is an exhausting way to live. And this is not the life that Christ has called us to.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. – John 10:10 (ESV).
For the next twelve days, I am reading “In Everything Give Thanks,” a devotional created by She Reads Truth. Today I was reminded that Jesus experienced emotions too. In Isaiah 53:3 Jesus is described as “a man of sorrows.” I thought that was pretty powerful – that Jesus at some point identified with sorrow. I was thankful for this Word – a reminder that my Savior walked the earth, dwelt among us, and He knows what it’s like to feel sorrow and to sit with it but not allow it to consume Him or distract Him from His purpose. God is showing me that He created me, and that means He created my emotions too. God is teaching me that to live fully is to experience life, to experience the full spectrum of emotions that He placed within me. To live fully alive is to be open through all of the good and bad situations as they come. This can be a tough pill to swallow on the hard days. Those are the days I pray for God to shrink my emotions down to size, and put them in place where He created them to be. Sounds crazy, but it definitely helps. God is slowly but surely teaching me how to put my trust in Him and not in how I feel. Our feelings and emotions, if we put trust in them, will toss us like waves on the sea. Christ is our only constant, our only anchor in these turbulent waters called life. When I surrender my emotions and take captive my thoughts to Jesus, only then will I have peace.
I am learning that by trying to keep control, I take control from God. By closing my hands and my heart to feeling sad emotions, I also shut the door on experiencing the emotions that bring joy. If I shut the door to feeling hurt, I shut the door to feeling God’s overwhelming and amazing love for me! It has been a long lesson in the making, but I am finally beginning to grasp it. Because God is removing my stony, stubborn heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh, my desire to be Spirit-led, consumed only by Him, grows stronger every day. By putting my trust in God, I find the freedom for that which I was so desperately seeking. By putting my trust in God, I know that I need not fear the future. Indeed, I can laugh at the days to come. And that’s even better than being Spock.
Papa God, I thank you that you gave us emotions to help us experience and navigate in the world. I pray that we surrender our emotions to you and take captive our thoughts and submit them to you. When our emotions loom larger than life and seem as if they will swallow us whole, I pray we will look to you. Shrink our emotions back down to size and put them in the place where you created them to be. Thank you for healing and restoring us, and for giving us hearts of flesh that feel. Thank you that with You, we can look expectantly to the future. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 (NLT).
Today I am linking up with Holley Gerth