“You shouldn’t feel that way. They have it a lot worse than you do. You need to be grateful for what you do have.” Have you ever had someone respond to you in such a way when you were trying to share your pain? I have, and it didn’t leave me feeling very good.
I’ve worked hard and long trying to understand healthy emotions. For many years, the teachings that I heard on our emotions were negative. There was hardly any acknowledgement about the healthy side of emotions. Sometimes I struggled unnecessarily due to lack of understanding. Really, I was relieved when I started reading and hearing more about the healthy, important side of our emotions. Yes, God gave them to us and they are not sinful, unless I make them sinful.
Even with this good news of healthy, God-given emotions, I had to learn early the need for controlling them. When we don’t pay attention, we inflict emotional wounds upon ourselves and others. Probably most of us have physical scars with a story. Unfortunately, we may also have emotional scars with a story. Left to ourselves, we would self-destruct, but thanks be to God. He did not leave us alone to figure it all out!
By paying attention to our emotions, we allow the Holy Spirit’s influence upon them. Emotions are powerful for good or for evil. Our feelings fuel our words and actions, creating passion. Passion ignited and mobilized by the Holy Spirit honors God and blesses His people. When emotions are not guided by Him, destruction usually ensues.
So what are you feeling these days? Are they healthy feelings that spur you on to love and good deeds or are they feelings that lead you down a dark path? Either way, keep your feelings before the throne of grace so that you may always find that grace to help in your time of need. Enjoy them and tame them. Both are necessary. The Father created us just the way He wanted us, for His pleasure and our good.
I’m thankful for the resources that NCF provides for life balance, which affects all of who we are. Articles in the Journal of Christian Nursing, Bible studies written for nurses, and blogs are significant ways we can be encouraged to live well-rounded and balanced lives. Why don’t you check out…
--Healing Encounters with Jesus Bible study
--Dealing with Depression Bible study
--Emotional Competence Makes a Difference, JCN article
--Nursing from a Christian Worldview: Being Transformed to Care, JCN article
As you ponder this World Mental Health Day (October 10), please assess and pay attention to your own mental and emotional health. If you’re having difficulties, please seek out help. Know that we care.
Skip McDonald, BSN, ThB, RN, is a Senior Campus Staff member for NCF in Georgia. She has written Bible studies, discipleship curriculum, and a book, And She Lived Happily Ever After (IVP).