I have been labeled an emotional person my entire life. I am the crier. Jason and I took our first pastorate when I was nineteen, and he was twenty. It was at our first church that I learned that being emotional was not necessarily a great thing. I had to be taught to develop “thick skin.” I could not just cry when I was hurt or express my feelings simply because they were mine. This was definitely a new concept to me. I was raised in an amazing home with parents who reared me to be me. I was accepted and could share my feelings and emotions no matter what they were with my parents. Thus, I came into adulthood believing that if I was sad, angry, happy, or anxious, I could feel those emotions, express them, and move on. For the last eight or nine years of ministry, I have strived to be less emotional. I have tried to not be hurt or cry. It is only in the last year or two that I have been faced with problem number two: Is it okay to express my emotions?
This past weekend I attended a women’s conference, which involved a great deal of crying, and I did cry a large quantity of both happy and sad tears. I realized, however, that I feel very guilty about having emotions no matter what they are. A dear friend looked at me this weekend and said, “Miranda, you know it is okay to feel this way, right?” I stood there and thought to myself, “No. I really don’t.” Honestly, I had not thought about whether it was okay to have emotions. As crazy as it sounds, I have been trying to run from emotions for several years now. Granted, I am terrible at it. I still cry and am labeled emotional, but I feel very guilty for crying because I know it has not been received well throughout my life.
Here I am, then, at a crossroads in my mind. I am trying to find the balance. This is the difficult task before us, ladies. We have to line up our emotions with the Word of God. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.” Proverbs 28:26 says, “The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.” Our emotions, in and of themselves, can not be trusted. We, who are naturally prone to do things wrong, must lean on the words and example of Jesus Christ.
I have found that I am not alone in this struggle. There is an entire generation it seems who are acting according to their feelings. If a person does not “get” anything out of the sermon, or is not “moved” by the worship music, the chances of them staying in a church and serving the Lord through it are very slim. Those who are not involved in church life often give emotion based excuses for not attending as well. They do not “feel” comfortable, they do not “feel” right about attending church under the current circumstances of their life, or they enjoy the way their life makes them “feel” right now. Both the church and the secular world are taking cues from their emotions as to how they should live their lives. This is very dangerous ground according to Proverbs.
Whatever our feelings or emotions, we must examine them in the light of God’s wisdom; His Word. When we feel anxious and worried about the stresses and chaos of life, we need to turn to Matthew 6:25-34 where we are reminded to not worry about our lives because God will take care of our needs just as he clothes the wildflowers and feeds the birds. We will not change anything by worrying. Scripture reminds us to not focus on tomorrow because “each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:34) When we are afraid, His Word reminds us that “God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (1Timothy 1:7) Paul has written this to Timothy, a young minister about to begin ministry on his own. He is stepping out from under Paul’s wing of discipleship to become a leader in the church. If you have ever been in ministry or served the Lord outside of your comfort zone, this can be terrifying. Yet, Paul reassures Timothy that the fear he is feeling is not from God. God wants to bless him, and you and me, with His power, love, and judgment. It is God’s judgment we can trust.
There are so many emotions, and we, as women, are wired to be emotional; some of us more than others. Satan, however, desires to use our emotions against us. He would have us spend our time worrying, being overwhelmed, and feeling defeated. Yet, God’s Word tells us the correct emotions to have, which include compassion for people and the lost (Matt. 9:36, 14:14) and a broken, sorrowful, repentant heart over our sins (2 Corinthians 7:10). Scripture warns us: “Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Satan desires to devour us with our emotions, ladies. He wants to steal our joy, kill our spirits, and destroy our witness. He is the ultimate thief. (John 10:10) Be encouraged, though. Christ has come so that we can have life and have it in abundance! (John 10:10) When He is in control of our emotions and His Word is the filter through which we view them, our lives will be lived out to the fullest!
May God use our emotions to compel us to reach the lost and meet the needs of our communities, and may Satan be bound in our emotional lives so that we are not women of anxiety, fear, and worldly sorrow. Have a blessed week!