One day last week, I was typing along, trying to wrap up the rough draft of Wil Clarey: The Mystery at the Mill, when I got to the end of a paragraph and tears threatened to spill from my eyes.
No, it wasn’t some emotional scene.
It just hit me, as the last few words hit the page, that it was the end of the book.
With my busy schedule, it has taken me over a year and a half to write it.
It was a momentous occasion!
I was brought up to stuff emotions inside.
“If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about”
was heard around my childhood home more than once.
Later in life, even my father realized how destructive that phrase was.
Now I’m a big softy.
My kids like watching emotional movies with me so they can see me cry. Of course, I use the “I’m just stuffed up” excuse every time but they know better.
The same thing happens to me at a powerful worship service – especially if we sing songs that hold nostalgic significance to me.
Brant Hansen writes about having experienced emotional envy. (Blessed are the Misfits c. 2017, Brant Hansen). Being on the autism spectrum, situations that would be emotional to others didn’t faze him. He makes the point that those experiences and the faith that goes with them are not dependent on emotion.
When I lived in Arizona, I attended a church where the worship leader got so emotional every week that it distracted me from the worship experience. After a couple of months there, I ended up going to a different church because of it.
So, what am I trying to say?
Is emotion good or not?
Anyone who has experienced tears of joy should be able to tell you that emotion is good. I agree. But,
Emotion should never take the place of faith.
Faith will produce an emotional response in most people. But faith based on emotional experiences has an unstable foundation.
In preparing for this blog, I tried to think of experiences I’ve had that were emotional. There were many. But it wasn’t the emotional response, but the situation and the faith involved in it that were life changing.
I could go on and on about emotions. There are so many negative emotions that can make people feel trapped.
I’ve been there.
I can offer no easy escape, but I can say that positive emotions help.
So, next time that song has you in tears, that unexpected blessing brings tears of joy, or that leap of faith brings release from anxiety, savor the emotional experience without basing your life on it.
You may just find those flashes of joy help light the way to an emotionally and spiritually healthy life based on
truth and faith.