What, in general, do you do when you experience emotions?
- I push them aside and forge forward.
- I feel helpless and am often stopped in my tracks.
- I sense the opportunity to look at what God’s exposing about me.
- I’m motivated to change and grow.
Emotions expose us. We can feel unmasked. Emotions enhance our experiences, as if a highlighter has illuminated what’s going on in our lives. What do you think of when you think about being exposed?
I think about being on an island. My first thought is of being on the beach. Not the relaxing resort beach where refreshing drinks and snacks are readily available. A deserted beach. The sun is beating down, and there’s little escape if some odd creature or person wants to attack. I’m visible to everyone who is in the area as well as to the elements. I don’t feel safe.
Exposure feels unsafe. It’s unsettling.
I can also feel exposed in the very depths of the island jungle, where the vines and bushes are overgrown and hide the path. It’s a different kind of exposure. It’s exposure to the unknown and uncertainty. I can easily get lost, and I consider what could be lurking in the overgrowth.
Emotions can lead us to depend on God. The small word can is critical, because emotions will not automatically lead us to depend on God.
We can also get bogged down with our emotions. We experience negative emotions and we want to turn them into positive emotions. We experience positive emotions and we want them to last forever. We want things our way, and we usually want them to be easy. But we don’t experience easy emotions, because life isn’t easy. We get uncomfortable, and we want to change. Well, let me rephrase that. We often don’t want to change. We want something to change more than we want to be changed.
Let’s take a look at some changes in Scripture.
God said to Abraham, “I will change the name of Sarai, your wife, to Sarah.” Genesis 17:15
When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart. All these signs came true that day. 1 Samuel 10:9
You changed my sorrow into dancing. You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness. Psalm 30:11
Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. Romans 12:2
Our faces, then, are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings ever greater glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body. Philippians 3:21
Now consider the following:
So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. Genesis 1:27
You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. Psalm 119:13-14
“I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12
That was not because of anything we did ourselves but because of God’s purpose and grace. That grace was given to us through Christ Jesus before time began, but it is now shown to us by the coming of our Savior Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9-10
I hope you recognized this one: God didn’t mess up His design of you.
He’s not capable of messing up. He created you in His image. He has a plan for your life. He even knew what mistakes you’d make throughout your life, and He still loves you and wants nothing more than to be in an ever-deepening relationship with you. He will pursue you – whether you’re not following Him and need to make that decision or you’re following Him marginally or you’re passionate about Him. He designed you for more, and He will pursue you, tapping you on the shoulder, whispering in your ear, and knocking on the door of your heart so that your daily life – including your decisions, attitudes, and yes, emotions – is impacted in the purity of who He created you to be and the everyday messiness of living on earth as you move ever closer to eternity – with God or without Him. Rest assured, God did not mess up His design for you.
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