Feeling Moody? No Worries!
by Commissioner Raemor Pobjie, Zonal Secretary for Women's Ministries, South Pacific and East Asia
Is it okay to feel anger, fear, stress, depression or sadness? Since such emotions are considered to be so negative, is there something wrong with me or with my emotional health if I experience them?
Commissioner Raemor Pobjie
The good news is that strong emotions should be expected. They are as much a part of our humanity as the strength, or weakness, of our physical body.
When we give ourselves permission to admit and express our feelings openly, our emotional health is improved. But when we deny our feelings, we injure ourselves. We need the support of others. When we receive understanding and encouragement from trusted people, it helps us. And then, we see more clearly that God is a God of grace.
To experience negative emotions is healthy; to ignore them isn't. So, how do we deal with our emotions in a mature way?
Certainly we should avoid the danger of giving in to any feelings of guilt and beware of the temptation to blame our spirituality. Experiencing strong emotion is reality. Our powerful feelings are simply normal, unpredictable forces that are part of our frail humanity.
Psalm 139 gives us a clear understanding of changing moods and conflicting emotions. The psalmist reminds us that we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'. We are intricate beings. We are vulnerable to forces outside of ourselves - hormonal cycles and changes within easily upset the balance of our emotional wellbeing.
Suddenly the mood of the psalm changes. The psalmist blatantly expresses his honest feelings and does not try to hide or deny them. He actually asks God to 'slay the wicked'! 'Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate you? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies' (Psalm 139:21-22 21st Century King James Version).
These are intense words revealing strong feelings! At times I wish I could leave out verses 19 to 22. The sentiment is so 'raw' so 'not nice'. It does not seem to fit into the eloquence of the rest of the psalm. But it is real! The psalmist allows himself to be human.
Having 'spilled the beans' and honestly poured out his true feelings, he deals with them. He opens himself to God's searching eye and admits he needs God to guide him. 'See if there's anything in my life you don't like. Help me live in the way that is always right' (Psalm 139:24 New International Reader's Version).
Presenting my true feelings to God and others is so important this psalm confirms it! In being honest with myself and by sharing the thoughts driven by my emotions with others, I deal with my strong emotions in a healthy way.
It is good to seek the support of trusted friends who can guide me; God wants me to tell him all of my feelings as he understands me completely. And through it all, his Spirit comforts me, counsels me and helps me live in a way that is right.