The last 5 years have been a journey of discovering my emotions. Several books have helped me wade through them along the way, and I’ll add this one to the list. Because of a conflict that began 5 years ago, I realized with great urgency that I was a stuffer of my emotions. Until my 37th birthday, I felt that emotions were something to be pushed down. Unless of course the emotion was a positive one!
Mother/daughter authors tackle the weighty subject of emotions with a Biblical perspective. One author claimed to be more stoic while the other found herself on the passionate end of the emotive spectrum. We all feel and express emotions in different ways. (From what I have learned on my 5 year extensive journey with emotions, I am realizing how important the formative years are for shaping emotions — good or bad.)
I appreciate that the authors point to God as the giver of good gifts and emotions are one of the good gifts He gives us. Emotions go together with the mind and will. Emotions add color to our relationships and give meaning and depth to our lives. They write, “Stifling our emotions is like marking ‘return to sender’ on God’s good gift.”
In the chapter titled, “Why do I feel this way?” they write, “Instead of asking ourselves, Where idid this emotion come from?…we can ask, What does this emotion tell me that I believe and value?….
Emotions talk, and we should listen. This doesn’t mean we do everything they tell us to do or force other people to acquiesce to our feelings. But it does mean that we pay attention and evaluate what our emotions are telling us. If we ignore our feelings, we will miss out on valuable intelligence about our souls and the people around us. We will stunt our growth in maturity and relationships. But when we listen to what our feelings are telling us and evaluate them, in light of God’s Word, we can grow in godliness.
My favorite chapters were probably the last two. They elaborate on “God’s Purpose in Pain” (to drive us to God) and the last chapter is titled, “Godly Emotions for Life” which points us to be immersed in God’s word and in fellowship with his people. They write:
Often, we spend our emotional energy on trivialities like Facebook, football, or the Goof Network, leaving our souls drained and dry. But Christlike emotions don’t blossom without consistent nourishment from the Word of God…. we should not only read [the Bible] to feel; we should read until we feel.
They recognize the primary way God changes our emotions is through prayer. Contemplative prayer, specifically, has increased my spiritual life and strengthened my emotional life more than anything in these last five years.
This would have been a good book to read in the beginning of my emotional healing journey. I also think this would be a great book for pre-teen/teen girls to discuss in a group.