I knew something had to change. I wanted nothing more than to live for God and bring Him glory. I prayed for His truth to dwell in my heart and let me live with the joy of the Lord.
I put great effort into my spiritual health while ignoring emotional health, not realizing the strong connection between the two. When my emotions didn’t seem spiritually correct, I refused to acknowledge them. After all, why would I feed the monster of sin?
December 31, 2014, I was reeling from financial pressure of putting my daughter through college. I was shaken to the core by situations that never seem to change at work. I was miserable, frustrated and depressed.
Typically, I set myself straight with a private sermon. Don’t grow weary in doing good. (Gal 6:9) Consider others above yourself. (Phil 2:3) Trials bring perseverance and perseverance proven character. (Rom 5:3-5) Set your mind on things above. (Col. 3:2) I can do all things through Christ. (Phil 4:13) I thought I was focusing on the right versus to become the Christian that I thought I should be. The thing was, this time the sermon wasn’t working. I was done dealing with it all. I was emotionally, completely spent.
It’s the perfect place for God to start the real work of healing.
You see, in trying to live for Jesus and have a good Christian witness, I didn’t allow emotions that I believed were bad, specifically anger and sadness. Isn’t there something wrong with our Christian walk if we struggle with these emotions?
I didn’t think I was angry. I knew I was sad, I just felt like my personality was reserved, not giddy like others. Besides, I could overcome it if I just had a stronger faith. In reality, they were emotions I mostly denied and labeled improper for a woman who sought after God’s heart.
So that New Year’s Eve ,when I was completely at the end, I gave myself permission to do something that seemed horrible. I gave myself permission to be bad. I would be angry if I felt angry. I would be as sad as I wanted to be. It was one of the most healing decisions I ever made. Stay with me here, there’s more to the story.
I was utterly shocked at the amount of anger pouring out of me. I was resentful and sad over things that it been taken from me. I was angry that people manipulated and used and then ignored me. Frankly, there were times I was scared to be around myself.
Before you go jumping to conclusions, let me say I did not allow myself to stay there.
Each time one of those ugly emotions showed up I talked to God, verbalizing whatever I was feeling. God, this person just tore my work to shreds. It makes me feel terrible and I’m mad they don’t care enough about me to treat me better. God, I’m hurt and angry. And right now I am choosing to give you this anger. I am choosing to give you this hurt. Take it Lord it’s too much for me I give it to you.
The healing miracle began
I had no idea how much I had not given to Jesus. I consistently confronted and confessed and the anger melted away. God replaced it with a tender strength that could only come from Him.
God replaced my wounds with his identity. He removed my pain with His love.
So throughout 2015, God and I kept at the process. As I verbalized God, I give this to you. I felt the weight lift from my soul. My spirit began to take on life and buoyancy.
This New Years Eve I sat alone in the quiet, the same as a year ago, but nothing was the same. Now I was filled with thankfulness for God’s journey of healing. God has shown me so much love. I have a long way to go, but, oh, how far God has brought me.
Through giving myself permission to be bad, I see His good. He’s making me into His best.
I want to encourage you. If you have feelings that you think are bad, God doesn’t want you to disregard them. They are tools for growth. They reveal where we need to go deeper into healing.
God is big enough to take those bad feelings from you. He loves enough to never shame us. Telling God about them is not a surprise to him. If you’re like me though, it will be a surprise to you where it takes you.
You have permission.
Latest posts by Linda Gibbs (see all)
- I Gave Myself Permission To Be Bad - January 19, 2016
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i love this giving ourselves permission to feel our emotions, instead of casting them aside believing we’re being brave. because you’re right, we won’t grow if we ignore how we feel. thank you Linda
I think we are much alike my friend. I tend to stuff down negative emotions. I know it’s safe for me to be honest with God about them, and much healthier!
Elizabeth, I didn’t realize I was stuffing. I was trying to focus on the biblical and Christian perspective to rise above. Problem was rising above simply meant I was walking on that foundation because I couldn’t take it to the cross. I know you are a fervent heart and God will always honor that.
You are so right! Sharing and giving our emotions to God is so healing! What a blessing that we have a Father who welcomes our honest and very human prayers!
Joan, Oh, mine are all too human. Good thing we have the example of David in the Psalms to alleviate our fear of not doing it right. Glad you are able to take everything to God and know his healing.
This is wonderful — honest and healing! So often believing women become expert stuffers, thinking that this is what God wants them to do. Thank you for demonstrating so clearly that God can handle our emotions — He can heal our hurts, and we don’t accomplish anything by hiding them.
So glad to have found your words here today!
Michele, I pray these words from my fumbling experience can encourage you to let God hear everything. He already knows. I can’t tell you what a change it made in my life. I pray the same for you.
Such freedom here – giving all those negative emotions over to God! I feel the stress rolling right off my shoulders after reading this. Thank you Linda!
Ellen, I’m on worship team and spent so much time singing all these songs about being free and wondering why it is so hard for Christians to be free. Well, much of it is not seeing with clear vision and not knowing being Christian means it is alright to let our faults out. That is when they bind us. Yes, keep at it friend. The weight continues to lift.
Thank you, Linda, for this heartfelt post. I greatly appreciate your transparency. It’s so serendipitous, because we were just talking today in women’s ministry at church, about how God, Himself, is emotional and how He longs for us to express our emotions to Him. When we withhold negative emotions, they often fester and become sin and roots of bitterness in our lives. It’s far better to give them to God. He knows them anyway. I have found a journal to be a wonderful means of expressing emotion; there is something about writing which encourages cathartic release of our feelings. Thank you again for sharing, and I’m so glad that God has brought healing to your inner life.
Lynn, I say YES and AMEN. Emotions never die and if we don’t speak them, they will show themselves in other ways. People will act out what they will not say. In that light it is a much more loving process to speak unfiltered to God. It softens our edges and makes our heart tender because when we give up the emotions we are making room for HIM. Lead the way, Lynn. We women need more realness to bring closeness.
Teresa, thank you. I hope you will join me on the journey of seeing the un-pretty places point to where God wants to heal and every emotion is valid as long as we continually take them to God. Blessings to you.
You are very kind, Linda. I’m not much of a leader, but I’m a lover of women and of wearing my heart on my sleeve. We do need transparency to bring women closer together. I think one of the biggest problems in the Church today is that we fear revealing our pain and what we really feel. So we stuff our feelings and our identities. You are just so right. Yes, it’s about letting God know about our emotions, but each other too. I so appreciate all you have said here Linda! You keep leading.
Thank you very much for this. To know that we can give our emotions to the Lord, is a great relieve. I just found this blog, will be spending more time around here. Thanks again. 🙂
Oh! Linda! Bravo! How many times do we have to stuff down our feelings until Jesus says, “Give them to Me.”? You got it right and appreciate you telling it like it is. Appreciate you. Chris