So Much More Than Words 


Updated: Jul 6

It’s raining outside this morning.

Whenever it rains, I like to sit next to the window and look out. This morning, as I look out at the overcast sky, I can’t help but think about my emotions. I find myself thinking about how much my emotions drive my life in certain seasons. For the past couple of months, I feel like I have been up and down emotionally. One day, I can wake up feeling joyful and ready to take on the world, but then, there are days like this one, where I wake up feeling pretty dismal and down. If you’re anything like me, when you find yourself up and down emotionally, you have a tendency to beat yourself up. I know that Jesus calls us to walk in joy and peace (Philippians 4:4; John 14:27), so the days when I struggle emotionally, and I don’t feel joyful or peaceful, I often feel like I’m doing something wrong—I feel like I’m letting Jesus down.

Recently, however, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me that there will be days when I don’t feel happy or joyful or even hopeful, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus condemns me or is shaking His head at me in disappointment or shame. God is teaching me that when I find myself in these moments, I can turn to Him. I can look to Him for the help that I need to overcome my emotional turmoil and allow Him to not only soothe my downcast heart on days when I feel down, but to show me how not to be controlled by my emotions. I am writing this blog for those of you who struggle emotionally and fully understand my experience. In this day and age when emotional and mental health is being discussed more frequently, I think that it is so important to also talk about it as believers. How do we cope with emotional uncertainty and turmoil? How do we negotiate the sadness that we sometimes feel alongside the command that God gives us to rejoice in the Lord, always? How do we handle emotions like sadness and pain, or betrayal and bitterness as believers? These are some questions that I have been grappling with in this season of my life. For a long time, I felt like I had to sort through questions like this alone, and then go to God when I felt emotionally secure. However, the more time that I spend in the word, specifically the book of Psalms, I’m realizing that expressing our emotions and being honest about how we feel is not a bad thing. I’m learning that Jesus wants us to talk about how we feel honestly, with Him, and with people that we trust.

In Psalm 42:3 (NIV), the Psalmist says that his tears have been his food all day long. I always gravitate to this verse whenever I feel sadness or pain, because I feel like it is an accurate interpretation of how I feel in these moments. The Psalmist is brutally honest with God, and He expresses his sadness without fear or condemnation. I especially love that in this chapter, although the Psalmist is struggling with discouragement, he is commanding his soul to hope in God. He didn’t ignore his sadness and forced himself to hope; he instead embraced the sadness that he felt but then reminded his soul to hope. I find myself following this same pattern whenever my spirit is grieved and I believe that God wants us to do the same. We can allow ourselves to feel what we feel, whether it be sadness, uncertainty, betrayal, pain, or any other negative emotion; yet, we don’t allow these emotions to overtake us. We instead command our souls to hope in God. We remind ourselves that God is faithful and that although we are struggling emotionally, we are not without help (Psalm 46:1).

I pray that as you read this blog, and the blogs to come in this series, you will not only learn to embrace your emotions, but that you will understand that Jesus wants to be a part of the process. He wants us to come to Him with how we feel. He wants us to be brutally honest like the Psalmist.

He wants us to know that yes, we may struggle with our emotions, but we are never without help.

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  • ckstubbswrites

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. I wish this wasn’t the case, but I’ve found myself struggling with fear in this season of my life. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Fear of never living up to my expectations. Fear of not being able to truly live out my purpose. These are just a few that I have been grappling with. The thing is—I know that God instructs us not to fear. I think we all know this. However, oftentimes, this is easier said than done. It’s easy to say “I will not fear” when you’re not in a difficult or uncertain situation. It’s much harder to make that declaration when you’re in the middle of something that makes you very afraid. Can any of you relate?

