I Get So Emotional
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.
- A Friend In Need - August 31, 2018
- Breakin’ It Down - July 23, 2018
- Lean on Me - May 18, 2018
“But still, the enemy whispers nigh, and sometimes those whispers can get to us.” Yup. To it all. We need both kinds, and we have to accept when we are both kinds at the same time! I have schizo-emotional disorder, I swear. Thanks, Gretchen, for reminding me that the Bible is full of great examples of emotion gone awry, and emotion under control. And in the end, we are His. Phew!
Diane, I think I suffer from the same! Thank you for your encouragement!
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing both Biblical examples. Makes me feel a little better about me.Because as the less feely one of the unit I sometimes think maybe something is wrong with me.
Sometimes it’s a great thing, but it also makes me less patient with others in my family who are on the more emotional side. God’s working on me, though, and I’m not sure I like the softer side of me, probably because I’m not sure what to do with it. And it’s really kind of trippy when our roles are reversed! But I’m thankful for both sides. Hm. Maybe I have schizo-emotional disorder, too!
Jen, we are all afflicted. 😉 Thankful He’s still working on me, too.
Loved this Gretchen I too am a heavily emotionally led woman who has to be, shall we say given some non emotional more logical advice at times by my more logical husband to put things in perspective. But isn’t it wonderful that God made us so different to balance each other out! I still however feel my emotional side tends to be more valid, lol! Lysa also says we must identify what kind of reactor we are and how to improve our communication as that type of reactor so that we can gain calm and control in those emotional situations by turning to our lord and savior. After 57 years of being an emotional reactor I think I have just in the last few years learned to lean in and listen to my God whispering it’s ok Sandy, your going to get through this if you’ll just trust in me, and there’s the key trusting in him and giving up the control to handle or fix it alone. I’m a work in progress but anxious and willing to keep learning and growing in my faith, I’m a sinner and I’m sometimes not willing to give it up to God but he is working on me, being faithful to me and never giving up on me! ?
Sandy, thank you for stopping by! Yes to all that you wrote. We really are similar, and I must say, God must get tired of hearing Himself speak, because so many of us need to hear the same thing. LOL. So thankful that progress, not perfection, is what He cares about, because His perfection carries us all.
Oh, gosh, Gretchen! You and your husband sound a lot like me and mine. my Tony has such a great gift of discernment; it really serves as a checks and balance system to my panic mode tendency. In addition, the Holy Spirit has been an active “editor,” calming influence, and/or shush-er in my life for the last decade and a half, so I don’t just blurt what’s on my mind or heart in any given moment. I now find myself thinking things like, “I should wait until Monday to deliver this news so I don’t ruin everyone’s weekend.” I believe it’s God growing the spiritual fruit of self-control in me.
Also, I LOVE the Lisa Terkhurst quote!
Thank God for Holy Spirit, the Editor. Amen. Appreciate your stopping by, Diane.