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  • Writer's pictureApril Knapp

An Invitation to Embrace Your Feelings


We don’t take them seriously. We mock them to soften their blow. We stuff them, ignore them, and numb them until we can’t even recognize them anymore. We let them explode, take us over, and immediately shame ourselves for not keeping them under control. We categorize them as “good” or “bad.” We fit them neatly into boxes so we can close them in tight and tell ourselves we are unmoved by their powers.

But, what if we were free to just feel?

I often despise my emotions. At some point in my life, I learned the lie that emotions are bad. That lie took root in my soul and convinced me that I needed to change or at least pretend I am not an emotional person.

Today I teared up while listening to “Let It Go” for the umpteenth time. I tear up every time. I painfully relate to Elsa and her struggle to “conceal, don’t feel” and then recklessly let it all go to hellacious eternal winter. I often find myself on one of those two extremes, but, like Elsa, I am learning to embrace my emotions instead of despising them.

God created us to feel, not conceal. Emotions are what make us human; they set us apart from the rest of His creation. How can we call bad what God has created with purpose?

In their book, "The Rest of the Gospel," Dan Stone and Greg Smith explain that God created the spectrum of emotion for a reason:

"Our soul fluctuates between thoughts and feelings we don't like and thoughts and feelings we do like...we try to stop that swing because our soul’s fluctuations are unpleasant to us and it seems as if God wants us to stop them. We think that Christian maturity is getting that swing under control...{but} God designed us on the soul level to be capable of feeling and thinking things that are contrary to spirit reality. Why? Because that is the only way we can learn to live by faith..."

God wants us to experience the whole spectrum of emotions. He never intended for us to hide them, ignore them, or numb them. He created us to feel so that we would run to Him and experience those feelings in His loving and powerful arms. He wants to be our Comforter, our Joy, our Hiding Place, our Strength, our Avenger, our Rock.

God also never intended for our emotions to rule over us. This is why He tells us to not sin in our anger and not to become anxious in our fear. There’s a subtle difference between allowing ourselves to feel strongly and allowing emotions to control us. This is where the Enemy is crafty and whispers half-truths into our hurting souls. The Father of Lies tells us the emotion is the sin, when in reality; it is our response to the emotion that can be sinful. The Accuser shames us for feeling. The Deceiver tells us to get ourselves under control, encouraging us to forget the gospel and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps-without God. So we hide and pretend.

But, his lies don’t end there.

When the hiding becomes too much, we explode and the Enemy shames us more. He tells us we’ll never get it under control. We aren’t strong enough. We might as well throw it all to the wind and give over control to our emotions. No right, no wrong, no rules for me; I’m free.

But, like Elsa, we are not really free. We become isolated, imprisoned by the coldness of shame disguised as empowerment.

We’re only free when we let our emotions fly us into the embrace of Jesus. He makes all the difference between feeling the whole gamut of emotions and letting our emotions take control. One is the gospel. The other is enslavement.

Jesus wants to set your soul free to feel without shame. He is inviting you to experience the ups and downs in His loving embrace. Will you accept His invitation?

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