During my devotional time this morning, I found myself reading Isaiah 41:10 (NIV), where God says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As I meditated on this verse, my very first thought went something like this: “God, You know what I’m currently walking through. How can you expect me not to feel afraid right now?” Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting a response; I was merely reminding God that what I’m walking through is tough and it is very scary. However, when I looked down at the verse again, something stood out to me that never did before. I can’t count how many times I have read and studied this verse, but today, it seemed like God was revealing something so obvious, yet I found it incredibly profound. I was seeing the verse in a new light. The Holy Spirit helped me realize that the answer to my question was right in front of me. God expects me not to feel afraid in this season of my life because He is with me—like the verse says. He expects me to not be dismayed because He is my God, and because of this, He will take care of me. Why should I fear when the God of the universe is with me and promises to help me? It was like a light bulb went off in my head and I was seeing this season of my life from a different perspective. The promise of Isaiah 41:10 is so beautiful and should be cherished by those of us who struggle with feeling afraid. This morning, I was reminded that yes, what I’m walking through right now is hard and it’s scary sometimes, but even though I feel the fear, it doesn’t mean that I have to submit to it or allow it to control me. In the midst of my fear, I can hold onto God’s promise that He will be with me in the midst of it.

The next time a fearful thought comes to your mind, or you feel afraid or uncertain about a situation in your life, declare the truth that not only is God with you in the midst of it, He will also help you and uphold you with His righteous right hand.

When you’re afraid, remember the promise of Isaiah 41:10.

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  • ckstubbswrites

Whenever I think about my life, I imagine myself walking along a path. I can’t quite see what’s up ahead most of the time, but I know that as I continue walking, I will arrive at my destination. Seeing my life in this way has helped me to develop a healthy perspective when trials come my way. Whenever I’m walking through a difficult season that is causing me some sort of pain, I see them as roadblocks or delays that I have to overcome. In the same way, I look at the small inconveniences of life as potholes that I have to manoeuvre my way around in order to continue walking towards my destination.

Although viewing my life and my journey through these lens has helped me in many ways, I still oftentimes struggle with weariness. While I have already decided that I will keep walking, no matter what comes my way, there are moments along my journey when I become very weary. Moments when I feel over-worked, fatigued and just flat-out tired. I’m sure there are many of you who can relate. Recently, I’ve been wrestling with weariness. Some days, I would wake up feeling rejuvenated, but then the obligations and responsibilities of life would tug on me until I feel like I have little strength left. I think this is the reality of most people working towards their goals, or just going about their day-to-day activities. Weariness is a real thing, and if we don’t know how to properly manage our weariness, it is very easy to give up. It’s very easy to check-out, or wave that white flag in surrender because we don’t have anything left to give.

In the midst of my weariness, I’ve been seeking direction from God on how to overcome it. I understand that only He can truly help me not only manage my weariness but give me the strength that I need to persevere in the midst of it. There are two things that God has been teaching me about weariness, and I want to share them with you.

1. Ask God for strength. I’ve been learning to ask God for strength in the midst of intense weariness. For instance, one day last week, I woke up feeling so weary that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I thought about all of my commitments and I felt incredibly overwhelmed. In the moment, I cried out to God for strength because I honestly felt like I had no strength left in me to give. Isaiah 40:29 (NIV) says that, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” I remember reading that verse and being so desperate for strength that I prayed it over and over. I meditated on that verse as I got out of bed and prepared for the day. By the time I was ready to make breakfast, I felt a surge of strength that I hadn’t felt in a long time, and I knew that it came from God. If you’re feeling weary, ask God for strength and believe that He will give it to you.

2. Rest. If you’re anything like me, then the word “rest” is somewhat of a double-edged sword. I am one of those people who either rests too much, or not enough, and I am praying and asking the Lord for a healthy balance. Even so, it’s important to know how to rest when you feel weary. I think rest can look differently for each person. For instance, when I’m resting, I usually prefer to be alone and sit outside in nature or take time to journal in a quiet place. Rest for someone else may be going for a long walk, or a hike with a friend to unwind. However, whenever I think about rest nowadays, I remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 (NIV) which says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This is the most beautiful form of rest that we can experience—the rest that comes from spending time in the presence of God. In the midst of my weariness, I’m learning to take advantage of this gift of rest that Jesus offers us. It’s easy to take it for granted, but I am asking God to help me remember everyday that this is the best form of rest that I can ever receive.

We all become weary at some point in our lives, but the beauty is that we can look to Jesus for strength in the midst of it. If you’re feeling weary or fatigued, I encourage you to ask God for strength and find time to rest. I believe that practicing these two simple yet profound steps will give you the strength that you need to keep walking.

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