Anxiety, frustration, and shame are good things. Okay, yes, they feel really awful. Still, if God invented all our emotions, it stands to reason they all have a good purpose.
When we judge some of our emotions as bad, its like we fail to read the owner’s manual for our own emotional well-being. We fail to understand God’s purpose in the design of the yucky emotions.
We have such an array of words to describe negative emotions that we often misrepresent them even to ourselves. We describe fear with words like anxiety, worry, dread. When we talk about anger, we say frustrated, annoyed, displeased, unhappy, irritated.
We use idioms to downplay our feelings, “I’ve got butterflies” or “I’m feeling a little blue again today.” Some patterns, like depression, may have a physical cause that could be addressed by a health professional. If only we would tell the truth about what we are feeling!
We often take our mental health for granted. We can live with low-grade chronic emotional pain. In fact, our enemy, the devil, tempts us to give him credit for our negative emotions. That way he can keep us trapped in power-draining defeat.
We don’t want to admit we feel anxious or depressed or angry because we judge those emotions to be wrong. When we feel anxious, we assume our faith has failed us. We think if we had more faith, we would not worry or get angry or be depressed, right?
Wait a minute! God has a purpose for our emotions? Yes, emotions are like a dash board in the car; they give us valuable information.
When the hot symbol on our car’s dash board lights up, maybe we cuss and fuss about what a clunker it is for a split second. Then, we start trying to diagnose the problem. Do we need a new water reservoir, to add anti-freeze, or to get a new radiator? We make an appointment with the mechanic. We don’t drive around overheated.
Our emotions serve as warning signals to pay attention. Frustration or anger can be the signal to establish some boundaries in a particular relationship. Anxiety can be the signal to pray or offer God thanks for daily blessings. Anxiety can signal a need for caution or a need to step out in faith. Depression may mean its time to go see a professional. Or it may be as simple as scheduling lunch with a friend.
Whatever we are feeling, we can rest in the knowledge that a God who loves us very much wants to give us clear information about our emotional well-being. When we give Him all our emotions honestly, He relates to us at the most intimate level. Knowing God at such an intimate level might actually make us feel really great!
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Comments are invited at cathykrafve.com.