I have been on an emotional roller coaster these past two weeks. I’m actually pretty sure someone kidnapped me, knocked me out, buckled me into “The Twister” (the big roller coaster at our amusement park in Denver), woke me up with a jolt, and set the controls to just keep going. Never pull up to stop. I keep passing the “unload” part at sick-making speeds. I’ve been up and down, down and up, upside down (which isn’t exactly part of The Twister, not sure how that happened), and downside up (can you do that? It sounds cool….). All at lightning-fast speed. Talk about making a girl’s stomach slightly unsettled!
The truly hard part is that it’s going on INSIDE me. Escape isn’t happening. Jumping out of the little speeding car going clickety-clack along the tracks is NOT an option.
Two years ago I would have escaped; I would have jumped out of the speeding-bullet little metal car – by reading, or hanging out with friends, or watching TV, or by simply ignoring what I was feeling. I thought emotions were a sign of weakness and got in the way, not to mention were an inconvenience for everyone around me. Thankfully, through several hard lessons and some sweet friends, I learned differently. So this time, I’m choosing not to run from the chaos twisting itself around my heart and innards.
And that’s kinda the point. My emotions have been all over the place for various reasons. Frustration with the kids I teach because they won’t be quiet, exhilarated that they finally get a concept, slightly disappointed that they didn’t get it as solidly as I’d hoped. Basking in the goodness it is to be with friends who just understand you, slightly depressed that some of them aren’t as good as I really need them to be right now. Super frustrated that I’m definitely not as good at being a friend as I’d like to be right now. I’m too spent.
And I’m embracing it all. I’m actually pretty sure God gave us those emotions, and wants us to experience them. Why else would they be hardwired into every human on the planet for the entirety of the history of said planet?
And so I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to run from them, or numb them. I’m not exactly sure the whole point yet, but I think it has something to do with experiencing this wonderful world God has given us. I think our emotions are a reflection of the emotions God feels over us (yes, I believe God has emotions). I think they’re also a reminder that we need God. I think most of our loneliness is our heart’s longing to be connected to God like we were originally intended to be. I think our happiness in the world around us, in the people we surround ourselves with, is a dim reflection of the happiness He feels over us and His creation. I think our frustration with our loved ones is just a mere glimpse of His occasional frustration with us when we refuse to listen to Him. I think the crazy, butterfly-in-your-stomach feeling just barely scratches the surface of what goes on in God when He thinks of you.
So, embrace your emotions. Learn from them. Look for God in them, because He’s there. And, if nothing else, they’re one more thing to share with Him. Run to Him when you’re lonely. Cry into His shoulder when you’re heartbroken. Laugh with Him when you’re happy. Complain to Him when everything is falling apart.
And that’s the rub. You can’t purposefully stay in one single emotion. I have known women who ignore any emotion except happiness. Or being depressed. And that’s not what God intended. He gave us a rainbow of emotions, and it’s not monochromatic (that means one color). You aren’t supposed to stay depressed because you crush dumped you. And you aren’t supposed to make those life-changing decisions in those emotions. So, be wise with these powerful feelings, but don’t ignore them either. See, in each and every emotion you experience, look for God. He’s in all of them. He’s using all of them to draw you to Him.
But, above all, in all, as my theater professor taught me, “Look for the love”. God is love right? So in every bit of this earth, in every bit of this life, in every emotion, is hidden just a bit of love. In your loneliness, in your frustration, in your heartache. In your joy, in your happiness, in your love – find it, embrace it, and thank God for it.
And then keep looking for more.