God made us as people who feel things. We are spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional beings. Emotions are a good thing! Who doesn’t enjoy (a feeling!) feeling loved, at peace, happiness, etc.? But in these days we may also be feeling great anxiety, discouragement, loneliness, etc. And feelings like that are hard to deal with sometimes. When I look at the Bible I find that it speaks to our emotions. It doesn’t encourage us to hide them or deny them, but rather to own them and to let God heal them. The process begins with owning them. So I thought today I’d share…
Ten things I’ve felt recently (and maybe you have too?)
- Anger – I’ve felt angry about this new “lifestyle” I’m living – staying away from our church building; working almost exclusively from home; being unable to visit my grandchildren; people getting sick, and dying. Things are not the way they ought to be. It’s okay to say that. Jesus saw things that weren’t the way they should be and it made him mad too – read John 2:13-17. Just be sure to find healthy, and not destructive, ways to channel your anger or to be relieved of it. (I’m running and exercising and practicing deep breathing and praying!)
- Sadness – Over the loss of life; the suffering people are experiencing; the hardships some are going through; the separation from those I love; etc. We don’t have to deny our sadness – we can express it to God, like Jeremiah did when his nation went through a terrible ordeal – read Jeremiah 8:18-19, 20-21, for example. Maybe you want to talk to someone about the sadness you feel?
- Anxiety – Who hasn’t felt some anxiety or even fear over the past few weeks? I know that there are 365 “do not be afraid” statements (according to some translations and some counts) in the Bible. And I fully agree that we are to “cast our anxieties on Him (God) because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), but in order to cast them we have to acknowledge that we are having them! Write down the things that are causing you anxiety, and talk to God about those things.
- Helplessness – I don’t like this feeling of helplessness I get sometimes. I’m a control-oriented person. But there’s a lot about this that I can’t do anything about. I can take all the safety precautions and be smart about that, but I can’t make this go away. I’ve been praying the Serenity Prayer a lot lately! When we feel helpless, it’s good to remember what Paul said about that in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10… God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
- Tired – Does anyone else just feel extra tired these days? Some mornings I wake up tired! I think that’s normal – we’re carrying extra stress around and stress is fatiguing. When I’m tired, it helps me to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28. “Jesus, I need what you offer!”
In addition to the emotions I’m experiencing that I’d really rather not feel, I am experiencing emotions that are on the more positive side! Things like…
- Pride – I am so proud of our church – Northgate. I’m proud of the staff I get to work with and the people of our church. When we get through this (and we will!) we are going to celebrate all of the good things that God did in us and through us. I think of what Jesus said when those he sent out to minister to others came back and reported on what they had done in Jesus’ name – he “saw Satan fall” and was “full of joy!” (Read Luke 10:1-21)
- Gratitude – I’m grateful to all of those who are on the “frontlines” of this war. The doctors, nurses, other health officials, government leaders and the rest who are leading the fight to save lives. I’m grateful for friends who check in on me. I’m grateful for technology that keeps us connected. I’m grateful for a spouse who offers me reassurance when I struggle. This might be a good time to memorize Colossians 4:2 and to add to that gratitude list.
- Joy – Really! I’ve felt such joy at times, which surprises me a little since what we’re going through isn’t all that joyful! One of those times of joy hit me unexpectedly when we showed some greetings that our church members recorded, as part of our last worship service. My heart literally leapt with joy when I saw that, even if it was mixed with a deep longing to be together again. On my phone’s music app I have a playlist called “Happy Songs”. Why not put on your happy songs and have a time of shouting joy to the Lord today? (Read Psalm 98:4-6)
- Loved – When people reach out to me; when my grandchildren get on Face Time and tell me they wish I could come play with them; when I have conversations with my children and they tell me they love me; when people from the church send notes of encouragement and tell me they are praying for our church; when I read things like Jeremiah 31:3 or Isaiah 43:1-2. Does someone need to hear from you today – to hear that you love them?
- Compassion – When I talk to people who are hurting, or scared… when I helped out at the food distribution at the church last week and saw the huge number of people coming to get groceries and heard their repeated “thank you”; when I get the prayer updates from our Care Team and hear about what people are going through… my heart is filled with compassion. And I think about how God is compassionate toward us so that we can be compassionate with others – read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.
This is a time when our emotions can be all over the place. Whatever you are feeling, don’t deny it or hide from it. Own it; pray about it; talk to someone you trust; write; rest; take care of yourself; read God’s word and let Him be your guide, your comforter and your hope.
You Can Count on This – John 5:6 – When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (Read John 5:1-15)
I have always thought this was a most insightful and important question, the question that Jesus asked the sick man lying beside the pool of Bethesda. “Do you want to get well?” It’s a question he may ask of us if we are struggling with our emotions, or our behaviors or our relationships or even with our health. Do we want to get well? Or have we given up hope, or become accustomed to things being the way they are? Jesus is making an offer to us if things in our life are not as we want them to be – he’s offering to be our Lord and Savior and to lead us to a better place. Do we want it?
When you’re not sure what you can count on in the world around you, know this: You can count on God keeping his word. So read what God has to say in scripture! And count on it.