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Posted 10/06/2020 in Christian Mental Health Tips

Why Did God Give Us Emotions


Why Did God Give Us Emotions

 

After reading our post on how to use a feeling chart to increase connecting as a family, a few people began to ask what are the purpose of emotions and why did god give us emotions? God never creates anything without a purpose. When He created us, He did so with a plan and purpose in mind. When He gave us a brain, a heart, and a soul, He did that with a purpose in mind. Everything we think and everything we feel has a purpose connected to it. . . Including our emotions. 

The same is true with our emotions, whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable, bringing healing or causing pain, being expressed openly, or suppressed inwardly, they serve a purpose in our lives. Just like the purpose of our mind is to think and the purpose of free will is to choose. The purpose of our emotions is to send us messages about our values and reveals to us what is beautiful and awesome about us. Therefore it is time to reject the idea that our thoughts and feelings as either good or bad and turn into the messages they are sending that honors God.


Many of us wouldn't even want to imagine a life without comfortable emotions. A life with no immediate relief and incomparable love the first time you hold your baby. A life with no butterflies when the love of your life proposes or no sense of gratitude when your prayers are answered. A life like that is unimaginable to us. 


On the other hand, when we feel uncomfortable emotions, all we do is wish there was a world without them. The thing is, even uncomfortable emotions serve a purpose in our lives. Every emotion is a signal that prompts a response. Before we look at some practical examples to figure out how to deal with emotions biblically, it is important to remember three important facts about your emotions.




Three Crucial Facts About Why God Gave Us Emotions:

You Have Emotions Because God Has Emotions:

We are humans made in the image of God.  Therefore, God gave us emotions because He has emotions.  He experiences joy, grief, rage, and even hatred (i.e., for sin). God is able to express emotions of anger and therefore you are also capable of expressing anger in a way that honors God. For example, Romans 1:18 says: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  You wouldn't have any emotions if God wasn't an emotional God.

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There Are Two Emotional Extremes to Avoid:

Emotionalism is one extreme to avoid when thinking about feelings.  According to emotionalism, the only thing that matters in life is how you feel, not what you think or what is right or wrong. With emotionalism, if you feel something it must be true.  For example, you feel like you are a failure, you must be a failure. . . even if you have succeeded in several areas of life. 

Stoicism is the other extreme. Stoicism believes that feelings are unimportant and that the only things that matter are your intellect and will.  When the stoic preacher becomes nervous before their first sermon, they don't tune into the message the anxiety is sending them about the importance of this sermon and maybe the need to practice.  Instead, the suppress this and all emotions and think about how people give sermons everyday and they are really smart. 

All Of Your Emotions Serves a Purpose:

God gave you the ability to feel because the Christian life is an emotional life and our emotions severe a purpose. Just as our minds enable us to think and our wills enable us to choose, so our emotions enable us to respond.

How to Deal With Emotions Biblically 

Fear Prompts Protection

Imagine this: You go to the beach with some friends and your kids. You're busy serving lunch when you notice your child who can't yet swim walking towards the water.  You instantly drop everything and run towards her before she gets to the water.  Your heart is still racing, but your daughter is okay, and that's all that matters. Can you imagine what might have happened if the fear didn't make you drop everything and run?

 

Sadness Prompts Reflection

Imagine this: Your baby is going away to college next week, you're happy he is all grown up now but you soon realize that you won't see him every day anymore.  You instantly feel sad and that sadness causes you to reflect. You reflect on the last 18 years and how amazing each moment with him was.

 

You pray that you brought your son up the right way so he won't depart from God when you’re not around to correct him.  You spend more time with him, laugh more, make memories, and enjoy every minute of that last week together.  Now imagine if the thought of them leaving didn't make you feel sad. 


Would you have reflected and reminisced your years together with a sense of gratitude for the blessing that he is? Would you have made space for those last-minute memories?

