We all handle emotions differently.
Individually, culturally, generationally, etc.
But I notice a certain belief within some Christian communities that I find troubling.
It’s this concept that the “strong” Christians don’t feel strong emotions. At least not the negative ones.
I’ve heard people say things like, “So and so went through this terrible thing, but you wouldn’t know because she always has a smile on her face. She is so strong in her faith.”
Indicating that the extent to which you lament or grieve determines the strength of your faith.
I’ve had many clients who tell me that when they start to allow themselves to feel emotion, they’re met with shame because they don’t think they should be experiencing anger, sadness, hopelessness, etc.
Instead, they say they should just feel grateful for what they do have.
Listen, gratitude is so beautiful and can change our perspectives on just about anything.
But gratitude can coexist with other emotions.
We need to understand what God really says about emotions so that we can deal with them in a healthy manner.
Look at the Bible. Read the Psalms. Read Job. Read many of the prophets who are crying out to God for help.
They aren’t pretending to be ok.
We shouldn’t either.
We can actually grow so much as people in the grief and in the pain. Even though it’s an incredibly difficult time, it’s also a time when God does some amazing things to our heart.
Feeling is important.
So please, if you have gotten the message that minimizing your emotions makes you a stronger Christian, start challenging that.
And let’s start giving a different message to our brothers be sisters.
We can say things like:
“It’s okay that your hurting. Let yourself grieve.”
“God isn’t trying to rush you through this, He is sitting with you right in it.”
“I’m always here to listen, and your feelings don’t make me think less of your faith.”
We can remind ourselves and others that it‘s through allowing ourselves to open up to God that we really allows Him to do the healing.
Let yourself feel, friend.
God can handle it.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog