By Amanda Lewis
As I sat in the office of a friend and mentor, talking about my future and the decisions I would have to make, I began to feel overwhelmed by emotion, and I started to cry. Actually it was not just crying, but rather weeping, sobbing, bawling. I remember at first trying too hard to hold it back, not wanting to show how deeply this was affecting me. Thoughts of insecurity and fear popped up in my mind briefly, but reminding myself who I was with and that she knew exactly how I felt was enough to banish those thoughts, and with her encouragement I let myself cry. As weird as it may sound, it was one of the best cries I have ever had. It was a mix of emotions that I had been bottling for the past several years. It was an honest and vulnerable cry. It was me releasing feelings of doubt and hurt and pain and passion. It was a good cry. And my friend sat there and held me and spoke truth and prayed for me, and I knew that it would be okay.
I often tell people pretty soon after I meet them that I am an emotional person. I cry a lot. Somehow a lot of conversations I have at some point comes back to a story where I was crying for one reason or another. I think it takes people off guard how open I am about how often I cry. People don’t talk about things like that. We tend to want to hide the tears, hide the emotions. Somehow our society has come to see crying as a sign of weakness, and yet crying is still associated mostly with children or women. “Women cry a lot.”
“Women are too easily overcome by emotion.”
“Women are too fragile.”
“They are weak.”
These are lies. We were created to feel deeply about things, by a God who feels deeply. One of my favorite verses is also the shortest verse in the Bible; John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Not only was Jesus fully God, he was fully man. A man with emotions just like us. That thought brings me comfort. He is not just our God who we should love and respect, but we can rest in the fact that he loves and feels deeply for us.
I work with the youth at our church, and one of the most common things I see are students who are being controlled by strong emotions. This is a hard period for these kids, because they are entering a time in their lives where they feel more than they have ever felt before. They have a cocktail of hormones inside them and they don’t really know what to do with it. They feel these emotions; anger, joy, sadness, jealousy, fear, and it can overwhelm them. It overwhelms them to the point where they are not expressing those emotions in a healthy way. They go too far in relationships, they hurt others, they hurt themselves.
We see this happen beyond adolescence as well. It is easier sometimes to just let the emotions take you away, instead of being honest and open with them. Sometimes instead of being overwhelmed by emotion, we choose to not feel at all. We stuff those feelings down deep, so that we don’t have to deal with them. The problem here is that eventually you have stuffed too much, and it overflows.
We must always remember our Creator, who gave us these emotions not to overwhelm us, but so that we can experience life in Him. It is a testament to God that we have these emotions in the first place. He made us so complicated and beautiful. He created us to feel so deeply, and that is wonderful.
Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
He created us exactly how he wanted, emotions at all. You are beautiful, because that is how God made you.
Remember that our God feels emotions too. We see countless stories in the Bible where God shows righteous anger, but we also see so many times where He shows love. The biggest example of this is sending us Jesus; fully man and fully God. Full of human and Godly emotions. He is our example, the one we look to. We can rejoice and know that it is not bad to feel emotions like sadness or anger, but to not let those things control us.
My prayer for you is that you embrace your emotions. Embrace the complexity of your nature, and praise God for the way he made you, and the way He loves you.