Summer’s transition into fall hasn’t gone so well this year, has it?
My youngest son lives 10 minutes from where the August 17th, Barcelona terrorist attack occurred. Another son and his family live in Helsinki, Finland, not far from where another terrorist attack happened the day after the tragedy in Spain.
Don’t you know that my mother’s heart was shouting, “What the hey?!? Those are MY babies!”
Next, on the world stage, we have North Korea defying the world with her nuclear threats aimed at the United States, and Russia distancing herself from America. That doesn’t make me feel real comfortable!
At home we’ve faced the worst national disaster in U.S. history with Hurricane Harvey, record breaking heat waves, fires raging all over the country, racism raising its ugly head, and a nation badly divided over how the country should be run.
At my house, I’ve been dealing with back problems and learning I have sleep apnea—combined with handing Father’s House over to a new pastor after over 42 years of pastoring here alongside my husband AND the healthy grieving that goes with saying goodbye to pastoral ministry and hello to retirement and new avenues of ministry.
There is a boat load of emotions rolling around inside me right now. Many are good, some not so good.
Maybe your feelings are on a roller coaster ride too—for a thousand different reasons.
And what really breaks my heart is that so many of my friends are facing challenges far beyond anything I have on my plate. Perhaps you’re one of them.
It feels horrible when your world falls apart
Like there’s no end in sight, and you haven’t the energy to even do the dishes or open the mail.
Like your life doesn’t matter, or you’re helpless to change anything.
Maybe your heart aches for those who have lost homes, families who have lost loved ones, or your own life turned topsy-turvy.
Perhaps, like me, you need to remind yourself that God created you with a wide variety of emotions.
You weren’t created just to feel “happy”
Your different emotions are there to help you express what your spirit and soul are going through.
Grief, anxiety, compassion, hope, doubt, fear, relief, emptiness, and all the colors of the emotional “rainbow” are there for a reason.
That’s what it means to experience being human.
As King Soloman said,
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
There are emotions for every season of life, and each has a purpose
Yes, you want the fear, the grief, the discouragement, or the confusion to go away.
And I know the easiest route is to indulge in a pint of ice-cream while you escape into a TV show night after night. Or avoid an awkward conversation that needs to happen. Or work your butt off on some project that takes your mind off of things. (Says she who is an expert at all of the above.)
These avoidance tactics have a place if done once as they give you needed space for a brief moment in time. But practicing them builds a wall around your heart and puts the Lord on your back burner.
Emotions need to be looked at. Identified. Named. You need to know what you’re feeling.
Jesus felt all the emotions you’re experiencing
He faced them. He processed them with the Father.
Remember His emotional prayer on the Mount of Olives before His crucifixion? Yep, He was owning His emotions and processing them with the only One who could understand and encourage Him.
Whatever it is that has your heart tied up in a knot will pass. It may take time, and it won’t be fun, but it will pass. You will not always feel this way.
Jesus will be brave when you cannot. He’ll be there when no one else is. He’ll hold you when you cry at 3:00 in the morning. He’ll fight the darkness that threatens to drown you.
All you have to do is hold on tight to Him. Let Him dictate your future instead of your fears claiming center stage.
Do this, and you’ll be stronger the next time a season of uncertainty whirls into your life. Race with men so you can run with horses!
If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan (Jeremiah 12:5)?
Our world is quickly changing. Let’s process our emotions with the Father, so we can be His agents of hope in whatever mess we have to walk into… including the one we each are facing right now.
For more on this topic, see:
How to deal with doom, gloom, and dread of the enemy
Simple reminders for living in a crazy world