When I was a kid I loved to play hide and seek. We would hide in the house sometimes and I had my favorite spot. I can still years later picture the hiding place in my mind. It was a pretty good spot! I would dig underneath the pile of work clothes that my dad had put in the corner of his closet, way back underneath the hanging clothes in the corner. As a little kid I could make myself as small as possible, curled up in a little ball and stay quiet as possible.
I remember telling my sisters years later about the hiding place. They remembered looking for me. “I looked there!” I remember them moving the hanging clothes and moving a few items around, expecting to be found at any moment! I learned to hide well!
I also learned to hide other things well! As I have been working through WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Workbook called “Understanding Emotions” I realized that I hid my emotions from myself. Somewhere, I began to stuff my emotions down into the corner of my own closet. Curled up in little balls that I couldn’t find. The thing about hidden emotions are they don’t like to stay hidden or at least some of them don’t like to stay hidden.
Another memory of growing up was the face that my mom seemed to have a sixth sense regarding my emotional state. In fact many times I didn’t have to say a word for her to “read my face.” So the funny thing about this game of hide and seek I have been playing is that I’m realizing that these emotions I have been hiding from myself are not hidden from others. Just because I can’t feel them doesn’t mean they are safely hidden away!
This discovery happens often in my home. I lived as a single guy for 37 years until God put my wife and two daughters in my life. All of a sudden, I had a house full of people watching me. I discovered that I had a “tone of voice.” Emotions were leaking all over my family in “how” I was saying things! I remember how frustrating this was and still struggle with this! I always considered myself as a pretty self aware person. But as I had been given a wife who was able to see me all the time and mirror back to me they way I react, what I say, how I say things, and explain how that makes her feel, God began to help me unpack all these emotions. I began to understand some of them.
This has not been fun! Let me tell you! However, Jesus is showing up! I still am in a huge renovation project inside my head. The process of Understanding my Emotions is a life long venture. The cool thing is that I have someone to walk with who is able to bear my hidden junk. I’m not talking about my wife here, not even a Christian counselor or the people in my Restoring Your Heart Group. I have someone who actually knows me! He is quite fond of me!
The Message by Eugene Peterson paraphrases Hebrews 4:15-16 this way… “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”
Jesus is completely aware of our reality! He has experienced it all. He knows my negative emotions and my positive ones. He who was completely human and perfectly God was able to know exactly what it means to feel emotions. Jesus wept and got angry over death of his friend, Jesus got furious at the temple as worship was exchanged for making money. Jesus loved and felt compassion for those who the world didn’t even acknowledge.
So here I am playing my own game of hide and seek. Jesus is helping me find my emotions! Some of them are not hidden very well. He is helping me know where to look and even helping me understand them. Consider taking time to look at your heart. Are you playing hide and seek with your emotions? How are you feeling today? Are you dead and dry? Are you furious? Are you depressed? Are you happy?
Consider one thing today. Jesus wants you to know and embrace your emotions. He created you with them for a reason. The challenge you and I face today is to learn to Understand them and GROW to have a healthy and emotionally mature life. Part of growing to maturity in your relationship with God also means you should be willing to be emotionally healthy too! Jesus wants to walk with you into your heart and help you find your emotions. Take some time to begin to play hide and seek with Jesus. (He’s pretty good at the seeking part.)
Search me O God and know my Heart….
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
Begin by reading this free ebook- How Emotional Problems Develop. (pdf)
Second consider learning more about WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Ministry and curriculum.
As you learn about RYH consider joining a group and going through Understanding Emotions.