Do you ever read a quote and feel it all the way through your being…I mean like all the way to the tips of your toes? And you’re not really sure why it resonates so loudly, but it just does?
So, it got me to thinking about music and it’s power.
causes us to dance and laugh;
or grieve over shared sorrows and losses;
helps us relax;
makes work seem easier;
opens our emotional spigots.
Have you had a great song open your emotional spigot?
“Contemporary Christianity may at times perceive emotion as a type of weakness, a sign of immaturity in the faith.
But emotion is part of the human experience, and the ancient Hebrew poets are refreshingly honest in reflecting their experience with real-life situations.
It is through such open expression that deep issues of life are addressed and, if not always resolved, accepted in the light of the mystery of God.”
Ellington, Scott. Poetic Books (Kindle Locations 218-220). Global University.
The writers of Psalms understood that so well. Moses, David, Solomon and the sons of Korah, poured out their emotions to God, instead of bottling them up.
Psalms is God’s inspired songbook
“Compilation of the book of Psalms was similar to that of hymnals. Each psalm was written by a person who had an encounter with God. Individual psalms, which recorded the psalmists’ emotions, faith, struggles, or attitudes, were gathered into larger collections to be used in both public and private worship.”
Ellington, Scott. Poetic Books (Kindle Locations 1732-1735). Global University.
Don’t Deny them! Deal With Them!
These poems are more than words to sing; they reflect a healthy way to deal with emotions. Honestly carrying and surrendering fear, anger, envy or pain to the Great Physician is the way to live emotionally whole. Instead of suppressing or denying toxic emotions exist or relabeling them with culturally acceptable titles and wearing them proudly, these people sang their way through potentially lethal pain and emotions.
I am drawn to their songs, although I would never sing them (you know I croak instead of sing), because they help me process my emotions.
Even as a child I loved the Psalms.
The words were soothing, comforting and calming.
I still gravitate to them when I’m afraid or disappointed or lonely. I go there because our common pain and their transparency makes us friends. I go there because, in spite of their pain and because of their pain, they go to God. That’s the kind of friends I want to hang out with.
Psalms 73:3 “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Whenever I read this verse I find myself commenting over David’s shoulder, “It’s just not right, Bro.”
But, I am so thankful that David doesn’t stop there, because I need to remember what he discovered as he talked or sang things out with God in verse 17 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end”
I relate to the cry of the psalmist’s soul when they pleaded,
“Hear me God!”
Or “why are you hiding your face from me?”
Or when they pour out their complaint like Psalms 102.
Or when they are totally overwhelmed with praise and adoration at the awesomeness of God.
Some Keys to Emotional Health found in Psalms
- Singing (or croaking if you are like me and can’t sing) lifts your spirits, encourages your faith, and points you to God.
- Reading, silently or orally, and slowly savoring the Psalms builds your faith.
- The faith and faithfulness of the psalmists inspires us to do what they did. (Run to God. Trust God. Praise God. Really Praise God out of a deep, sincere place.)
- Be honest and transparent with God when you pray as modeled by the psalmist. (That can be done respectfully.)
- Pay attention to your emotions.
I want to unwrap this last point.
Psalms 43:5 is one of my go-to verses.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God (KJV)
Sometimes I realize that I feel “blah”!
So I do what David did. I talk to myself. Why am I feeling blah? What’s troubling me? OK Pat…It’s time to believe God.
Then I deal with that yucky feeling. I pray. I repent. I praise. I deal with it.
And most of the time, I get an instant pick me up!
I am convinced God wants His children to be physically, emotionally and spiritually whole and healthy. He doesn’t overlook a single aspect of divine health and neither should we!