 

Anxiety Prompts Intention

Imagine this: It's getting closer to the end of the month, you have bills to pay and mouths to feed but no money in your bank account.  You start feeling anxious about what might happen. So you pray more. You look for news ways to make money. You get creative and put in the work. Your kids are depending to provide not only good food but a good example and you're not about to disappoint them. 


So you do your very best, praying for opportunities and working hard when God sends them. Your faith combined with intentional obedience and effort enables you to make more than enough to pay your bills and feed your kids and still have money left over.  Imagine if the possibility of your kids having no food didn't make you so anxious. Would you have been that intentional about praying and working hard every single day? 

 

Anger & Disgust Prompt Action

Imagine this: You’re walking down the street one day when you notice a woman being abused by her drunk husband. This man is beating her up on the street in broad daylight, and nobody is trying to stop him. You hide so he doesn't see you but even more than fear; you feel angry and disgusted. You call the police and he gets arrested; they take the woman to the hospital, and she survives. Today, she lives a life full of purpose and love, helping other women who are victims of domestic abuse.

 

Her husband who was released from jail as a changed man - helps her in efforts. Together they are making a difference in the world.

 

Now imagine what would have happened if you didn't feel angry and disgusted that day?

 

How would this story have ended if you felt nothing and walked past them because it was none of your business?  Your anger and disgust at that moment prompted an action that changed their lives.


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Guilt & Shame Prompt Redemption 

Imagine this: Your best friend, who has been a Christian all her life is now crying on your shoulder telling you she's going to hell.  Shocked and confused, you ask her why she would say something like that. She responds with a list of sins she committed while traveling for work one weekend. Some of those sins are so bad that she can't help but feel ashamed of herself & guilty for the way it might affect her family. She insists she doesn’t deserve forgiveness from God, her family, or herself. You get up and do what any best friend would, you bring out your Bible, and remind her of the truth. You remind her that Jesus died for her and that He loves her even after all the sins she committed. You remind her that God forgives and that she is redeemed by the blood of the lamb. You remind her that every bit of God's word is true, including 2 Chronicles 7:14.

She remembers, and she repents. She asks for forgiveness and promises never to do those things again. She figures out a way to fix things and feels free from guilt, shame, and condemnation. Now imagine if she never felt that initial guilt and shame for what she did? She would have continued to do the same things on every business trip, even with the potential of hurting those who mattered most to her.

 

Her guilt and shame in this situation brought everything back into perspective. While those sins were trying to make her run from God, her emotions made her run back to Him.




Finial Thoughts on Why Did God Give Us Feelings: 

So today if you feel sad, angry, ashamed, fearful, or anxious, I hope you'll take a minute to look for the purpose in it.  It is often helpful to ask yourself, "what are message may this emotion be sending me about me and my values that is beautiful and awesome."  In order to help you understand the purpose of your God given emotions, I developed a chart that will help you identify the message common uncomfortable emotions are sending and what each emotion may be saying about your values.  This table makes is super easy for your to identify the purpose of five common emotions.  In addition, it includes information about what the Bible says about each emotion.

I hope you’ll remember that your emotions are a gift from God, not meant to control you but to prepare you. That they are not your identity but signals and promptings that you need to respond to. 


I hope that instead of suppressing your emotions today, you’ll allow it to accomplish its purpose. You’ll stop wishing away these uncomfortable emotions and be grateful for the amazing gift it is and the depth it adds to your life. If you are looking for additional resources or support for yourself or a child you know about understanding the purpose of their emotions from a biblical perspective, check out the resources below:


It Is Well: A Christian Guided JournalIt Is Well: A Christian Guided JournalIt Is Well: A Christian Guided JournalLiving Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don't Control YouLiving Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don't Control YouLiving Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don't Control YouTeaching Christ's Children About Godly FeelingsTeaching Christ's Children About Godly FeelingsTeaching Christ's Children About Godly FeelingsFeelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian LifeFeelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian LifeFeelings and Faith: Cultivating Godly Emotions in the Christian Life


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About the Author: 

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Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams.  In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here: https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2 

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