Today is Valentine’s day. Candy, cards, flowers and roses have been purchased and delivered to people all over the nation. Red and pink hearts will adorn many kitchen tables. Handmade cards will be made by the hands of little people. Special dinners will be enjoyed by candlelight. “All told, Americans are planning to spend roughly $50 billion for Valentine’s Day in 2021, combining $27.9 billion on gifts and $21.9 billion on activities. ” (credit.com)
I send love to all of my blog readers.
But God’s love cannot be communicated through party supplies and Hallmark verses. His love is red, yes, but from the shed blood of His Son. This week we continue February’s focus on what love really looks like, God’s brand of love. (Part I is HERE) I will also share some additional statements from If, written by Amy Carmichael.
As Jesus has loved us, we must love others. (John 13: 34-35)
How did Jesus love us? He died on Calvary hill.
How did God love us? He sent Jesus to die on Calvary hill.
How does the Spirit lead us? To die to self and live to God.
I got nervous after last week’s post. I wondered if it felt impossible to my readers that they could love people God’s way. I thought I would share what I believe is a key component of keeping our hearts clean so God’s love can flow through us.
Process emotions well.
Some of our emotions aren’t very loving, are they? Does that mean we shouldn’t express them? I think the Bible clearly demonstrates permission to express emotion in the book of Psalms, for example. David makes some statements that make me wince, and he doesn’t sound loving toward those who hurt him. Job also complained quite a bit to God, and we don’t see God saying anywhere that Job sinned. Job had some things to learn about how to view God, but Job’s words are never criticized, only the friends advising him. (Ouch)
Process emotions with God.
Here we find the key, I think. God gets our emotions, not people. Our prayer closet is the place to get our emotions out, to express the full-depths of the pain and frustration, to speak honestly about the wrongs and rightly about the hurt.
Our prayer time is to be where we process the most heated emotions with the Lord.
Emotions are physical, which is why large emotions cause our bodies sweat, pupils to dilate, necks to blotch, hearts to race, blood pressure to spike, and tears to flow. If we don’t express our feelings, they sit in our gut and leak out through every sentence. We all know someone who is angry at an ex-spouse, for example, and evidence of a deep-seated seething occurs in all routine communication, even when someone responds to a simple matter like there being no milk for their cereal.
If we turn to people first with our initial emotional responses, we set them up to receive what only God was meant to handle, which is unfair. Instead, I believe God is to be the first recipient of our raw, untethered, unprocessed, knee-jerk emotions like those we observe in Psalms, Job and in many recorded prayers of the saints. I was thinking how Jesus repeatedly told his disciples he was going to die and rise again. Those were the facts, but as the crucifixion grew near, God was the recipient of Christ’s emotions in the garden of Gethsemane.
Do we ever tell people our emotions?
Of course we do, but only after God gets them first. When our friends are second in line, they receive people-sized amounts of emotion. This then allows them to process what they are hearing well enough to then respond with empathy and wise words instead of being overwhelmed or damaged by an onslaught none of us were built to handle.
If God gets our emotions, we can be more patient.
Our Bible tells us to respond to people …with patience, bearing with one another in love… (Ephesians 4:2), but people can be difficult, can’t they? If we are giving God all the big emotions about someone in our prayer times, then those emotions are smaller the next time we see that person face-to-face. Sure, we still find the person difficult, but the temptation to be unkind is now more reasonably sized and easier to overcome.
This week I am featuring some statements about patience with people from If. Again, Amy’s words aren’t Scripture, but she loved well. We can learn from her.
Are we patient? (Read each several times. Let each sink in.*)
If, in dealing with one who does not respond, I weary of the strain, and slip from under the burden, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (66)
If I have not the patience of my Saviour with souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail (a sharp and painful thing) till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary love. (88)
What real love is on this Valentine’s day.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Lord, grant us the ability to display YOUR love to the world, not ours.
Picture Explanation: One bouquet is beautiful from every angle. If each of us would love those around us like God does, the church would also be beautiful from every angle.
© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
*Page numbers are offered as they appear in my Kindle version, Generation 1.
Another post I need to print out and put before me. I’m thankful for a Savior who can handle my intensity, complaints, and discouragements. Thank you, Laurie, for reminding us how to rightly process those emotions, so we can love others well.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I am in the battle of processing emotions well right along with you, friend. Happy Valentine’s day to you are your family as well.
“If we don’t express our feelings, they sit in our gut and leak out through every sentence.” Ouch, but so true! Laurie, again you have written & crafted a blog straight from the beating, bleeding heart of our Lord. Thankyou so much! Love you, friend!
If any part of my life represents “the beating, bleeding heart of our Lord” it is because of His relentless refusal to let me go and His eternal commitment to make sure I live the good works for which I was created. To God be the glory.
Thanks for this post, Laurie. I love the part about going to God first. It is so true that we need to let him “have it” first. If we get it out with him, then some of the emotion is diffused. If we gain wisdom from him first, then we do so much better discussing how we feel with people. This is a good reminder for me! Thanks!
From someone who has big emotions about everything, learning to diffuse them has been key. Diffuse is a good word I did not use. I like it.
Thanks. Laurie, for showing us healthy ways to process and then express our emotions. Simply holding emotions in is not a good way to deal with them. I’ve been quietly working this subject lately. When something or someone irritates me, I send up a quick prayer saying, “God, I give this one up to you.” That includes my raw emotion, feelings of hurt or anger, etc. I also realize that I’ll always be a work in progress until I reach heaven.
Sounds good to me Carla! Glad your prayers include the raw emotion. I think research indicates when our emotions are high, we can’t think logically. The dust needs to clear before we can think. You are correct, the best we can do is keep improving until we reach heaven.
I love this post. I, too, have winced at David’s words to God about his enemies! But in my heart I thought, “David is really secure in his relationship with God to feel free to let his emotions loose like that!” I think what you say in your post is right. Honesty is what God really wants from His children. He can handle it. God already knows the truth anyway. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” I am so glad.
I am glad I have a friend out there who winces too! Yet David died a man after God’s own heart and David’s words are in Scripture. They were not filtered out. Lots to think about. I just want my heart to be cleared of emotional baggage and letting God sort it out is the only safe process I can determine at this time.
I’ve gone to the Lord with the heat of my emotion, but with judgment, “God, show them how wrong they are, , . . . Change them!” But when I’ve turned after I’ve vented to submit to what God is doing in me through those people, I have benefitted the most from my own prayer. You’ve written and talked about humbly forgiving a number of times, Laurie–so important. Those times I’ve given God the heat then surrendered back my own will to the Lord of the universe, I have then been most able to speak with self control instead of attempting to control another and to extend grace as I confront wrong.
I especially appreciate your including Amy Carmichael’s quotes here, and continue to ponder them.
Oh, Jewl, like you and David, I have started many a heated prayer time with judgment too. Then the dust begins to settle and I hear myself and I correct myself. There are twists and turns as I wrestle and back up and start over. In the end, God inevitably rights my thinking. I can’t imagine doing all of that with a person. What a tangled mess I would cause. Prayer is the place. I am so thankful. All the mess safely in the hands of God.
I appreciate you mentioning Amy Carmichael’s quotes. I truly stare at them and read them over and over. She was ahead of me in her ability to love like God does. I am challenged.