I’m afraid that followers of Jesus are being discipled in the Elsa school of emotions rather than the David school.
When I first saw Frozen way back at Thanksgiving of 2013, the song “Let it Go” got stuck in my head. It makes perfect sense why it was an overnight sensation that was parodied and referenced and cashed in on a billion times. The music is catchy and the lyrics describe a generation.
So many followers of Jesus grew up in conceal, don’t feel environments. Maybe they were told to go to their rooms so they could get it together and not scare away the house guests. Maybe they were told that men don’t cry. Maybe they were told that following Jesus means counting it all joy when you face trials and the application of that truth meant being happy all the time and not acknowledging other pains. I don’t know exactly what it looked like for you. But maybe you can relate to the above statements.
So many followers of Jesus attend conceal, don’t feel churches. With K-Love bumping too and from church, the meet and greet time is full of plastered smiles and trite proclamations of how good one’s week was. We get a quick little Bible lesson that is nothing more than the American Dream in a choir robe. You depressed? Well, you’re welcome here but we’re gonna wonder what’s wrong with you and tell you to just go to a counselor. You doubting God? Well, you’re welcome here but we’re gonna wonder why you don’t believe Scripture and then tell you to just go to a counselor. You angry at God? Well, you’re welcome here but we’re gonna wonder if you’re actually a Christian and then tell you to just go to a counselor.
Don’t worry. Be Happy.
Here’s the reality though.
That’s an incomplete view of emotions and an incomplete application of Scripture.
Life is hard. But God is good.
You ever read the Psalms?
All over the place, David shares the pains and difficulties he is going through.
One in particular always stands out to me.
I want you to picture David in your Sunday School class (or life group or connect group or grow group or discipleship group or whatever cool way your church says “Sunday School”).
You guys are making small talk and sharing about your week and you ask David how he’s been doing. What was he up to this weekend?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes. – Psalm 6:6-7
Uhhhhh. *Slowly moves chair away from David and tries to have a conversation with someone else*
He would probably be welcome in your class still, but you’d think he was emotionally unstable at best and off his rocker at worst.
But y’all, that is what life is like! Sometimes life is really hard. If your life is all sunshine and butterflies every moment, I would argue you’ve got the American Dream in a choir robe and your life is more about Him blessing you than you serving and telling others about Him.
Elsa is not being Biblical with her emotions at all when she says conceal, don’t feel.
Yet, Elsa is not being Biblical when she reaches the lyrical conclusion of her transformation.
Saying Let it Go to all the stress one is feeling and emotions that come with living in a broken world is not the move.
Unfortunately again, I think a lot of modern followers of Jesus are being discipled by Elsa.
Men don’t cry.
Being strong is about not letting any of these *toxic* people around me bother me.
I believe God has a plan, so I will live with joy and not let things get me down.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s not the way of Christ.
Emotions can absolutely dominate you and cause issues. But shoving them down or escaping them with golf or alcohol or Netflix or your hobby of choice likely causes more.
I am the champ of shoving down emotions and then volcanoing on people I care about at the slightest provocation.
So what do we do with our emotions?
Let’s go back to Psalm 6.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:8-9
Prayer. David was honest about his emotions and then took them to God in prayer. Prayer doesn’t always change one’s circumstances. But it always changes one’s perspective.
My journals need to be burned when I die. They are raw and real and are full of my emotions about a billion different issues. But as I write, God fills my mind with Scripture and I feel my perspective and outlook changing.
It’s interesting to me that wearing my emotions on my sleeve certainly impacts my relationships. Some think I’m weak. Some think I’m dramatic. Some think I need to trust God more. Some think I’m annoying.
There’s some truth to all of the above.
But at the end of the day, I’d much rather live in a way that the man after God’s own heart modeled.
I want to feel my emotions.
I want to make them known.
I don’t want to shove them down.
I don’t want to be dominated by them.
I want to take them to Jesus.
And as I do, I want to teach others to do the same.
In His Name,