“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When my wife and I had our son Noah, we tried our best to find activities to engage him in that would be edifying and safe. One of the programs we found on Netflix was a show called Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. It was a modern iteration of a program I loved as a child, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Both shows focus on establishing good values and self-awareness for children. And while watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, I think I may have learned more than Noah. In one of the episodes, the main lesson was that it was good to allow yourself to experience and feel your emotions. The song that the characters were singing was “It’s okay to feel sad, sometimes. Little, by little, you’ll feel better again.” The simplicity of the song helped me to see that this permission to feel was indeed what I wanted both for my son and for myself.
In his book The Emotionally Healthy Church, Peter Scazzero writes, “In neglecting our intense emotions, we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God. We forget that change comes through brutal honesty and vulnerability before God.” For a long time, I would tell myself that feelings were bad, and that I needed to suppress them in order to be a good Christian person. But, I’ve learned that acknowledging and feeling my emotions helps me to have the wherewithal to be clear about the areas that I need Christ to redeem and restore, so that I can find rest. Emotions aren’t a bad thing, but it is important to be emotionally healthy.
In order to trust in the Lord with all of your heart, you need to give Him all of your heart. Sometimes, we have a tendency to explain away certain emotions and feelings that we have, believing that they have no place before God. We need to be aware of and healthy in our emotions. He wants all of us, and we need to trust that He is big enough to redeem and restore the places that need healing and wholeness in our lives.
Are there parts of your heart that you withhold from God at times?