Are emotions an emergency? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Let’s just say I had a rough weekend. I was working with my company to get my health insurance and when I told them I was going through a divorce and wanted to see a psychiatrist, they agreed to speed it up. I have an appointment today and should get something. I have been told by some that I could use something in this time to help regulate my emotions while actively doing therapy. Thankfully, most Christians no longer have a problem with this.
Anyway, they needed to see how the divorce process was and so I contacted my former mother-in-law who sent me a photo of the document showing that it was a done deal. It wasn’t new information, but it was still painful. It was a way of reality setting in. Yep. I am officially divorced.
Officially abandoned, betrayed, rejected, undesired by her, etc. So many negative statements receive verification at that point.
Add in that shortly after that, I see a Christian couple in my line with a son and they share a long kiss of love before they get to me. I know they’re Christian because they’re talking about the Bible and when I ask them when they get to me, they’re talking about how husbands and wives are to treat each other. Oh, we talk about that, but my mind is still thinking about the kiss. I miss it. I miss those kisses and where they could lead and everything.
I come back from lunch and I’m depressed about it and one of my managers asks me what I’m down about and I talk about the divorce being final and wondering why I’m not more appealing. I mentioned all the things I don’t do which included porn to which she was absolutely stunned. When it came up with the other managers, they were stunned too. No condemnation of me, and all the people talking there were women, but for some reason, I felt like an outsider still. I found myself being tempted thinking about everything and that temptation seemed hard to resist, until sometime yesterday it just died and everything is back to normal.
Fortunately, I also had a good talk with my pastor about this and he is praying for me. Several friends are praying I will get a fulfillment of Proverbs 18:22. I long for that too.
Yet as I thought about the time, I also thought that we have a hard time with emotions in the church. I am reading books on Kindle on managing anxiety and depression. One of the statements I see is that these are not problems in themselves. Some anxiety can be good as it can alert us to danger. I think some anxiety is sinful, but I’m not convinced all of it is. As for depression, some of it can be sinful, but not all of it I think is. I think sometimes we should be depressed about some things.
One of my friends put it well. One different friend had said tomorrow will be better. A month from now will be better. A year from now will be better. I said I agreed, but today just sucked. The friend who put things well (And to be fair, my other one did too) said “What would suck is if it didn’t suck.”
True enough. I think it would be twisted if I threw a party celebrating that she is gone from my life. I happen to think if you promise love, you should do just that, even if the other person wants nothing to do with you. I still want the best for her and hope that nothing bad happens to her. This is not to say I am never experiencing anger towards her or wanting justice, but by and large, I realize the negativity does me no good.
Sometimes in the church, if someone is sad, we act like that has to be taken care of. As I think about it though, I don’t think Scripture tells us to cheer up those who are sad. It tells us instead to mourn with those who mourn. This is not to say to never provide cheer, but sometimes, just mourning is good enough.
Yes. I am sad. I am uncertain about the future. I sometimes wrestle with temptation. I sometimes get anxious about where I am going in my life. What if all of this is just part of the normal Christian life and I just accept that? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that the temptation we face is common to man. I remember Father Barnabas at the Orthodox Church talking about being at retreats for teenagers and hearing young men say “Father. I’m struggling with lust.”
Join the club.
Last I checked, that’s nearly every man out there in existence who struggles with that. What? Do I think I am too good to be tempted to have my mind wander when I see a beautiful woman? If anything, there has to be some level of desire or else a relationship will never get off the ground. It’s normally said that looks aren’t everything, but they do tend to open the door.
Am I depressed? Yes. It could be worse if I wasn’t. Am I concerned about my future? Yes. Then let that push me to make it better. Am I not happy with my situation now? Sure. Then let me push to make it better.
Sadly, I do tend to dwell on the emotion and the strangest thing, that never seems to work. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but before I go to bed in the evening, I get out my Nintendo Switch and set a timer and play for ten minutes. For those ten minutes, I do tend to forget about the emotion and I do get to experience some joy. That’s one reason being at work can be hard for me. I have nothing to distract me sadly.
If I treat my emotions as an emergency however, I am only going to make them worse. If you water a plant, it will grow bigger. If I feed an emotion with panic, it will get worse. I’m trying to say now that I’m any number of things. Maybe I’m depressed. Maybe I’m anxious. Maybe I’m angry with God even. That’s okay. As long as I handle those things maturely and properly, that’s fine. As for anger with God, heck, it’s all in the Psalms. It’s not like I can fool Him anyway.
So for now, things aren’t okay. That’s okay. They will get better, but today, they’re allowed to be miserable. Only one thing is the end of the world and that’s the end of the world. For everything else, I have my God and I have my friends to support me.
Thank you, fellow travelers.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)