Emotional: why our emotional state doesn’t have to dictate our fate

Emotional doesn’t begin to describe how I’ve felt over the last few months. It’s been a roller-coaster ride, with frequent dipping low to ground.

During my dark season of the soul, I struggled to write, feel creative or be encouraged. Ironically, it also coincided with self-publishing my book.

Talk about bad timing. 🙁 It was accompanied by guilt for feeling this way as a blood-bought, born-again daughter of God.

As an encourager, I felt adrift, and anxious about how to help others when I was so discouraged myself.

When I listened too intently to my emotions, life felt pretty grim, devoid of joy and peace. I struggled to find myself in the maelstrom, never mind see where God was in all of this.

Am I suggesting we shouldn’t be in tune with our mental state? Not at all. It’s how we experience the rich variety of feelings at our disposal, and a means of discerning deep desires that aid us in shaping purpose and plans.

But we’re not meant to live in a constant state of emotional lability and overwhelm, nor to be numb to all that’s going on around and inside us.

Balance is the key thing. Knowing what is ‘normal’ for us is useful, too, in discerning the way ahead. Excessive grief, despair and discouragement could be warning signs of incipient depression, requiring medical care and attention.

Positive emotions are different. We feel energised. Hope flares brighter. Love flows more smoothly and joy is a natural way of being.

I think that joy and sorrow can coexist as partners in the way they interweave and interact together, pulling us toward God, whether in praise or seeking comfort.

“Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven…look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I’ve been learning that our wounds – pain, grief, sorrow – are also our deepest source of spiritual growth, if we let them teach us the lessons they bring.

emotional wounds WOJ and ACW

The very things we want to run away from could be a means of grace, drawing us closer to Christ Click To Tweet

NOTE –  I hesitated to share this word because it was birthed during a particularly painful season of the soul that I am only just beginning to come out of. However, authenticity has been the hallmark of my work as a writer, so here it is. My hope and prayer is that you will see the seeds of hope and encouragement hidden within, because our emotional state has much to teach us as we yield to the lessons it brings.

**To read the rest of this post, please click here and come and join me at the Association of Christian Writers (ACW), ‘More than Writers’ blog where I am sharing my words today.** Thank you

16 Comments

  1. Joy, I am so glad you shared your vulnerable heart today. You are an encouragement to me because of the Grace of God that is working through you, even in the hard places: especially the hard. I so appreciate this thought: “The very things we want to run away from could be a means of grace, drawing us closer to Christ” because I keep finding that so true in my own life. I am so new at this Blogging-World, and it seems like almost every time I begin to write out a new post, my biggest thought is just to run away & not face the hard thoughts. But God uses His Words that He gives me, and I am touched myself in the sharing: GRACE. I hope the Lord brings you great JOY today, along with the sorrow of the moments. *HUGS*

    1. Bettie, you encourage my heart tremendously with your kind words. I let out a sigh of relief when I read them! Being extra vulnerable tends to make me feel rather raw for a while, because I tend to buy into the enemy’s lies and convince myself that nobody will read or be helped by the words I share. I’ve just gone over and read your post. It’s a beautiful story and a great testimony of God’s goodness and grace. You may feel new on the blogosphere, but it doesn’t show at all. I’ve subscribed to your blog because I love the way you write! And I can truly relate to this: “God uses His Words that He gives me and I am touched myself in the sharing:GRACE.” Thank you for reading, responding so sweetly, and reminding me why we do this. It’s all about grace as we trust God to use our words for the benefit of others, and He turns and blesses us in the process. How cool is that?! Big *HUGS* returned to you, friend!

  2. I’m sorry it’s been such an emotional roller coaster for you recently, Joy, but thanks for sharing so openly. I have been there too and it is a fine balance in listening to what our emotions are trying to tell us without letting them overwhelm us. I agree that our wounds are often the greatest source of spiritual growth and that when we unwrap the sorrow and sadness there are often blessings to be found. I love the Casting Crowns song you shared too.

    1. Carly, thank you so much for your encouragement, understanding and support. I wish life had been otherwise for you, too, my friend. Emotional roller-coaster rides are ones we long to end and crave to get off. May you also find the hidden blessings within the hard you experience. I’m glad you liked the Casting Crowns song. It’s a favourite of mine. Blessings and hugs.

  3. Joy, thank you so much for sharing this so bravely and honestly from the wounded tender places we so often try to bandage or prettify for the world.
    Your words are precious. You are precious beyond words.

