There are literally hundreds of emotions we feel throughout our lives. Many times, we generally label them as only a few…angry, happy, sad, confused, scared, frustrated, etc. In fact, if we thought about it, we could probably think of an emotion beginning with every letter of the alphabet.
When we look deeper, we can identify these emotions for what they truly are and then deal with them in a more honest and open way (ANGER because someone canceled on us could mean we are really DISAPPOINTED, or feeling LONELY or ABANDONED. In this example, anger may cause us to ignore the person who let us down, write them off or blow up at them, whereas, disappointment/loneliness/abandonment might cause us to try to resolve it.
Another way we “deal” with emotions is to just put them aside, ignore them and try to move on. We may say that the person who hurt us is not worth it or we don’t want to cause more problems. We may think we just have to “forgive and forget”, but what happens is that it prevents us from resolving the conflict and have resentment resurface later. Over years of not resolving the issue, it can cause us to have a root of bitterness that we can never be free of.
After the shock and disbelief of the announcement about your parents divorcing, you may have reacted in anger, ran to your room in tears or just sat there stone-faced. Depending on the age, children have not developed skills to communicate effectively, many times. They just react and don’t think about the consequences. Think back about this defining moment in your life. What did you feel? What did you do? Under the anger, what other emotions were swirling in your mind and heart?
Another way that we can many times “deal with” difficult situations is to worry. Oh, we worry about the economy, whether our kids will do well in life, whether our spouse really loves us as much as they say they do, our health, politics, where we are going to get our next meal, if we are safe, if we are very going to get out of this situation/relationship, etc. etc, etc. We can even worry about be worried, for heaven’s sake! Worry causes stress, stress causes health problems and a myriad of other issues. Do you realize that every single moment that we worry, we are saying to God, “I don’t trust You with my little life? You can’t handle all I go through. Your promises are not true for me.”?
God’s promises are, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “Behold, I am with you always even unto the end of the age.” “Be still and know that I am God.” The lists of His promises go on and on and they are for YOU every single hour of every single day of every single year of your life and for all eternity. He really loves you, treasures you, and is surrounding you. He is worthy of our trust and faith.
It would be easier to just be angry, react or hold it in, but it is important for you to not continue to bury emotions. Allow them to come to the surface so they can be dealt with and healed. It is well worth the time, fear and awkwardness to explore what you are feeling inside. Remember you are working toward the healing that comes from God, so you need to be open and honest and be willing to let His Holy Spirit “do some business” in your heart. Explore these deep areas of your life and let the Holy Spirit bring them to light. Take a moment to ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to the healing ahead.
Look at one hurtful area of your life at a time. Does it still affect you? Abuse, mean kids at school, the breakup of your family or a love relationship, issues with extended family members, grudges, gossip, and so forth. The older we become, the more difficult this can be because we have tried to push it back for so many more years. However, we may still be seeing the results of those issues. Take each one and if you need to, write down all of the emotions you are feeling. You don’t have to try and be strong, control your emotions and push them aside. To break those hurtful chains, you must see them and the power they have had over you for so long. It is time to get vulnerable, get the tissues out and lay it all out before the Lord. He hears you, knows you, loves you and understands. He is ready to lift you up to freedom and joy. Ask Him to guide you through this process of healing. Ask Him to help you forgive those who have hurt you, lay it at the cross, and let Him lift your load. We will explore the subject of forgiveness in a later blog.
“The Lord is a Shelter for the oppressed, a Refuge in time of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.” Psalm 9:9,10.