Wednesday, October 21, 2015

31Days - Emotion

We were sitting in the living room when I mentioned to my husband that we still needed to write something for Kayla's Senior Memory Night. It's supposed to be written from the perspective of an object she took with her everywhere as a young child (blankie, binkie, doll, stuffed animal, etc). I had no idea (still have no idea) what to write and voiced that concern to Carl. He responded that he thought it was supposed to be funny and sappy. Yeah. I knew that. So my comment back to him was, "But I don't do sappy very well. Maybe you should write it." I heard a snicker from the couch where Kayla was sitting.

I hate to admit that. I don't like admitting the emotional deficiency in myself. And I really don't like admitting I was insensitive enough to actually have had that conversation in front of my daughter. What does that say to her? Ugh! And, finally, I don't like the fact that there was enough truth in my complaint for her to actually find it amusing.

But the truth is there.

Several years ago a friend questioned why I wasn't really happy about something that was happening. I was stunned by her assessment. I was happy. But... I'd controlled my reaction; stifled my emotion. I knew I had trouble revealing negative emotions. But suddenly I realized that I even keep tight control on the positive ones. Truth is, I could receive a gift that would send my heart over-the-moon happy, but from my body you would see only a slight smile and a word of thanks.

What on earth?!

In my ever-logical, deny-all-emotion mind, I've analyzed and can point to several things that probably led to my emotional suppression. As a child, I was told that if you didn't show emotion, the bullies wouldn't find you as fun to torment. I would have done nearly anything to make the daily teasing stop, so it seemed a small price to pay. And I became pretty good at it. My emotions are hidden so deep that even I can't tell what they are much of the time (That's frustrating when your therapist asks what you are feeling!) I learned to value logic over emotions. And I learned that emotions make you weak; make you a target. There's more to it than that (why would I stuff good emotions as well?), but my intent really isn't to psychoanalyze the origin of my fear here, but to explore the Biblical Truth to combat it.

So... my fear for Day Nineteen:

I am afraid of revealing my emotions.

It's a real fear... with some valid reasons behind it. History – my history – proves that showing emotions can make you vulnerable. So there's some truth in the fear. But what's the real Truth? Truth with a capital T?

Jesus wept.
(John 11:35)

The Truth wept.

When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.
(Mark 6:34)

The Truth felt compassion.

Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death;
remain here and keep watch with Me."
(Matthew 26:38)

The Truth grieved.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father...."
(John 14:9

The Truth reflected the Father!

The Truth reflected a Father who expressed:
  • Love (John 3:16);
  • Anger (Deuteronomy 1:37);
  • Pity (Judges 2:18);
  • Pleasure (1 Kings 3:10);
  • Laughter (Psalm 2:4);
  • Compassion (Psalm 135:14);
  • Grief (Psalm 78:40);
  • Hate (Psalm 11:5);
  • Jealousy (Exodus 34:14);
  • Joy (Isaiah 62:5).

One of my favorite verses is,
The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
(Zephaniah 3:17)

I love this picture of God. It varies from the mighty warrior, to the gentle lover, to a picture of exuberant celebration. Celebration over me! There can be no question:

The Father is a God of emotion!

Not only that, but:

When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled....
(John 11:33)

God is a God who is moved by emotion.

So what does that say for me?

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness....
(Genesis 1:26)

We also, are made to reflect the Father (and the Son, and the Holy Spirit).

The truth is, like The Truth, we are to show the world something of God; to reflect Him. If I shut down my emotions, then I am not reflecting the Truth. If I portray myself as a logical, unemotional creature, then I do God a disservice. I show God as logical and unfeeling (a Vulcan!). Based on my reflection of Him, He comes off as detached – a God of rules and regulations. But that isn't who God is. God is logical. But He is not solely logical. He is love; He is a God of relationship and emotions. And I... I was created to reflect that.

