Emotions… What are they? Where do they come from?
I have recently been studying emotions and how they can affect each day we live. I could write an entire book on it. But today I will keep it short.
Each person has a different response to the things that happen to them throughout their lives.
For example, when my husband and I quit his job of about 20 years to go work for a satellite campus of a church here in Las Vegas. It was told to us upon hiring that if God allowed this church would one day become its own autonomous entity. No promises that it would but rather if the Church attendance got up to a specific number and if the tithing was in a certain range, it is then it would be going in the direction of autonomy. God did amazing things during our year at the campus. The church was growing 200+, and the tithing was coming in above and beyond. Though it was never promised to us it was mentioned on various occasions that if these things were in place, it would be a good indicator that God was on the move. Instead of the senior pastor agreeing to what was said and undeniably happening he accused us of trying to undermine his authority and making “his church” our church and then denied the fact that any of this was said upon hiring. In turn, he terminated my husband’s employment and permanently closed the doors of what was a striving healthy church body under the disguise of covid.
As you can imagine the hurt and betrayal felt. Emotions began to run rampant in both my husband and me. But instead of us both handling our hurt the same way. We both began to have our way of handling the heartbreak.
It wasn’t until I began to study emotions that it all started to make sense in the way we handled our grief. Yes, grief. I never realized that what we were experiencing was grief until we were about a year and a half into our healing process. Grief is hard and it doesn’t always happen when you lose a person rather it can happen when you lose something you love. We loved our church family. Grief is a very tricky emotion. It can spring up at any given time, I feel like it will always be a part of us and a part of our story.
However, what I have learned through this process is there is a spectrum of emotions.
On one end of the spectrum (like my husband), you have those who largely ignore emotions and they just move on. They tend to deal with life by taking action, focusing on what they can do, not what they feel. These people tend to busy themselves by working overtime or finding a hobby to keep their minds busy. People on this side of the spectrum know there are emotions floating around inside somewhere but chasing after them feels like a waste of time. Life to these people feels simpler when they steer clear of the uncharted and uncomfortable sea of their emotions.
At the other end of the spectrum (this was me) are those who oversimplify in the opposite direction. Instead of ignoring emotions in favor of actions these people tend to focus intensely on their emotions—which tend to dominate everything else in their lives—and deal with them by hunting down a bad guy to blame. Sometimes these people condemn themselves as the bad guy <–(This was me, I condemned myself, I thought we did something bad.) This happens because when we especially Christians feel like when we have a negative emotion, there must be something wrong with us. <– (Also, me. I felt there was something wrong with me. This came with sudden anxiety and panic attacks along with insomnia and questioning my salvation.)
Though both ends of the spectrum have their consequences in the way we handle our emotions the truth is God gave us emotions for a reason. There is a healthy way to handle and to feel emotions. (This will be published on my next blog post.)
The truth is we love lots of things. If what we love and care about shapes what we feel, then the fact that we love many things means that we are always going to be simultaneously responding to different pieces of the world around us differently.
In our case, the way my husband handled our situation seemed so much better than the way I handled our situation and circumstance. But in turn, he would tell you it all hurt just the same. Neither of us realized the grief behind our loss and shattered dream. We felt the emotion however, we didn’t realize or even think to ask ourselves exactly what it was we were feeling. Asking, “What Am I Feeling” is important for healing. Mixed emotions are normal too! (More on this later)
Emotions are good to have it is the way God wired and designed us. We were made to feel things. It is okay to give yourself permission to feel what you feel, but it isn’t okay to stay there. What I mean is it isn’t okay for your emotions to control you. Rather God designed us to bring these emotions to Him to His throne. He gave emotions to us so that we can bring them to Him. He has emotions as well; we see it in the way Jesus lived His life on earth. We are created in His image. He made us dependent on Him, if we aren’t bringing our emotions to Him, it is easy to get ourselves into an emotional downward spiral. We are made for our creator to fill our needs He can only do this if we are bringing our emotional needs to Him.
The Lord is my Shephard. Psalm 23
Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
There will be more coming on emotions soon. Stay tuned.
We have a Good Good Father,