When states started shutting down just a few months ago, I began to mentally prepare myself. I am an introvert, I love being alone, and I love being home. Many people thought this was going to be a great and easy time for me that I would probably be living my best life. But I know myself a little better than that. While I thoroughly enjoy being alone, I know it’s not good for me. If I spend too much time alone without a plan for my own health, I can quickly find myself at a very unhealthy place.
This season has definitely not been easy. Not only have so many of the distractions and comforts from life been removed (or at least augmented) in the season, but we’re also hearing almost daily news of a new tragedy or horror befalling our nation and the world. It’s been overwhelming and exhausting and I’ve found myself wondering how many people have been struggling with their own health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational) during this time. There is so much going on that it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to taking care of ourselves.
I think Emotionally Healthy Spirituality should be required reading for every Christian, especially in the midst of a global trauma.
“When we deny our pain, losses, and feelings year after year, we become less and less human. We transform slowly into empty shells with smiley faces painted on them. Sad to say, that is the fruit of much of our discipleship in our churches. But when I began to allow myself to feel a wider range of emotions, including sadness, depression, fear and anger, a revolution in my spirituality was unleashed. I soon realized that a failure to appreciate the biblical place of feelings within our larger Christian lives has done extensive damage, keeping free people in Christ in slavery.” p.44
A couple weeks ago, I fell back into denying my feelings. There was just too much going on for me to be able to process. I was overwhelmed and I reverted back to the path of least resistance: that empty shell Pete describes in the passage above. But, like usual, I couldn’t keep all of this hidden for long. My emotions began leaking out as anger. I would then get mad at myself for being so angry all of the time. It wasn’t until I stopped and allowed myself to be still and silent that I realized the real issue: I was actually grieving but I didn’t know how to let myself do so. It was amazingly refreshing to sit with the Lord and mourn with him.
In a time of hopelessness, fear, anger, and outrage, the church has an opportunity to step up and lead people to the One with infinite hope, love, joy, and freedom. But if we aren’t doing the hard work and examining our own hearts with the Lord, then how can we expect to lead others? For years, I made such a habit of leading and encouraging from the place of “do as I say, not as I do,” and now looking back I see how ineffective it was. And I realize how hurt I was.
I’m still reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality because it’s one that I want to take slowly. Our emotions are rarely convenient and they sure aren’t efficient, but we’ve been given them because we are made in the image of God. He is a good father who gives good gifts to his children, and I believe our emotions are one of those good gifts. I believe that as we learn to identify and express our emotions in healthy ways, our stewardship of ourselves, our relationship with God, and our doing life with others will be enhanced exponentially.
Have you read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality?
Do you struggle to identify and express your emotions? Why do you think that is?
Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.