When I was growing up I prided myself on not crying in front of other people, this was something I was not supposed to do. I fact, my mother told me not to cry, period. She got that from her mother who was British and grew up believing that it was important to "keep a stiff upper lip." Many of us were raised being taught to hide our feelings, and many church cultures taught us that handling things with grace meant not allowing our feelings to be a part of things. While relying on our feelings can certainly guide us the wrong direction, that doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to acknowledge what we feel and let ourselves feel our emotions.
Why else would we be created as emotional beings? We were created in the image of God. Jesus wept (John 11:35.) Jesus got angry and turned tables over in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13.) We also see several examples of God expressing a lot of emotion toward us from Heaven throughout the Bible. The truth is if we don't allow our feelings, they don't go away-- they sink deeper inside of us and gain more control of us and our lives.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. ~ Proverbs 14:13
The worst things happen when emotions build up inside and then explode, like a cork popping out of a bottle. God wants us to express our feelings; he wants us to be real. More accurately, He wants us to bring them to Him.
For years I wore a mask, hiding what I was really feeling. I had people convinced I could handle anything. Inside, I was suffering. I kept my feelings at a distance and was not touch in touch with them. In fact the first time I sat down and actually talked about my feelings, I had trouble identifying them. It wasn't anyone's fault. There are so many people who believe that it is right to keep our feelings to ourselves.
For me those days are now gone. I believe God wants me to be real. I struggle to do that with grace, and I pray about it regularly. But when people see my Christianity, they see the real thing; that it is okay to not be perfect and that He loves us anyway. He wants us to come Him as we are; He is the potter and we are the clay. I am a work in progress and always will be on this side of heaven, we all are. He sees me as I will be when He is done with me, and it still amazes me that my God cherishes and treasures me.
It helps me so much to know that I don't have to hide my emotions anymore. Even when I get angry, I have learned that it is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be dealt with right away so the enemy doesn't have a way in.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. ~Ephesians 4:26-27
God is so good, sometimes I think people don't realize how good. Thank you Lord that you made us with emotions and You help us with them. Thank you that joy does come in the morning!
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. ~Psalm 30:5