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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by a staff of ACTS International.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Because We Are What We Are

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."1

Have you ever felt in the pits when a well-meaning friend told you that you shouldn't feel that way? It makes you feel worse. Right? Whether we should or shouldn't feel what we feel is beside the point. We feel what we feel because we are who and what we are.

Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. It's what we do with them that counts. And, contrary to what many of us were taught, feelings are important. They are a God-given vital part of our humanity.

In one sense feelings are an "emotional thermometer." They tell us what's going on inside of us—what our emotional temperature is and, when interpreted correctly, can indicate when we are emotionally well or if there is some issue in our life we need to resolve.

When feelings are repressed, one's "thermometer" is out of order. It's a very unhealthy way to live. You don't even know when you are sick (emotionally and/or spiritually). Furthermore, people whose feelings are repressed may be clever but can, at the same time, be very cold, calculating, insensitive, callous, and—in the extreme—even murderous.

Feelings can be trusted. What we can't always trust is our interpretation of them. That's the difficult part, but with help it can be learned and learn it we must if we are to be emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy.

Learn to listen to your emotions. Take time to write a daily journal. Record what you are feeling without any kind of self-judgment. David did a lot of this in the Psalms. Get into a support, recovery or therapy group where it is safe to express your feelings and get them out into the open where they can be accepted and examined. If emotions are deeply buried, chances are you will need a capable therapist to help you work through and resolve the barriers in your life that are blocking your feelings.

Be aware, too, that the negative emotions we fail to talk out creatively we will inevitably act out in one way or another destructively. Also remember that Jesus never told us how to feel or how not to feel—only how to act.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to get in touch with all of my emotions—both positive and negative—and learn how to express them creatively in a healthy manner so that I will become an honest and real person as David was. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Jesus in Matthew 5:4 (NIV).


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