I had no idea I had it in me to write you three letters about managing your emotions. But as I was pondering the series of letters I have most recently written I realized that I neglected to teach you my favorite emotion management technique. So while it’s still on my mind I want to share with you my secret to floating through the ocean of emotions.
One day when I was drowning in my high-school emotions mom sent me to my room to journal until I had a happy heart. I was mad. But between filling lined notebook paper and smearing ink with my tears I discovered David’s secret.
Day after day, throughout the book of Psalms, David poured out his heart – all of it like a gushing waterfall. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. Instead, he brutally explains his hurts and fears, even going so far as to blame God and ask why.
David understood that our emotions are like a stream. They seem peaceful and carefree as they sparkle on their way. Before long they trickle into a river which in surges into an ocean. Suddenly we are drowning in depths we never expected. Frantically, we claw at waves that stifle our cries, steal our sense of direction, and stripe us of our strength.
But not David. He floated. He put his head back reaching his chin to the clouds, filled his lungs with a deep breath, and told God all the frantic thoughts that compel most of us to flail.
So, that day it took me five hours to find my happy heart I also learned to float. I poured out my stress-filled, depression-stuffed, empty-identity thoughts and found solace.
If sunlight was liquid that’s what I imagined showered my cheek with gentle, warm, hope-filled light. God was still God. No matter how bad my situation was, regardless of my powerful emotions, God was still God and God is in control. I could float.
It was the most mysterious thing,
but in that moment I know the mess of my emotions
became a mosaic of God’s glory.
So when those emotions well within you, shut yourself in your room pull out your journal and tell God all about it. Be honest. Be brutal. I promise, He can handle it. How do I know? Well, He already knows what you’re thinking and has loved you since time began, so you might as well tell Him and discover the same peace David and I know. Stop flailing and float.
P.S. What is your favorite Psalm?