Written by C.Wells
Because of grace, the truth sets me free.
Frustration. Anger. Fear. If you were raised in a legalistic religious environment, your gut might tell you these feelings are a sin. Even if the teaching that planted this seed was more nuanced, the core idea is probably something akin to: “Feeling bad feelings means you don’t trust God."
This often drives people to push their feelings down out of fear of God’s disapproval. Hardly an effective method when you consider that God knows our hearts. Of course with a legalistic mindset, the fact that God knows our hearts is a terrifying notion used to motivate compliance that is impossible to achieve. In the light of grace, the fact that God knows my heart is such a sweet relief.
Grace frees us to examine our feelings without judgement or shame. And as we mature spiritually, uncomfortable emotions are invitations to discover what’s out of balance in our hearts or our lives.
When a flash of anger pops up, it’s an opportunity to reflect. Am I in need of an attitude adjustment, or do I need to set some boundaries? Do I need to remove myself from a toxic situation, or am I unknowingly playing a part in the disharmony? (The answer is sometimes both!)
When a wave of fear washes over, we can pause and ask, “What is my perceived threat?” Some fears are nothing more than dark and twisty shadows that disappear in the light. Others are born from unchallenged lies that we’ve been playing on repeat in our minds for years or decades. In all cases, honest acknowledgement is the first step toward healing.
I’m grateful God knows and understands my human condition. He created me to have feelings. His love is not dependent on my acting right, much less feeling right. He is the safest place in the world to bring my authentic self, warts and all.