Friday, August 8, 2014

For Real

Why do we try to cover up our real emotions? Friends, we can't fake happiness. I never much cared for that saying, "Fake it until you feel it". That's not real. God created us intricately. We are woven together with the hands of God. A God who has emotion. 

Can you imagine those six days of creation? How about that seventh day when He rested? Can't you see the glory in His eyes? The wonder? The Hope? Take a trip to the Garden of Eden. He created Adam and Eve to explore their emotions. To express their hearts. To share all between them and to glorify God in everything. To glorify God don't we have to have emotion?

Now, can you imagine the emotion of God when Adam and Eve sinned? Oh mercy, I can imagine the pain God felt. The sadness over the actions of the very people He created. Our emotions are just as a part of us as God is. He created us to feel and to express. 

We can see emotion in the face of a child on their celebrated birthday. On the mother as she holds her newborn son. On the man who just said goodbye to his father. Can you see the emotion on the face of the family waiting for the news on judgement on the one who violently took their loved away? Fear, anger, happiness, joy, love, all of this is an intricate mix of who we are. 

Walk with me as Jesus is being crucified. Do you see the cross? His mother before Him? His friends as they are silently and quickly running away in fear? Do we actually think God felt nothing at this time? He gave His only Son for us. For sinners who would either one day receive Him as Savior or walk all our days of this earth pushing the thought of Him away.  

Can you imagine the emotion in heaven when one person receives Jesus as Savior? We have a God of hope. He is our Redeemer. He too is All-Knowing. He knows our heart better than anyone else. He knows the load we carry. He sees us try to pretend all is great as we share with others just how perfect our lives are. 

Ever receive a Christmas card that has the picture of the perfect family on the front? If that isn't enough you too receive a letter telling you all about the perfectness of just who they are. They share the vacations to Hawaii and all the wondrous goodies about their perfect children. Do we really believe this? How often do we pick up one of those cards and say to ourselves, "I wish my family were like that"? Is that jealousy? I'm not so sure it is. Those emotions we feel are real. Our hearts are tender and breaking at the thought that we are not living out the perfect life that we see before us. But with all certainty, the family on this card isn't so perfect either. They have issues same as us. Their children, all six of them, have troubles of their own. Mom and dad are not so in love anymore. The bills are piling up. Do you ever think as they send off that perfect card that they are hoping that no one really sees who they truly are? 

Why can't we just be real? Why do we feel the need to be fake just so we can impress others? Now, of course when we feel the emotion of anger that doesn't give us the right to go about town screaming at everyone who passes, but when we suppress our emotions that isn't healthy. Are we really doing anyone a favor by being fake? 

I imagine God looking upon His creation with every emotion. Can't you see Him sad, angry, and too gloriously thankful? If we take a look in the Bible we can find the shortest verse. Have any idea what that is? "Jesus wept." John 11:35 Jesus was broken over the death of His friend, Lazarus. Don't you know that Jesus was troubled with all that He had seen and knew was coming? He even called out to His Father for the cup to pass from Him. "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. yet not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39 In reading these words we can feel the emotion of our Savior. He didn't just stuff His emotions down. He embraced them. He shared them with His Father. Through these emotions we see that He wanted to glorify His Father. We don't see God telling Jesus not to feel. We don't see those words in the Bible. We are feel. What's important is what we do with those emotions. We aren't to suppress them. We are to embrace them. Know them. Understand them. In doing so we learn and grow. When we are honest with ourselves we will be honest with our Savior. This is how the world will see our connection with Him. Our relationship with Jesus consists of emotion. We go to Him broken and He takes that brokenness and brings healing. How can we ever feel peace if we first do not openly admit that we are full of fear or anger? 

In Matthew 4:1-11 we see Jesus tempted by Satan. Friends, this world is going to throw everything it has at us. We wake in the early morning expecting to have a wonderfully blessed day, but then the phone rings and we hear news that rocks us to the core. We can't just shut out those feelings. Through our emotions we discover who we are and all that God can do. 

