One of our favorite things to do while cruising this week was standing on the balcony and watching the open water. As far as the eye could see, water sloshing against water, waves crashing at the ship’s edge, open sea changing shape and continually moving.
At one point in the week I thought, my insides feel a little like the ocean sometimes.
Chaotic. Beautiful. Deep. Rushing. Drowning. Raging.
I am passionate (a lovely word for emotional) person. Here I don’t mean cry often. Here I mean deep feeler. Here I mean tend to be driven and ignited by feelings. Here I mean experience life deeply. Here I mean even struggle to not bear the weight of someone else’s burden when it’s not mine to carry.
I once heard someone talking about Jesus, commenting on his fully man-ness yet fully God-ness.
Jesus experienced the complete weight of human emotion without sinning because He never let any emotion separate Him from His Father.
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane…
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36 (emphasis mine)
Soul overwhelmed with the deepest sorrow imaginable, yet processing with Father.
Jesus modeled perfect trust. He modeled real vulnerability in life’s circumstances, yet felt it with(in) his Father’s heart.
This inspires me to believe that my heart, emotional and passionate and messy and flawed as it may be, is important. If I look at Jesus, I see his heart fully feeling, but in the Presence of His Father. And I can do the same! (Wait, what?! Yes.)
Holy Spirit is my anchor.
He offers stability when I feel like I’m over all over the place. He wisely directs the movement and channel the waters.
Why do we always have to be okay? Why is there sometimes no freedom to reveal hurt, disappointment, frustration, or confusion?
I don’t want to live afraid of my heart or emotion. I don’t want to live tense and untruthful because I don’t feel free to express or give glimpses of my inside. I never want someone to stifle their heart or suppress it. And I don’t want to give a friend the impression that they can’t fully share their own beautiful and flawed heart, to me or to God (if I can encourage otherwise).
“..for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
God promises His Presence. And He is a keeper of promises. Believe Him.
Be honest with God without accusing and blaming Him. Don’t shut Him out of those deep emotions. Feel those things deeply, but lean into His side when you do it. Find truth in His Word that sheds light on your circumstance. Don’t let Satan get a foothold in your soul, whispering lies of guilt or shame or condemnation or “pull yourself together.”
I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! John 14:27 The Passion Translation
Pull yourself together is behavior management, not heart transformation, not life-giving moments with our Heavenly Father! I believe God wants more for us than that – more than rules given by our families or our work environment or our culture. Courage.
Trust God’s Spirit in you to light the path of figuring out your feelings. Ask Him to comfort you when you’re sad, depressed, confused, angry, discouraged. He is there to be your counselor. He is closer than your own heartbeat, ready to listen. He isn’t waiting to judge you or shame you. He deeply desires to help you sort, to instruct you in your next step, and to fill your heart with so much peace and healing you can hardly stand it. He is your helper, present to keep you whole, strong, connected to God, and so many other things.