So I do Him a disservice by suppressing my emotions. But the truth is, I also do myself a disservice.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
(John 12:24)

Because of its hard, protective shell, a grain of wheat can remain intact for thousands of years and not grow. If it is surrounded by the damp earth, though, its protective shell rots. When that protective shell is gone – even in a seed thousands of years old – then the seed will begin to sprout. Once that protective shell is destroyed, then – and only then – is the core released to grow and stretch towards the light.

When the protective shell around my heart is destroyed, I will begin to grow.

I felt hit between the eyes with the implication when I first saw it – on a week when I had run smack into the hard protective shell around my heart. My protective shell keeps me from growing! But then I noticed something that hit me even harder.

Look again at the verse to see this: "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone." I know Jesus is actually talking about the fact that when we die to self and grow, we spread His gospel. But I think there's another, very vital, truth here: As long as there is a cold, protective shell around my heart (like the shell around the grain of wheat), I will remain alone. I may have other people around me, but without knowing my heart, they will not truly know me; they will not be with me. I created that shell to protect myself. But what it really does is keep people out. It keeps me alone.

Without sharing my emotions, letting people in... I will always feel alone.

That is not what God meant for us:

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone...."
(Genesis 2:18)

We were not meant to be alone.

It's not the kind of life Jesus meant for us. Jesus tells us:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
(John 10:10)

Look at the first part of that verse. The thief (satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

If I am killing emotion, I am aligning myself with evil.

Evil wants death. It comes to kill. In suppressing emotion, I am actively working with evil to kill a part of myself – a part that is meant to reflect the Truth; meant to reflect the Father; meant to reflect the Spirit. That is evil's intent – to kill the emotion; destroy the reflection. And I am working with it.

But what is Jesus' purpose?

Jesus came to give life abundant.

The NLT translation puts it this way:

The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

Jesus wants life. And not just any life. Life in all its fullness. And...

A life that is full, is full of emotion!

Father God, I know You are a God of emotion. That part isn't hard for me. What is hard for me is to let You destroy that protective shell around my emotions. But thank you for showing me how poor a reflection I am when I am suppressing the emotions You created in me. Thank you for showing me how I am aligning myself with evil by attempting to kill a part of myself that You created. That said, it's still hard, Daddy. So help me to want it. Help me to realize that, really, it already is what I want. That hard shell doesn't protect me, it keeps me from growing. It keeps me alone. I don't want those things. I want to grow towards the Light. I want to reflect the Light. Thank you for Your Word and Your Truth.

Fear: I am afraid of revealing my emotions.


  • The Truth wept. (John 11:35)
  • The Truth felt compassion. (Mark 6:34)
  • The Truth grieved. (Matthew 26:38)
  • The Truth reflected the Father! (John 14:9)
  • The Father is a God of emotion. (Zephaniah 3:17 and many, many others!)
  • God is a God who is moved by emotion. (John 11:33)
  • We also, are made to reflect the Father (and the Son, and the Holy Spirit). (Genesis 1:26-27)
  • When the protective shell around my heart is destroyed, I will begin to grow. (John 12:24)
  • Without sharing my emotions, letting people in... I will always feel alone. (John 12:24)
  • We were not meant to be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
  • If I am killing emotion, I am aligning myself with evil. (John 10:10)
  • Jesus came to give life abundant. (John 10:10)
  • A life that is full, is full of emotion!


Note: This post is part of a 31-day writing challenge. Click here to see the rest of the posts on my 31 Days of Fear (and Truth).


  1. Emotions are can't trust them, live by them, or make them the lord of life...BUT to kill them isn't right either! We aren't Vulcans! Lol. Love it! Thanks Je

    1. You are so right, Mandi! When researching, I kept coming up with articles on and references to how to reign in out-of-control emotions. And I'd cringe, realizing what I could be enabling. And I think being led by emotion is probably a much more common problem. So part of me hesitated just a bit. I don't ever want to be someone's excuse for letting emotions rule. (I had a similar concern when I did the posts on anger!) But the truth is, this is an area of struggle for me. I err on the side of too much control. And that is just as much of a sin as living out of control. Anyway, I want to thank you for pointing out that we can't be ruled by our emotions, either. I didn't make room for it in my post, but I'm glad it was addressed! :)