You have likely been told, “Don’t trust your emotions.” Or “Your emotions will lie to you.”
I couldn’t disagree more.
I understand what people mean when they say these things. They mean that your emotions don’t always reflect absolute reality. They don’t always match the facts of a situation. And I agree with that. We shouldn’t confuse our emotions with facts or base our faith on them.
But I don’t believe emotions themselves lie to us. In fact, our feelings tell us the absolute truth about what we think, what we believe, and “where we are” at a specific moment in time. We should pay attention to our emotions but let them serve us rather than govern us.
Becoming Aware of Your Emotions
How do we allow our emotions to serve us?
First, we actually need to acknowledge them. Imagine how many emotions you experience over the course of one day. But I wonder, how often do you take the time to stop and ask, “What am I feeling right now?” (I probably average a grand total of ZERO TIMES per day.)
We need to pay attention to our emotions. Trying to ignore or suppress them will not allow them to serve us; instead, it will cause us to be an unknowing slave to them. Yikes. No thank you.
But simply acknowledging our emotions isn’t enough. It’s incomplete. We then must process those emotions and consider what they’re inviting us to pay attention to.
Processing with Jesus
There are endless books and podcasts out there on different strategies for how to process our feelings. And many of them are great. But can I tell you one method that I believe trumps them all? Processing our emotions WITH JESUS.
Only Jesus knows exactly what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. So, we should take our emotions to Him and ask Him to clarify what they are telling us.
Here are a few questions to ask as you process your feelings with Him:
· What am I specifically feeling?
· What is the reason I’m feeling this emotion?
· What is this feeling telling me that I believe at this moment?
· What is this feeling telling me that I need right now?
· What is Your perspective, God? What do You want to do with this emotion?
As you process your emotions with the Lord, remember: the point of doing this exercise is not so that you can “get out” of the feelings you don’t want to feel. This process doesn’t immediately resolve the sadness or anger or fear. Instead, it allows you to see God’s perspective and purpose in your feelings.
Jesus is not Overwhelmed
The beautiful thing about processing your emotions with Jesus is that He is not overwhelmed by them. You are never “too much” for Him. He can handle all of it and, in fact, invites us to bring everything we’re carrying to Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus wants you to experience all the gifts your emotions were designed to give. His invitation is to fullness. Take your feelings to Him, and receive His perspective, purpose, and rest for your soul.
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