Lately, I’ve been a little grumpy.
Call it stress, overcast fall days, or the impending Michigan winter, but either way, my mood has been off. I’ve been irritable, frustrated, and low energy.
The past few years have been taxing on the world collectively. I imagine many of you reading this have felt the same way over the past three years. I know I have! Even so, our emotions can certainly draw us closer to God. Read on to discover some ways to do just that!
It can be difficult to reconcile the emotions we feel with our faith. Some of us might not even know where to begin! Figuring out how our emotions connect with Jesus is often a lifelong process, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort.
God has given us good gifts like therapy and medication, but our relationship with God is the key to our mental health journey.
Your Relationship with Your Emotions Is Complex
If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety or depression, you know how out of control emotions can feel. I have gone through phases where I have cried uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Whether your stomach is in knots, your shoulders are tense, or your appetite has changed, our bodies often give us signs that our emotions are out of whack.
In her book Emotions and the Gospel: Created for Connection, Heidi Goehmann writes, “We are all works in progress, and so is our relationship with our emotions.”
We might resent the way we feel, or we might desire to feel differently.
But as Heidi says, that is okay. What’s important is that we seek God in all of this—the good and the bad.
Your Faith Isn’t Dependent on Your Mood
I used to think that when I was upset or grumpy it was due to a lack of faith or trust in God. If I am to find my joy in Christ, then that must mean I can’t be sad! That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Of course we should find our joy in Christ, but that doesn’t negate the emotions we feel. That joy is rooted deeply in Christ, but we still live in a broken world where things are not as they should be.
As Heidi says, “God doesn’t judge our emotions in the way that we do, fingers pointed, inner critic at the ready. Like all of our parts, our emotions are judged by the grace extended to us through what Jesus has done for us.”
We have the freedom to experience our emotions, always coming back to Christ as our rock.
You Can Bring Your Emotions to God
No matter what emotions you’re feeling, you can lift those feelings to God. “God values our emotions, and not only the ones that seem pleasant or ‘good’ to us,” Heidi says. “They are complex gifts, each with its own purposes.”
God can use our emotions to turn us to Him.
He can also use past emotions to help us minister to and encourage people experiencing those same emotions now. It may take some time to realize, but it’s such a gift to share the peace and grace of God to encourage those who are struggling.
Find the link between mental health and the complex gift of your God-given emotions.
Quotations from Emotions and the Gospel: Created for Connection, copyright © 2022 Heidi Goehmann.
Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.