Emotions: Messengers or Bosses?

by Wilson Adams

“You shouldn’t feel that way!” Really?

Emotions knock on the door of our heart and, try as we might, we can’t turn them away. Good news: that’s okay. Emotions are God-gifts to help us process “stuff”—whether sad, mad, and scared, or glad, happy, and calm. Our emotions display our hearts—whether they be beautiful or broken.  

Emotions make for great messengers but bad bosses. Sadly, many listen only to the messengers and not the Maker. For example, emotion says, “Nobody cares.” God says, “I care” (Psa 8). Emotion says, “I’m mad and I’ll get back at you.” God says, “Be angry and sin not” (Eph 4:26). Emotion says, “I don’t think I can take any more.” God says, “My grace is sufficient” (2 Cor 12:9). Both the human-emotion and the God-answer are real and both involve a process of wrestling resolve. 

It’s okay to be mad, sad, and scared. How you feel is… well, how you feel. The question: what to do with it? The answer is not in extremes. For example, society says to “vent” in an uncontrolled spew of anger. Not okay. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit” (Prov 29:11). Neither is it okay to become numb to wounds and pretend all is okay when it’s not okay. Extremes indicate something inside needs attention.  

Listen, God made you…YOU, a beautiful emotional being. He also said, “Guard your heart, for everything flows from it” (Prov 4:23). Emotions are tricky and we’re all a work in progress. Let’s allow our emotions to serve as messengers that lead us to the Maker, casting all our anxieties on him, because he cares for us.