Emotional suffering is not a topic you often hear. It can be painful, confusing, and lonely and because no one is immune to it, I think it merits more attention than it gets. Our emotions can become complicated, and for many, it is hard to admit when they have let their emotions get in the way of their happiness. We tend to hide our feelings out of fear and shame of what others will think if we feel differently than them. We become concerned with the possibility of their ridicule, so we put up a protective barrier up. This protective barrier is a false sense of self to hide the raw and vulnerable feelings going on deep down inside. We pretend we are something we are not and it crushes who God created us to be.
God never wants us to hide from our true selves, and our enemy knows this is all too well. He knows this is our weak spot in our spiritual armor, so he works hard at making us more vulnerable by using our emotions to deceive us. Our adversary will whisper to our subconscious, lies, hoping to stir our emotions to hyper-sensitive mode. He says things like, YOU aren’t good enough, YOU can’t do it, YOU don’t have what it takes, YOU aren’t talented enough, smart enough, or tough enough. YOU can’t handle the pressure, YOU are too fat, YOU are too skinny, YOU are ugly, YOU don’t measure up to the others. No one likes YOU, no one thinks YOU can, YOU missed your opportunity, and there won’t be another one, etc., etc., etc., after a time without even realizing it we begin to believe it and stop trying. We start to make excuses, and then we fall ever so gently into silent pain. Pain because deep down inside we know it is not true, but we listen regardless, and then become emotionally paralyzed. Like stepping onto slime, we swoosh around slipping and sliding, focusing on the slime instead of where we want to go. We grow angry with ourselves for listening and we grow angry at others for not recognizing the truth we keep hidden.
Yet.. even though we may realize what is occurring we continue the cycle instead of breaking the pattern. This cycle is what some refer to as the battlefield of our minds, and evil instigates this battle to prevent us from moving forward in God’s plan for our lives, but don’t fret, we are all united in this emotional battle at one point or more in our lives. There are ways to PUSH through it and break the stronghold. We can try to discipline ourselves into a new routine. Let me suggest a few things that have helped me. First, start by waking up in the morning to naming three things you are grateful for; I do this before my feet hit the ground. Then envision God handing you light that falls all over your body and heals you from head to toe. Recite the scripture passages that speak of God’s promises. Allow God and others to love you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, I love you, your beautiful, and you can achieve your goals.
Eat healthier, go for a walk each day, and breath deep cleansing breaths. Make new positive happy friends and do good deeds for others.
As followers of Christ, we will have times of emotional sufferings because we let the struggles wear us down. We get busy, hormonal, vulnerable, and overly sensitive. We sometimes put our guard down and let ourselves get lost within ourselves, and emotional pain can be like the seasons, and in time they will pass. It is helpful to change the way we look at our challenges and instead of playing the victim and crying, why is this happening to me? Look at the situation as happening for you and see the good that can come from it. It is all in our perceptions and perception can change the way we feel. If we continue to try and keep striving without giving up, how can we fail? If we fall, 7 times get up 8.
The secret to soothing emotional suffering is to take the focus off of ourselves and onto others. We can get stuck when we wallow in how and why and not in the action of aiding our neighbors.
Jose A. Pagola, an author I highly recommend has this to say about suffering.
But suffering is close to us. The crucified Christ challenges each one of us in a very concrete way. What does it mean to wear a cross on our chests if we do not know how to carry the smallest cross of people who suffer next to us? What does it mean to kiss the crucifix if the act does not awaken in us love and acceptance of crucified ones and coming together in solidarity with them? “
When we decided to answer the call of Christ in following Him what did we expect to happen? Too often we think by following Christ we will be so blessed that we will somehow avoid suffering and that just isn’t the case. Satan targets us all just like he did the apostles look at St. Peter in Luke 22 31:34
Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial
31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you. That he might sift you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33Petere said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34Jesusfsaid, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day until you deny three times that you know me.
Why would we be any different from any other follower of Jesus? We should find comfort in the fact that Jesus prays for us just as he did Peter and he points to the freedom when he says, And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. It isn’t about us, it’s about them and Evil is consistent in pushing us to believe the lies and deception that prevent us from seeing God’s Grace, Mercy, and Blessings. Evil deceives us into thinking it is about us and that it is more complicated than it is; the simple truth is “IT ISN’T.”