It feels like a lot of us have been stuck at home alone with our thoughts this year. With so many changes and unknowns, it’s hard to know how to process emotions in a healthy way. In fact, some of us may even think that our feelings are the enemy. As much as we may want to shove them down, it may help us to embrace our feelings—not ignore them. Check out this excerpt from the Emotions Bible Plan for more on how to process emotions, and watch Pastor Craig Groeschel’s accompanying Emotions series.
Have you ever felt like your feelings were at odds with your faith? Maybe you follow Jesus, but that one friend keeps posting things on social media that make you lose your mind. Maybe you’ve found yourself yelling at your kids or your family members. Or maybe you can’t shake anxiety about some uncertainty you’re going through.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all dealt with unpleasant emotions that make us wonder if our faith is fragile.
But what if our feelings and our faith aren’t at war with each other? What if our feelings can actually fuel our faith?
Jesus came as one of us. He was fully man and fully God. He experienced every emotion we do, yet He didn’t sin. Emotions aren’t the problem—usually it’s our response to them that can become problematic.
So, as much as we’d like to hide our emotions, forget they exist, or numb them with a gallon of ice cream—it’s important to remember that God created our emotions. He wired us to be able to think and to feel.
In fact, we see Jesus throughout Scripture get angry, upset, or frustrated, and experience so many other emotions. And in every emotion, we notice Him connecting more closely with His Father.
Then in Matthew 26:37-39, we see Jesus in distress and anguish about His looming crucifixion. And yet, in the middle of His pain, He prays that His heavenly Father’s will would be done.
That’s the key. Jesus didn’t ignore His own pain, and He doesn’t ignore ours. Instead, He promises to be with us in it. So our feelings can fuel our faith, but only when they send us running to the Father.
Just look at what Jesus says in John 16 when He’s telling the disciples what’s going to happen to Him:
“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.” John 16:20 NLT
Jesus knew the purpose of His pain, but He didn’t diminish the disciples’ grief in the process. Jesus acknowledged that they’d weep, mourn, and be sad about what was going to happen. He didn’t tell them to “get over it” or “tough it out” or “ignore it.” He actually said that the grief turns into joy.
Having feelings isn’t failure. They’re a reminder to go to the Father.
Pray This: God, thank You for wiring me with emotions. Whenever I feel angry, scared, frustrated, sad, joyful, or anything in between, help me come running to You. Today I’ve been feeling ____, but I know that You are with me in that feeling. Show me what You want to teach me through this feeling, and help me respond in a way that honors You and others. In Jesus’ name, amen.