Emotion can be useful, most definitely. Yet if we stop at merely using emotion to get at the lies in our life, that would be such a tragedy. The mere existence of emotion is a gift to be cherished.
Many of us shy away from emotion, fearing that it will lead us astray from what we believe to be the grounded reality of our thoughts. Others of us have been taught [either overtly or covertly] that emotions are dangerous, unwanted, unacceptable, or ugly. Sometimes we’ve scared ourselves with the ways we’ve acted out of our emotions. So we shut them down [or shall I say, stuff them down] entirely. For whatever reason, emotions get a bad name, and to me, that’s sad.
Emotion is a beautiful thing. It signifies that we are alive. Whether our circumstances & our beliefs about them find us emoting a favorable feeling [ecstatic, hopeful, confident] or a not so favorable feeling [shocked, exhausted, ashamed, angry, afraid] we can know that our human heart is still beating. That our story is still unfolding. The end has not yet come. [side note: The choices we make as a result of these emotions is another dialogue for another time, for now let's talk about the raw experience of feeling these emotions.]
Is it really okay to have these feelings?
The writer of the Book of Beginnings [Genesis] writes that we were created in the very image of God himself. And so our essence reflects His. Woah. This is not to say we are little gods and goddesses running around. Yet we are as the moon is to the sun, reflecting His glory, His essence. So, let’s take a look at who God shows himself to be [in regard to emotion].
“Your right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O LORD, dashes the enemy to pieces.
In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrew those who rose against you. Your anger flashed forth; it consumed them as fire burns straw. Exodus 15.6-7
“With unfailing love you will lead this people whom you have ransomed.” Exodus 15.13
“Then Jesus wept.” John 11.35
“Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and oxen, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.” John 2.15 [this sound like anger to anyone other than me?]
“The LORD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple.” 2Chronicles 36.15
“A vast crowd was there as he [Jesus] stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Matthew 14.14
God expresses feelings – all across the spectrum, from the ones we have deemed “negative” to the ones we’ve deemed “positive”. Again, I am not speaking to the choices made, but rather the emotions experienced inside.
And so, being made in God’s image, may we be free to let ourselves experience whatever emotion comes to us. May we see the beauty and the aliveness of our human heart as we feel. May we recognize that our story is still unfolding. The end has not yet come. And in that truth may we simply breathe.