Last week I wrestled with the verse in Mat. 5:4 that says “happy are those that mourn”. I can’t quiet seem to be able to move on from this idea of embracing an emotion like mourning.
I’m an emotional person, always have been. My poor husband had no idea the roller coaster he was getting on when we got married. I’ve struggled with depression most of my adult life, but I also experience extremes in other emotions. If I’m excited about something I’m really excited. Whether it’s love, hate, fear, worry, joy, surprise… I embrace it to the fullest extent of the emotion.
I’ve come to realize that I can handle emotion. Even if it’s sadness or anxiety. What I can’t handle is a void of emotion. Apathy.
Apathy (noun)- 1. Lack of enthusiasm or energy, lack of interest in anything, or the absence of any wish to do anything. 2. Emotional emptiness, inability to feel normal or passionate human feelings or to respond emotionally
Ever been there? Is there anything worse than feeling apathy? Jennifer and I have often said that we’d rather feel anything, even pain or sadness, than to feel nothing at all. For two girls who live their lives fully engaged in the emotion of the moment apathy is paralyzing. And isn’t that the point? For Satan to stop us in our tracks?
In digging into God’s word I’m finding that He welcomes emotion. God can handle our joy, anxiety, mourning, fear, even anger. But what about when we don’t feel anything? What then.
Obviously God is big enough and merciful enough to be able to handle our apathy. The problem is He is responsive to us. And when we shut Him out… He stands outside the door and waits.
When I am happy I rejoice.
When I am fearful I hold on to Jesus.
When I am angry I unload on God.
When I am anxious I seek His peace.
When I am depressed I cry to Him.
When I am confused I look for His direction.
When I am apathetic I sit and do nothing, completely disengaged from God and the world around me.
Apathy is a defense mechanism. Usually birthed out of sheer exhaustion from trying to deal with circumstances that are difficult or out of control. Apathy kicks in when we reach the end of our rope and just can’t take one more… anything. So we throw in the towel. Pull back. Shut down. Shut out. Quit caring. Hide.
But God doesn’t want us to hide. He wants us to live in the light. To live in His presence. To live with our hearts open to Him, not devoid of emotion.
Today you may be apathetic. Maybe things have just been too hard for too long. I understand. Really I do. But girls, we can’t stay here. As women we were created to reflect the many emotions of our creative God, not to live in emotional emptiness. The good news is… there is HOPE! God promises to give us a new heart! To awaken the passion we once knew. We only need to cry out to Him! He will be quick to answer!
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Father God, wake us up from our apathy! Wake us up from our emotional emptiness. Fill our hearts once again with your spirit. Help us not to hide from you when things get hard, but to run to you and allow you to hide us under the shadow of your wing. Help us as women to express the joy and wonder of our emotions in ways that reflect your goodness and your glory. We are desperate for you, Lord. Without you this world is unbearable and we are crushed under the weight of it. Be our source, our strength, our hiding place. We rest in you. Amen.