What does that word stir up inside of you? For me, it’s fear. Fear that stems from feeling as if the invitation to an emotion—either mine or someone else’s—will result in a lack of control. Can you say a sister needs help? Raising my hand over here.
I often find myself ignoring emotions that come my way. I look at my phone, see a text message from a friend, and think, that is too much emotion for today.I watch an episode of This Is Us, and push back the tears, the thoughts, the feelings. It’s too much today. I hang up from a phone call with my mom who shared about a hurting family member. I stare blankly and try to decide whether or not I want to process the information she shared. I move on. It’s too much today.
I am not proud of this “emotion dilemma” I am sharing with you today. It’s real though. You see, I know that turning off emotions leads to a hard heart and a heavier load. I know not opening up and sharing with others means I have to deal with it at some point and, probably, alone.
For me, the posture I take on most days that puts emotions on the sidelines is busyness. We all go through what seems like entire seasons of expedited movement. You know what I’m talking about. Times when it seems like everything is in fast motion. Maybe it’s a year of moving to a new city or apartment or a new job or a new relationship or college or family matters or work decisions or community commitments. And on and on. We often fill our days to the point that we don’t have any more room in our brains to think or feel about anything or anyone else. And it just takes too much of our time and energy.
I’m sure you are like me and have been in seasons of “fullness” where life moves way too fast. It’s in those times I find myself making that choice to ignore emotions that come my way. I definitely say no to tears. To even listening to something that might lead to tears. I don’t have the time or the mental space for that person who comes with emotional baggage. When the small thoughts that say back awaytake over, I find myself giving in to them and pushing back all emotional involvement.
I keep a ready list of “reasons” aka “excuses” in my mind, giving me the freedom to decline emotions.
I don’t have time.
I don’t feel the way they do.
I can’t connect with them.
I don’t have the answers for them.
I don’t want to feel weak by crying.
I feel like I need to be a rock.
I’m better at listening than responding.
I don’t like physical touch.
The list goes on.
So, I back away from people, emotions and invitations because I think I can’t deal with them. I believe the lie that I can’t handle the emotions that come with connecting with people.
Keep in mind, not all of these emotions are heavy. Many are sweet feelings of care, praise, and celebration with the people that I love.
But, I swipe left and ignore the notification.
I know emotions are meant to be felt. And they have a purpose.
When we close ourselves off to people, we can close ourselves off to God.
God loves us. God loves His people. And I believe that God loves it when we are connected with Him and His people. His people are our people. God often uses His people to speak to us. He invites us into the hearts of people that He is changing daily.
Today, I feel like God is whispering:Lean in, child. Emotions are the place I can meet you, speak truth over you, feel close to you, and connect with you.
I have been guilty of being so focused on the jobs that are in front of me that I lost sight of everything and every person around me. We have to believe this: God has something for me in this season and I do not want to miss it. We have to ask ourselves: What does God want me to sit in now?
I want my life — my heart — to be focused on what God is doing in me and around me in all seasons. Especially when things are moving fast. I want to choose to invite my emotions — including people, places, and things—into my life. I want to lean into what God is doing here and now. I want that for you too.
Keep the invitation open. Click on the notification – the text message from an old friend, the phone call from a family member, the person walking on the street. Allow yourself to be interrupted. Look around at the people, places, answered prayers, conversations and events that you see God’s hand in. Write down what God is revealing to you.
Let’s not ignore what God is doing in our hearts.
Friends I write to you today a changed human. I’ve learned that life looks so different when I lean into the emotion God stirs, in me. I now find myself tearing up over a cup of coffee, a short phone conversation, a story, and more. When we open our hearts to see God in all areas of life, God will bless our efforts by showing us the beauty of others.
My hope is that you can soak in the things that God is doing in the here and now, not just the activities, but lean into how you feel. It’s worth it to bring others with you into your here and now. God is always preparing us for what’s next. By accepting and soaking up our here and now, we are getting ready for our then and there.
I want to share a few verses of encouragement so that you don’t miss out on what is happening right now in your life.
Keep in step with the Spirit: Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23 (ESV)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Love in Action: Romans 12:9 (NIV)
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
Power in Love: 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Follow His Directions: Psalm 119:5-8 (MSG)
“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.”
P.S. Hear my heart, please. Emotions are not always truth. You must align your thoughts and feelings with what God says in His Word. Trust me, you will feel with and relate to the people in the Bible more often than not. And you will know what God says about you is good and true.
Court Kruger is a dreamer and a creative. She’s a member of Team LO. Fueled by community, creativity and coffee, she spends her days moving the mission of Team LO through social media and graphic design. Court is passionate about encouraging other women in truth and love, and she loves celebrating small and big moments of life with handwritten cards.
Follow Court on Instagram @courtkruger