Personal application of how we can dialogue with God about feelings
As we have seen in the last Article, Emotions in itself are not bad. What our reactions to them is makes all the difference.
It is so vital, that we recognize them and name them so we can do something about what is happening inside of us.
In this article I provide a personal application for you – a model of dialoguing with God about feelings.
I remember well spring 1999, when I was in England. I was on my knees, pouring out my heart to God. It was about a situation with a guy. I felt really bad about it. I couldn’t say what it was, but I just knew that it hurt.
As I was crying in front of God, telling him my pain, he told me (not audibly, but just as real into my heart) “What you are feeling is called rejection“. And he showed me two different situations where I felt the same way, without this guy being involved at all.
This was my first step to understand that emotions mostly belong to me, not to the other person that “caused” them. It was not the guy I was crying about. It was the feeling that was already inside of me, revealing itself strongly in the situation, that hurt me.
And I learned that God was truly the best and most reliable place to turn to. He knows me, He knows you. He cares. And he knows what is hidden inside of us.
Model of Dialoging with God about our feelings
Step 1. Come to God and acknowledge him according to the revelation you have about him. Thank him for his presence.
Example: “Jesus, I thank you that you died on the cross for me, that can I come freely into your presence.
Step 2 Acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing and describe their depth and their effect in your life. See Psalm 55.1-8 to see how David poured out his hearth.
Example: I’m feeling sad (angry, fearful, ashamed) right now. I’m torn between wanting to cry and wanting to be angry. I don’t want to be around anyone….”
Step 3 Respond to the question “Why are you angry (fearful, sad, ashamed)?” What is the message the feeling is sending? If you don’t know, ask the Lord:
Example: Lord, why I am so fearful? What is the danger that I am facing?
Pause at this point and let the Lord speak to you.
Step 4 Ask the Lord what He wants you to do with these feelings. This part of the dialog will be different for each of the feelings we have discussed.
Example: (sadness) Lord, thank you for showing me what I have lost. Help me to know how to mourn my loss. Help me to trust you to transform my loss into a blessing. Help me to forgive those responsible for my loss.
Example: (fear) Lord, thank you for showing me that I was afraid of losing that friendship. Lord, I want intimacy with you to be the most important thing in my life. Help me to flee to you as my refuge. Help me to know that I am safe with you, and that you are faithful no matter what people might do to me. Help me to know that you can give me new friends. Let my fear be a motivation to trust you more.
Step 5 Close with a time of thanksgiving and worship. Ask God to continue to help you process these feelings. Ask the Holy Spirit to use your feelings as a signal to enter into a renewed conversation with God.
It is important to remember that there is no feeling that we can’t acknowledge before God. We can be real.
I love (and am challenged) by the scripture we find in John 4.24
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worship him in Spirit and truth – we will experience his presence, his love on a much deeper level if we agree to worship him being who we truly are. Not trying to be what we think we should be. He is not afraid of our reality. He is not afraid of our emotions. When we come before him without any mask, being real and truthful to him, he is able to come and change this reality.