    1. Joyce, I often wish I had a prettier story to tell, because sitting with inexplicable sadness is not a nice place to be. My impatient soul strives to break free from months of what feels like persistent SAD symptoms. Although those “wounded, tender places we so often try to bandage or prettify for the world” (as you so beautifully express it) are areas of awareness that can open a door to greater understanding and pave a way for others to say, “You too?” Thank you so much for taking the time and using up precious energy to send a reply to me. I really appreciate it, and you, too. YOU are “precious beyond words”, lovely friend. Xox

  4. Thank you so much for posting the authentic you, Joy. It makes us feel more understood and encouraged when you share those down times, too. That heavy weight of emotions can sure sink us down, can’t it? It can be so hard to get our feet back on solid ground. I’m so sorry it has been more difficult lately. The fatigue that comes with chronic illness makes it even harder to grasp positive thoughts. Hang onto that thought that through it all God is growing you more into His likeness. Praying Jesus will carry you through! Hugs!

    1. Trudy, you truly bless and lift my spirits with these reassuring words: “It makes us feel more understood and encouraged when you share those down times, too.” Oh good – (sighs with relief)! That’s the whole reason why I bite back my own sense of shame and refuse to drown in weak-kneed vulnerability, because helping and encouraging others, as well as pointing them toward Jesus, is my goal and purpose as a writer. You’ve also discerned one of the major causes for my low mood – increasing fatigue and pain stemming from living with long term chronic illness. Growing into Christ-likeness is a deep foundational process and there has been some serious, unsettling, unearthing going on over the last few months. Thank you so much for offering an insightful, fresh perspective! I’m so grateful for you, friend. Blessings and hugs! Xx

  5. Thank you once again, Joy. I am one of the ones who would say, you to?! I think we need to be more open and honest about our struggles. Paul told us in 1 Thess. to encourage our brothers/sisters! I believe we as women are more prone to sad times and mood changes due to our hormones…especially as we transition and lose those ones that help to keep us calm! I know it has been really hard for me! Thank you for your honesty, Joy.

    1. Brenda, your words are sweet soul solace to me. As Christ followers, we are a family as well as a body of believers, so being open about our struggles should come naturally. It doesn’t pay to hide or pretend to be stronger than we are; it actually frees others up to see that it’s okay to admit their human weakness and need of help sometimes. That way, we have opportunity to be strong for one another, offering prayerful and/or practical support as God gives us grace to do so. These emotional struggles are not unique to women, of course, but they are definitely something we are more prone to than men. Our hormones have a lot to answer for, don’t they?! Thank you so much for letting me know you can relate to this, sharing your own struggles here and helping me to have the courage and confidence to write about my own. Bless you, friend.

  6. Bringing our emotions to the light is also bringing us to healing. And to understand that our emotions do pass and fluctuate, lets us be authentically ourselves which gives permission for others to also be authentic. Thanks for sharing your authentic, vulnerable self.

    1. Lynnn, I love what you say here: “Bringing our emotions to the light is also bringing us to healing.” Yes, indeed, especially as we bring them to the Light of Christ’s presence and His ability to heal and restore all that is flawed and broken. Thank you for seeing the positive side of sharing authentically. It helps enormously. Bless you for being here. 🙂 x

  7. Such a beautiful post, Joy. I clicked through to read the whole thing. “I think that joy and sorrow can coexist as partners in the way they interweave and interact together, pulling us toward God, whether in praise or seeking comfort.” I totally agree with you here as I’ve experienced joy and sorrow at the same time. Your words are inspiring! Oh, and I subscribed to your blog. 🙂 Blessings! xo

    1. Gayl, I so appreciate you leaving a comment at the ACW blog and over here. Thank you for reading and returning to let me know how it resonated with you. I’m blessed to have your company on the journey, my friend. Welcome to Words of Joy! 🙂 Xo

  8. Thank you, Braveheart, for sharing your deepest struggles. I’m afraid of my feelings sometimes, because I know they are fickle and fallow. Your words have given me the courage to unpack them alongside God’s truth. To shine light into the dark places, leaving only the pure and worthy things exposed. Blessings, my friend.

    1. Dear June, I’m not sure if I qualify to be called ‘Braveheart’ because I ache and quake inside before sharing such things. Like you, I am afraid of my feelings sometimes, because they are fleeting, fickle and often full of pain. Yet I am slowly learning to let them teach me things as I examine them in the light of God’s word and ask Him to reveal their often hidden source. Then the new awareness helps with the healing process. I also desire that “only the pure and worthy things” are left exposed as any dross is burnt away by God’s laser-light of grace. Thank you for your gracious response, my friend. I’m humbly grateful to have been a means of giving you the courage to unpack your own feelings. Have a blessed weekend.

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