Emotions are strange things. They influence our thinking and behavior, sometimes against our will. Though not physical themselves, they show themselves physically on our faces and through our body language. And the bigger the decision we must make, whether it is conscious our not, the bigger a grip emotions hold on to you.
Emotions are what make us uniquely human. It’s an intimate connection between us and God that can only be explained by the fact that we are created by a Creative Being. No animal can experience deep emotions. Yes, dogs are loyal. Yes, elephants always remember. Yes, apes can make decisions based on preference. But no animal has ever felt love, sacrifice, fear of rejection, suspicion, deep joy, cautiousness, excitement, nor has any animal ever asked a question. Emotions are unique to humans only and, between one person to the next, emotions are always different.
No one has the same emotions in the same circumstance and reacts in the same way as the person next to them. Of course, we act similarly. Our upbringing, society, the influential people in our lives and personalities all play a role in how our emotions shape us and even when and where we experience them. But your thought process, your past, your plans and your preferences all are specific to you. And emotions are a part of the love language between you and God. But before I get into that let me step back to how our emotions shape us.
To give an example of difference, when you see an elderly person fall on the sidewalk, is your first gut reaction to laugh, pause and think, run to help, ask someone else to help, panic? There are many possibilities. And the more complex the circumstance is, the more complex your emotions would be. Now imagine that elderly person is your grandma. Suddenly (hopefully), your emotional attachment to the situation is greater than before and it shapes your reaction and your life as well. Because this moment becomes a part of your past and then, soon, a memory.
Emotions are moldable and also so are we. And emotions are both beautifully and terribly deep. No amount of psychology or philosophy could get to the root of emotion. No poet or scientist has ever discovered the base line of happiness or sadness. No traveler, artist, or guru of any kind could find the reason we have emotions, though many have tried. There is only one who can answer the question and He’s the one who invented the language.
Without God, who wonderfully constructed this web of intimate connections, we are a confused and conflicted mess. Because emotions are all about connection. They are how we connect with the world, with each other, with stories and, ultimately, with God. We feel empathy all the time, in small and large forms every day. We have the ability to feel what another person is feeling through communication of emotions and it creates a connection. I could say, “I’ve never had a best friend” and you would most likely feel some sort of sympathy. Maybe you have had a best friend, but you know what it’s like to be lonely, so you’re able to understand the emotions I’m feeling. Or I could say “I really love my best friend” and you would feel empathy. Because you know what it’s like to love and appreciate someone in that way, so you express your connection.
God created emotions to have a connection with us. He always wanted a family and someone to love ravishingly and have them love him back just as enthusiastically. That is exactly what He had in mind when you were but a thought in the Godhead. Before you were in the womb, He intentionally planned your being, knitting together your emotional ability and said “I’m gonna teach you what love is. I’ll be in love with you until you fall in love with me and beyond.” Your emotions are a love language. And God speaks your language. The two of you have a dialect that no one else could fully grasp. He knows your heart and your mind and He understands. When your heart strings are pulled, so are His. When you’re too sad to cry, He is too. When you’re so happy that all you can do is sit down and smile at nothing, He’s right there with you, smiling at you. As long as you’re in relationship with Him, your hearts are connected just as He intended.
It has now been a week since I’ve written the above text. I quit writing because I felt like a hypocrite.” What do I know of emotions? What wisdom could I possibly have to offer on a subject that I obviously know so little about? I feel out of control, I shouldn’t be talking like this. But pver this past week, I slowly began to let God speak to me and confirm these words. So I continue this story of devivne language….
What about when our emotions feel out of control? When tragedy strikes, hormones rage or unexpected events occur, our emotions tend to run rampant and wild. Thats because of the fall of man. When sin entered a perfect world, all beauty was suddenly corrupted, therefore when hurt enters a person, all reality is distorted. We were born into sin and we cannot escape it. We cannot become the perfect person. But that in itself, is an extremely beautiful thing. Because we need a savior. We need to be rescued and restored from brokenness into wholeness. And when it comes to our emotions, it means we must rely on Him to help us through them. He doesn’t change circumstances, nor does He change your emotions for you. But He will show you the truth and He will remind you of who you are, who He is and where you belong. When you cry out in agony, He responds with empathy and says, “I’m here, baby…” and He will continue to speak over and to you for the rest of your life and then some.
There will be times when your emotions run rampant. There will be times when you cannot control the tears and the rambling and the sudden urges for ice cream, hugs, and words of affection. You will need people with listening ears and welcoming arms. Sometimes you will need encouragement, a hand to hold, and other’s to put the truth back into your head. And sometimes you will simply need to see someone else’s empathetic tears. You cannot do it by yourself.
You cannot do it by yourself.
You need a savior and you need fellowship. Its not up to you to control and wrangle these beautiful, terrible emotions. They are huge and they are deep and they are meant to be felt. Jesus doesn’t feel anything small. Nothing is ever “meh” to Him. Everything is real and significant and of utmost importance to Him. And you are created in His image, as I’ve talked about before. You are meant to feel things deeply. And He is there to feel it all with you. He’ll wrestle your fears and sadness for you. He’ll bask in your joy and excitement with you. He will relieve you and love on you. He will hold you.
Jesus feels anger (Matthew 21). Jesus feels sorrow (John 11). Jesus feels immense joy (Luke 10). Jesus feels big emotions. And He, is in fact, inviting you to feel with Him. Communicate with Him. Ask Him what these beautiful, terrible things are happening in your chest. Ask Him to reveal what they are, why you’re feeling them, why you need to feel them. Let Him respond and reciprocate. Let Him love you by feeling with you. Your emotions are an intricate on-going conversation with the Creator and they are meant to be examined and explored. They are intimate and intriguing, just like Him, just like you’re meant to be.