Emotions are Part of the Human Experience
"God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit." ~ Galatians 5:22-25 (CEV)
Emotions are tricky business, this we know. Anyone who managed to white knuckle it through their teenage years can attest.
We get wrapped up, swept away, and sucked in by the wild world of emotions.
By the way, I would like to acknowledge that the Creator endowed us with each and every one. Some as a balm. Others as a test, perhaps? I don't know.
Those who are highly evolved or practiced in the art of impartially, in managing the rollercoaster that is the human emotional experience, are able to take a beat when the unexpected arises, to choose how they wish to respond, and act in accordance with that choice.
For most of us, it seems to be far more often that our emotions have us, rather than us having our emotions.
We find ourselves inexplicably at the mercy of those feelings and sometimes, unfortunately, have a reflexive reaction to the moment.
We definitely see Jesus go through this. Granted, it was righteous anger, but still. Remember the money changers in the temple?
100% human. 100% divine.
I’ve been going through something of a whirlwind of out of control (and out of my control) experiences for quite a stretch.
It has gotten so extreme I am often prayed over with the words “… and like Job…” by my friends of faith.
In an effort to be more capable of taking a beat and making a clear choice, while admittedly not being practiced enough to always do it well or with grace, I have sometimes forgotten the value of our full spectrum of emotions.
I recently watched the animated film Inside Out. I highly recommend seeing it by the way.
Without giving anything away (I don’t think,) the biggest takeaway I had was the reminder that each of our emotions has a purpose. Used well, each is capable of generating strength within us and being a strength for us.
We find a good example of this in the case of the righteous anger of the Messiah, or the despair He experienced in some of His final (pre-crucifixion) moments.
I don't know about you, but I have the habit putting on a happy face when other things are going on deep down. More times than I could even begin to guess, I have declared internally or aloud “I am peaceful. I Am Peaceful. I AM PEACEFUL.” attempting with varying, and sometimes escalating, intensity to channel Peace.
Perhaps if I cried when I needed to cry and got angry on occasion, there would be a different level of determination, another lesson learned, or perhaps even a changed result. Who knows what the differences might be. Not that I'm advocating anger. In part, I'm not sure I'm absolutely clear on this thought or how it might be well executed.
I had a cursory chat with an acquaintance regarding all of this. His contribution was to “Get angry and get over it.” My reaction was something along the lines of, “I’m gonna have to ‘cause I can’t kick-box my way out.” Again, not that I'm advocating unbridled anger or aggression.
Here's the deal, we must be responsible for our reactions, our experiences, and ourselves, not to mention the way we engage in and with the world.
However, in a culture that encourages positivity no matter what is going on, I’m thinking there is merit in experiencing the authentic feelings… again, in appropriate ways of course.
Food for thought.
I would also say... while yes, it's important to experience what's there for us to experience, and of course do it in a healthy way... as believers, we have a secret weapon for that Eastern ideal of slowing time and being able to react and respond with intention. We have the Holy Spirit. We have Jesus. We have the Peace that passes all understanding.
God's Word does not return void. As in the verse above, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is a promise if ever I've seen one. What if we claim it, claim the Holy Spirit in those moments, and always?
What if we could become a Samurai in wielding that particular "weapon?"
If we could wield the Peace that passes understanding as masterfully as a Samurai wields their sword, what might that make possible?
I imagine our emotions would seldom get to have us, we would get to have them. I imagine we would nearly always have the upper hand over the schemes of the enemy.
I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me.
I think I shall ever more endeavor to be a Samurai of unshakable Peace.
Heavenly Father, may we all have the privilege of experiencing all of the facets of life You have planned for us, and the emotional journey that goes with it. We thank you for that gift. And, we thank You for the gift of your Son, for the example He set, for the Peace that passes all understanding. Thank You, Abba, for walking with us in such a way that the Holy Spirit gives us words when words from You are needed. Thank You, for granting us the precious moment of stillness in all circumstances in which we are able to respond in Your Love and Your Light, rather than in our humanness. All these things we pray in the most holy name of Your Son. Amen.
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
"Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." ~ Psalms 55:22 (NLT)
"The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that G-d has called you together in the one body. And be thankful." ~ Colossians 3:15 (GNT)
"Henceforth be empowered in the L-rd and in the strength of His might. "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil's schemes. Because to us the wrestling is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Because of this, take up the complete armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all things, to stand. "Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod the feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace; besides all, having taken up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, through all prayer and supplication, praying in the Spirit in every season and unto this very thing, watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints, and also for me, that in the opening of my mouth, divine utterance may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel... that in it I may be bold..." ~ Ephesians 6:10-20 (BLB - excerpts)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