We all have feelings, but what does God want you to do with your feelings? Perhaps God wants you to bring the feelings to God first.
I have emotions
I am human, and as a creation of God, I have emotions. I have feelings. God feels, so therefore I do.
Feelings are good when they are good feelings, such as being loved. Then there are other feelings that I want to deny, push away, and run from such as grief, fear, loneliness.
How do you handle feelings?
Surely if God created us as a mirror image (now flawed and smudged) of themselves, then surely God can give us some guidance as to what we are to do with those feelings.
In a strange obscure little passage from the Bible, we get but one glimpse as to what God wants us to do with feelings.
The word of the Lord came to me:
“Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your moustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.”
Ezekiel 24: 15-17
Ezekiel’s wife was about to die. God comes to Ezekiel and instructs him not to groan and grieve openly.
Life can be bitterly hard at times. The ‘delight’ of Ezekiel’s eyes was about to be taken from him.
I have had ‘delights’ taken from me.
Things I have held onto, dreams, hopes, plans, all seemingly dashed into a thousand pieces till all that I had left was dust.
In this instance, not in all, God comes to Ezekiel and instructs him not to mourn openly but to grieve privately.
Two insights emerge from this passage that gives us some wisdom and instruction about feelings.
God wants us to
1. Acknowledge how we feel
I hear God saying this
‘Ezekiel, your wife is about to die, I know that you will have feelings, it’s ok, I put them in you, you’re just like me in this.
I grieve too; I feel pain, I weep and am vulnerable to the decisions made by my people.
I am not a God that is made of stone or wood, unfeeling, and inert.
I am not a God that is far away and oblivious to what is happening for you at the core of your soul.
Acknowledge how you feel.
Feelings are ok; it’s just what you do with them’.
2. Control the expression of our feelings
I hear God saying this
‘Ezekiel, I don’t want you to run from your emotions or to bottle them up. I want you to express them in a way that will speak a particular message on my behalf.
You have a choice in how you express the heart, and I want you to control your expression.
So many times, people can use their feelings to manipulate a response in others of guilt, pity, sympathy, attention-seeking, etc.
These can be little games that people play, trying to meet the needs they have that I desire to meet.
For this instance, I want you to use this power of choice to send a message to my people. I know this will be hard for you to do, to control your emotions, but I will be with you, giving you all the comfort you will need.
Ezekiel, it is not sinful to express emotions. I do it all the time. From feelings of joy to sadness, I show them all. Sometimes privately and sometimes publicly.
Will you bring the emotions you have, first and foremost, to me. I won’t reject or abuse a broken heart. I know you better than anyone else and can help. At other times it is essential as well to share emotions with others who are safe, but for this time of grief, bring them to me privately’.
Feelings are normal and healthy. God invites you to express your feelings to him and to safe others.
Have you ever been told off or punished for expressing your feelings? Perhaps as a child?
Time to rethink your childhood conclusions and beliefs about feelings. How do you handle emotions?
Quote to consider
- I must evaluate whether expressing my acknowledged feelings to anyone other than God will serve His purpose, and I must control their expression accordingly. Larry Crabb The Marriage builder