My husband teases me because everything is an extreme to me.
“That taco was the best one I’ve EVER HAD!”
“That was literally the hardest workout.”
“My cat is the cutest cat I’ve EVER seen.” (Okay, that one is true)
I feel joy radiating from within me when a new sensation hits my eyes, ears, lips, and fingertips, and sometimes I can’t contain it.
I also feel the negatives strongly. It’s difficult for me to let certain situations go, even if it appears minor to an outsider looking in. The saying “feeling all the feels” was made for me. I feel everything from my head to my toes, and it can overwhelm me at times. Other times, it can threaten to destroy.
When I was a kid, I thought there was a magic switch that allowed me to turn off these emotions. It seems that no one around me struggled quite as much to reign it in. I would try new techniques, where I would make up my mind that THIS week I wouldn’t cry, or that TODAY would be the day I didn’t take things so personally. I hated feeling so strongly- both the sorrow and the joy- I wanted it all to go away. The emotions made me feel like an outsider, and like I didn’t belong. In my mind, they clearly set me apart: I was the girl who got too excited or too sad. There wasn’t much of a middle ground for me, and I was constantly trying to find innovative ways to stuff the feelings down.
It wasn’t until I started digging into the Psalms, that I realized these feelings – as hideous and fruitless as I believed that they were – were after God’s own heart.
David is a guy who also FEELS ALL THE FEELS. Psalms can be disorienting to read at times, because David will jump from anger to sadness to complete & utter joy in the span of two chapters. He recognized his emotions, and he wasn’t afraid to dig in. In fact, he was so unashamed, that he wrote regularly about his struggles.
I am always drawn to David because he is said to be the “man after God’s own heart”. I wondered what his secret was. How did he get this title? How can I be after God’s own heart?
I’ve talked about David before in past posts. I’ve wondered this same question out loud many times. And it seems I always come to the same conclusion. Was David given this honor because of his ability to feel deeply?
There is no argument against God’s heart stirring wildly for his kids. We see a range of righteous anger to unearthly compassion when we take a glance at Jesus’ walk here on earth. We see the Lord fighting hard for his children to be free from the chains of Egypt. And we read over and over again that we were created in the likeness of the Father.
So, what if, instead of stuffing down the feels, we embraced them as after God’s own heart? What would it look like to love passionately and be okay with sorrow? What would it take for you to fully lean into your emotions as a way of living fully alive?
I wonder if this would give us a glimpse into God’s own heart. Maybe we would learn something about ourselves. And maybe, just maybe, we would learn something about Him.