The Truth About Emotions (Why Positivity Alone Won’t Bring You Peace)

Ever heard the saying, “Positivity Is the Key”?  How About, “Keep Calm and Stay Positive”? 

 

Mantras like “If You Cannot Be Positive, Then Be Quiet,” and “Be Positive, Stay Happy,” and “Don’t Let Negativity Get You Down,” are rampant on social media outlets.

 

They pump us up. They feel good. Yet the consistent theme seems to be that we are always supposed to be positive, feel positive, stay positive. Negative feelings, it would appear, are not welcome, are not healthy.

 

As a culture, we have come to believe the only acceptable emotions are the positive emotions, the good emotions. We like to feel happy, excited, joyful. We’ll take those emotions. The ones we will do anything to avoid are the bad emotions. Negative emotions such as sadness, fear, anger, these emotions must be inherently bad. They do not feel good. We are terrified of them. We are ashamed of them. We should not feel them. If we do, we must immediately take a pill, grab a drink, push them down, so that we can avoid them at all cost. We believe that happiness in life comes by eliminating any negative emotions and solely experiencing the positive ones.

 

Christians, too, can fall into this extreme way of thinking. Some tend to see positive emotions as blessings, God-given, answers to prayer. Negative emotions are sometimes viewed as an attack from the enemy, conviction, or a spirit to be cast out with prayer and fasting.

 

In truth, I do believe in spiritual attacks. I rely whole-heartedly on the Spirit’s convicting power. I stand steadfast on my belief in the miraculous power of prayer.

 

Yet I do not believe that every negative emotion is negative or satanic. I believe that God in His infinite wisdom and perfection, created ALL of our emotions, not just the positive ones. Our emotions are necessary. Jesus experienced sadness, anger, hurt and yes, anguish, and He felt these emotions without sin.

 

Our emotions were designed as flashing lights within our emotional being to get our attention on our journey.

 

Our emotions are the external cues as to what is going on internally deep within us. If we understand them correctly and are in tune with them, we can face our emotions instead of running away from them or numbing them.

 

Anyone who has read any of my blogs knows that over the course of my life, I believe God is continually wanting to heal me, teach me and grow me. This is why my spiritual and emotional pilgrimage is a lifelong process.

 

A healthy relationship with your emotions should:

 

  1. Make you aware of how daily experiences are affecting you. You can feel these responses in your body. Certain interactions or experiences leave us feeling positive, others give us a distinct uneasiness, or pain. Healthy people are in tune with their emotions and can name their emotions. This equips them to navigate through life and make healthy decisions along the way.

 

  1. Get your attention so that you can learn where to dig. A negative emotion is usually trying to tell you something. It can tell you that an old wound has been triggered that needs to be healed at a deeper level. It can tell you that there is potential danger ahead so that you can be careful. It can also tell you that there is an area of your life that God wants you to grow so that you can learn how to deal with things differently, perhaps more effectively.

 

  1. Lead you somewhere productive. Even the most painful emotions can lead you to your healing if you allow them. If you don’t know how, or are even afraid to begin, please reach out to a therapist who can help you find the place of wholeness and peace for you and your emotions. Emotionally abundant individuals do not run away from their emotions, nor do they become lost in them. They simply respect their emotions and do their best to learn from them.

 

You don’t have to be afraid of your emotions. They cannot kill you. You don’t have to run from your emotions. They should not shame you. You can learn to listen to your emotions, understand them better so that you find the truth and the healing God has for you.

 

Let’s move beyond the power of positivity. Positive thinking and feeling is good. Yet that is not all there is to life. Let’s use ALL of our emotions on this adventure called life.

 

Emotions are flashing lights that shine in both darkness and light. Notice them. Feel them. Care for them well so that you can take the next step, whatever that step may be, as you travel down the road toward peace!

 

 

28 Comments

  1. Such great balance here. Our emotions are part of the package God made, but they don’t need to be the boss! Your site is so lovely, and I’m glad I popped in today! Blessings on your week!

    • lisamurray

      October 29, 2015 at 3:39 PM

      Michele,
      I’m so glad you stopped by today! Yes, emotions should never manage us, but they can give us valuable information to take us farther on our spiritual and emotional journeys. Blessings to you as well!

  2. This is fantastic information Lisa. How much more would we step into God’s fullness if we weren’t busy running from bad feelings! The journey to freedom is through them and oftentimes, despite them. Wonderful post today, thank you.

    • lisamurray

      October 29, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      I love how you describe that the journey to freedom is through our emotions and sometimes, despite them. This is such an important concept if we want to cultivate peace and abundance in our lives and relationships. Blessings to you, Meg!

  3. I agree with you as emotions are a gift, an internal thermometer to help us gage where something is amiss.
    Lovely message Lisa.
    Blessings,
    Christy

    • lisamurray

      October 29, 2015 at 3:43 PM

      Christy,
      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, if we can stop seeing emotions as our enemies and see them as gifts, we can use them wisely to help us on our road toward greater healing and peace! Blessings to you, too!

  4. Excuse me while I stand up and clap and do some cartwheels….Yes! Excellent post, and how true. It seems believers equate negative emotions to no faith. Such a good post. #livefreeThursday

    • lisamurray

      October 29, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      Too funny, Michelle! I feel very much the same. If we could see emotions as what they are and for what God created them to be, we could experience so much more of the freedom and abundance God has for us. Thanks for stopping by today!

  5. This is so good. Yes, we move forward when we realize that all of our emotions are God given. THank you for taking it a step further and showing us what to do with those feelings. <3

  6. This is such a wonderful, heartfelt post. I like how you exposed the message of the world that somehow positive emotions are to be embraced and negative emotions are to be avoided. You hit the nail on the head with that one! God has given us a wide range of emotions, and they all serve a very important purpose.