Look at the women in the Bible. Mary and Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, the woman with the bleeding disorder, Euodia and Synthyche, Anna, Dorcas, Hannah, Elizabeth, Miriam, Lydia, Abigail, Priscilla. There are so many women in the Bible who we see with emotion. As women this is one of our gifts. We are able to open up and share with girlfriends. What a gift it is to prayer for another. We are to lift up and encourage each other. We are to inspire others. We can't do this through, "Faking it until we feel it". We can only glorify God when we are real. 

If we are hurting, say so. If we are angry, don't bury it. Later you will only have to exhume it. In walking with peace and joy, we must learn to embrace our emotions. It's when we truly open up and share what we feel with Jesus that He can heal us. If we continue to ignore our emotions how can we ever truly grow in Christ? When we {fake it} we miss out on sharing the Jesus this world needs. They don't need to see us walking around with fake smiles and laughter that all is well. When we suppress our emotions how can we feel the Holy Spirit move within us? Everything becomes confusing. We don't know what we should be feeling and then we lost and alone. 

Emotions are a gift from God intended to compel us to take action. See, we don't want to be ruled by our emotions, but until we confess our true selves we cannot truly find freedom. We don't want to cause harm to others. We don't want use our emotions to manipulate others. But through our emotions we can express a godly attitude and allow the world to see that yes, we feel, we hurt, we bleed, we then can show the world that Jesus takes those emotions and with His grace and mercy, turns them into joy and gladness. He brings healing only when we are able to know we need healed. 

There are times we don't understand what is happening in our lives. Sometimes things just don't make sense. But friends, why not just be real? Why hide our emotions? Hiding our emotions doesn't make us tough. It doesn't make us better Christians. It hurts us, because sooner or later we are going to have to dig up those emotions because our load is only going to grow heavier and heavier. 

The Beatitudes are a perfect illustration of emotion. 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for the will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:3-12

When we embrace our emotions we can embrace the promises of God. Denying our unpleasant emotions also creates in us a numbness. We begin to block out every emotion, even those that are of good. We close ourselves off and soon we are experiencing a life of numb. Friends, let it all go. Dig in and see what's in the heart. What is it that you are feeling today? You don't  have to hide from what you are feeling. Share with Jesus and allow Him the room He needs to bring healing so that your days are filled with joy. So that you can express happiness and enjoy the beauty before you. 

It takes courage to be ourselves. But friends, when we are, the world sees that in our brokenness there is a God who is present. Ever wonder how one gets through the difficult situation they are facing? The world relies upon itself, but Christians rely upon the God that they know personally. Our testimony is valued not in how we pretend all is good, but in how the world sees that in this imperfect world we can still stand and it is only by the grace and strength of God that we make it through each day. There is beauty in emotion.

I used to be that girl who pushed down every emotion. No longer am I that girl. I feel free to be me. To embrace all that I am is to embrace my Jesus who saved me and lives in me today. To feel my emotion allows me to be closer to Jesus and closer to those I love. When I'm real others see that, just as when they see I'm being fake. It's when we are real with ourselves that we make a lasting and powerful impact on this world. 

Jesus is our Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Protector, Provider, Avenger, Refuge, Shepherd, Judge, Rock, and Shield. Friends, we get to know Jesus in these ways not by merely stuffing down our emotions, but by being real with Him. We learn how to react to our emotions when we turn to our Lord. Yes, that means being real. You are not alone. You're not the only one feeling the way you do on this very day. Jesus is in the restoration business.

In order for us to experience this day to the fullest we need to embrace our every emotion and ask of our Savior to guide us, to free us, and use us for His glory. Don't stuff down what your heart is experiencing. Let it be real. Share with Jesus your true self and invite Him to change and heal your heart. Creating in you the person He has called you to be. 

I want to live an {authentic} life. No fake me for the world to see. I don't have to put on a show or be someone I'm not to be accepted. I simply want to be the me God created me to be.


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