As Christians, we are often told how we should feel or not feel. We’re supposed to always be happy, content, and loving. We’re not supposed to feel angry, hurt, afraid, discouraged, or disillusioned. In fact, if you dare to express doubts, you may find your faith is quickly questioned. So we paste on our plastic smiles and pretend our lives are going just great. Or if we do let on we are having problems, we end our story with a long-suffering sigh and smile assuring our listeners that this is all for a purpose and everything will turn out fine
The problem is this isn’t real or honest. Pretending doesn’t make our pain or discomfort go away. Life hurts sometimes. Bad things happen to everyone. Things don’t always go the way we hoped they would. People disappoint us. We get mad, scared, and discouraged. We question what’s real and right.
We are human beings with a full range of emotions. There’s nothing wrong with this! Where do you think those emotions and feelings came from anyway? God gave them to us! We are, after all, created in His image. And we read in the Bible of God getting angry (righteously so, of course), and He is even described as jealous. One could say Jesus was very disillusioned with the religious system of His day, and He questioned and pushed against the status quo all the time.
Not only are feelings (the full range from happy to painful) a part of being a normal healthy person, honesty about our hurt or discontent can be a really good thing. We feel pain, physical or emotional, in our body when something isn’t right or isn’t fitting. We have to acknowledge that pain before we can begin to do anything about it.
So the next time you’re feeling things that fall a bit short of happily-ever-after, instead of medicating your pain or putting on a false face, remember:
It isn’t wrong to feel, even “negative” emotions
- It’s okay to feel disillusioned or offended or to disagree
- God would rather we be honest with ourselves and with Him than live a lie (hey, we’re not fooling Him anyway!)
- Being uncomfortable is a normal part of change and growth
- Acknowledge what isn’t working and learn from it
- Let the hunger or discontent lead you to something better
Reference: From the Outside Edge