    • lisamurray

      October 31, 2015 at 8:19 AM

      Thank you, Sarah! One of the lies of the enemy is the lie that we should only feel positive emotions, and if we feel negative emotions, there must be something wrong. How freeing when we realize that God did give us a wide range of emotions that are each necessary to help heal and guide us on our journeys! Blessings to you today!

  7. “Our emotions were designed as flashing lights within our emotional being to get our attention on our journey.”

    I am so glad for some emotions that were negative because they drew my attention to the Savior. These negative feelings showed my my need and steered me to The Way in which I should go! It was in my anguish that I finally surrendered! Thank you Lisa! Your post is so encouraging!

    • lisamurray

      October 31, 2015 at 8:21 AM

      Amen, Jenny! Our negative emotions are designed to lead us to our healing, and our Healer! How freeing to finally surrender and experience hope and wholeness. Blessings to you, friend!

  8. Beautiful post. All of the emotions God wired us for can be used for His purposes if we allow ourselves to tap into them constructively and productively. When they fall out of balance (which for me happens with anger), they are a guidepost to “Get your attention so that you can learn where to dig.” Love how you said this. Thanks for your words today!

    • lisamurray

      November 2, 2015 at 7:15 AM

      Thank you for stopping by today, Liz! Emotions used to control me and destroy me until I realized that I could manage them, learn from them, and find balance in them. Blessings to you today!

  9. Lisa, this is such a wonderful article. Well said, and much needed. I used to be a very negative person, and am living a life of intentional joy and positivity (that is apparently not a word, but too bad). That said, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The difference between the life I choose to lead, and one who claims to always be positive, is that it’s just not possible. To deny our “negative” emotions would be to deny that we are human. All of our emotions are just that-emotions. God gave them to us for a reason, and there are appropriate times to feel sadness, grief, anger, fear, etc. We would be doing God, ourselves, and others around us a disservice if we did not allow ourselves to feel appropriate emotions at appropriate times. The key is knowing how long to stay there. Choosing forgiveness instead of staying in anger. Choosing to rise above the occasion of sadness with the help of Christ, who strengthens us instead of wallowing in self-pity. Anyway, I’m preaching to the choir. It’s about balance, and you’ve got it! Thanks for a really great article. I’m going to share it on my SonRiseInsights facebook page, if that’s ok.

    • lisamurray

      November 2, 2015 at 7:19 AM

      Mary,
      Those who try to deny their negative emotions live life running away from reality. God never designed us to feel only positive emotions. He desires for us to use our emotions as tools on our journey. I love how you describe the key to emotions is understanding balance. Yes! Blessings!

  10. Thank you for your honest approach in dealing with emotions and reminding us that there are healthy ways to deal with emotions and that it is okay to “feel”… I was especially struck by your reminder that Jesus Himself “felt” many emotions…

    Thanks for putting our emotions into context with the character of God and His design for our lives.

    I have left your blog feeling edified. 🙂

    • lisamurray

      November 2, 2015 at 7:20 AM

      Yes, Karen, Jesus felt many emotions! God created them for us to use for our healing and growth. So glad you were encouraged here today!

  11. Lisa, you have hit a nail right on the head. God’s desire is for us to grow into the image of Christ while we are here on this earth. He wants us to represent Christ before all people and until we can face our emotions straight away, I don’t think we are growing in the Lord, nor being honest with who He has made us to be. Your picture of the apples is what I have done so much of my life…smile when I really don’r feel like smiling on the inside. So how can I be real?
    This is good for me today. I want to grow.
    ~ linda

    • lisamurray

      November 2, 2015 at 7:22 AM

      Linda,
      This was my journey. For so long I ran away from my emotions. I could not be the person God wanted me to be, nor could I be used in the way He wanted to use as long as I ran away from the emotions that could be my wise guides. You can grow. One step at a time, one day at a time! Blessings, friend!

  12. Hey Lisa,

    What a practical post about emotions!

    I really like this line, “Our emotions were designed as flashing lights within our emotional being to get our attention on our journey.”

    I shared your post here: https://www.pinterest.com/melredd/blogs-encouraging-blogs-and-websites/

    Came over on Mommy Moments.
    Hope you have a blessed day~
    Melanie

  13. A wonderful truth-filled message! I will definitely be sharing this post. Love this: “Our emotions were designed as flashing lights within our emotional being to get our attention on our journey.” and the bullet points outlining a healthy relationship with our emotions is so helpful. Thank you for a clear and practical post. Visiting from Mommy Moments Link up.

    • lisamurray

      November 4, 2015 at 6:00 AM

      Angela,
      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, our emotions are flashing lights within us. If handled well, they can give us insight, direction, meaning, and healing. Blessings to you!

  14. Thank you so much for writing about this so honestly! I agree with you. I’m working on an M.A. in Clinical Counseling right now & I have learned so much about the value and importance of emotions. I never understood that anger, sadness, and frustration could be good things when channeled and dealt with correctly. Now I realize that my emotions do uncover what is really going on in the heart.
    I found you via Grace & Truth. 🙂 Thanks for sharing there. I loved this post.

    • lisamurray

      November 5, 2015 at 7:24 AM

      Thank you for stopping by, Alison! Unfortunately, most of us have never been taught about our emotions, much less what a healthy relationship with our emotions can look like. Emotions are good, they are God-given when we acknowledge them and use them to help take us further down the road of our healing journey. Blessings to you!

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