Lean in, reader. I’m going to share a secret with you.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]and at times irritatingly not emotionally driven, and more often relies on facts and logic for his responses. While we might frustrate the heck out of each other at times, I actually think this is good. Balance, grasshopper. There are times when an emotional response is more appropriate to a situation than a logical one. For example, if you’ve had a bad day, wherein you were sure you’d reached death by 1,000 paper cuts, many of us would prefer someone to put their arm around them and say, “Man, that stinks. I am so sorry.” Even better would be, “Let’s go shopping, and I’ll buy you some dinner.” Or, “C’mere. You need a hug and then some chocolate. You poor thing!” What the emotionally driven person doesn’t appreciate is when someone feels the need to dissect their day, “Well, what happened, first? Maybe you should’ve done/thought about/researched ___________.” Yes…maybe I should have, but this doesn’t make me feel better, and I’m likely to hurt avoid you if you say these types of things to me after a terrible day. Conversely, there are also situations in which a measured response is much preferred. Let’s say you get a phone call from your doctor saying that you need to be seen for follow up tests to the exam you just had, because there are some changes since your last exam. You’re told that it’s not urgent, but that you should make an appointment to get things checked out. In this situation, an emotionally-led person might be triggered to freak herself out into a tailspin, and assume she has any number of deadly diseases. Not productive. However, an unemotional, logical response says, “Hmmm…it’s probably just a routine re-check,” or “Isn’t it great that we have yearly screening procedures as we age, so that we can catch diseases early if we have them, or rest in the knowledge that we are fine for another year?” Logical. Balanced. Helpful. This response says, “I’ll wait to worry until there’s a good reason to worry; but I won’t borrow trouble. Hmm…there’s even something Biblical about that, as in…don’t worry!
I’m trying to be better at getting into the habit of embracing myself the way God made me because, can we talk? So often outside influences tell us that we’re not enough in a bajillion different ways. We as believers know that our God doesn’t make mistakes, and as our Creator, He not only knows our hearts, minds, and bodies intimately, He loves our hearts minds, and bodies. What artist doesn’t love his magnum opus? But still, the enemy whispers nigh, and sometimes those whispers can get to us. In seeking God to reassure myself, I go to His Word. I love how throughout Scripture, but especially in the Psalms of David (example), I see that David, who was a “man after God’s own heart” was emotional! He got angry, worshiped with ecstasy, prayed to God when he was scared or victorious, and lamented his poor decisions with God. And he’s not the only emotional guy in the Old Testament. A few examples in the New Testament include both Elizabeth and Mary’s sheer wonder at their pregnancies with John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively, the fact that Jesus wept when his dear friend Lazarus died; and we need only read a few of the Pauline epistles (example) to know that Paul wore his emotions on his sleeve when preaching to the Gentiles.
So seeing myself in Scripture (so to speak) makes me feel good. Heeding the Holy Spirit’s prompting on my heart to embrace who I am, while striving to be more like Jesus makes me feel even better, though. As I read through my Bible, I also identify key people made and beloved by God, who demonstrated more logical and measured responses. It’s hard to pick a favorite example, but I’m terribly impressed with Esther. This young, Jewish woman hid her identity and utilized exquisite timing through fasting and prayer and Holy wisdom and counsel with her cousin, Mordecai, to save the Jewish people from annihilation by King Xerxes. Had she rushed anything or shown her true feelings of fear and uncertainty, she would have lost her effectiveness against this evil King and his (also) horrid advisor.
In her book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotion, Lysa TerKeurst writes a gem which I’ve carried with me since reading her book:
Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate your behavior and boss you around. You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift . . . called self-control.
Esther exemplifies this completely to me. And actually, so does Mary, when she accepts Gabriel’s charge to be Jesus’ earthly mom (yes, Mary had it all going on). Maybe they were freaking out inside, but they both exhibited a godly level of self-control.
I have only scratched the bare surface of these stories, but my point is – God made and used both personality types for His glory. Since I tend towards the emotional, I need to ask God for His wisdom and discernment on when it’s more appropriate to be logical. I submit as well that those who are more logic-focused look for opportunities to step out in faith, even when there’s a missing puzzle piece in a situation.
Dear Jesus. Thank you for making me just how you made me, and for surrounding me with so many friends and loved ones who complement my strengths and needs. I pray Your help in shaping me to be a woman after your own heart, who chases after Your will whether in the midst of my emotions or in a rational process of thought. And please grow in me the self-control and discernment to know which response would honor and glorify you the most. In your glorious name. Amen.