I’ve come to believe emotional pain is what God uses to point out error in our beliefs. This functions the same as physical pain does in relation to medical problems in our bodies.
What motivates us to go to the doctor to get something checked out? Well, it’s some kind of abnormal symptom. Often it’s physical pain. I’ve come to believe that it’s also true that when we are depressed, angry or afraid (emotional pain), that this is a symptom that should cause us to check out what is wrong in regards to what we are BELIEVING(I’m speaking here of spiritual beliefs, not simply factual beliefs).
I can say that for me, I expect that if I am accurately believing the 100% Gospel of Grace (which is my phrase for the real Truth of the Good News), I will be living the Abundant Life and experiencing the peace that surpasses human understanding, free of emotional distress (Of course, there are many other phrases/idioms that refer to this wonderful state/experience of unspeakable joy). This has been true for me during these last two years after understanding more fully the Grace of God.
When I’m NOT in that wonderful place of peace, joy and the other Fruit, which these days I am joyfully experiencing most of the time (I boast only in the Lord), I have come to believe that in that moment of un-peace and un-joy I must be embracing un-truth in this area or that. The medicine/remedy for this emotional distress is figuring out what un-truth I am believing at the moment and correct my wrong thinking with the Truth. I’d call this renewing my mind. I find that this Truth, when I do remember and apply it does, in fact, set me free.
On the other hand, if I can’t seem to find nuggets of Truth that that set me free from the emotional distress, I conclude that I need to keep working on finding the Truth of the matter. This is hard work. But, remember that John 6 tells us that the only work that God requires is that we believe in and on Jesus (Who IS the Truth). I work this process many times, even scores of times, every day. And it’s infinitely preferable to living in emotional pain.
Example? I start to argue with my wife. I feel angry because I feel she has not valued something I feel I’ve accomplished “for her”. In other words, I accuse her (with my words or just in my mind) of not appreciating me. Perhaps I didn’t get from her the praise that I feel is merited for such a “great, unselfish accomplishment”, whatever it may have been. As I walk away pouting a bit, I notice that I’m angry. And I’ve learned that when that happens to me, I must be believing something un-true relevant to that interaction. After a bit of contemplation, talking to Dad, I realize that in that incident I was expecting/requiring her to make me feel valued, important, righteous up to my needs/expectations. And it’s quickly clear to me that only God, Himself, can provide me that sense of worthiness. In that moment, I realize that I am expecting her to do God’s job, to count me valuable, worthy, righteous, etc. such that my heart is satisfied. My anger subsides and becomes joy as I remember that I AM so valuable and valued and worthy (so many words I could use). I go back to her and tell her with a smile on my face and in my heart what I figured out regarding the matter we argued about and that I’m sorry I got angry at her.
I think of it like I carry medicine (God’s Truth) around with me in my pocket each day. And when I’m emotionally (i..e., spiritually) sick, I find the right medicine (an element of the Truth of God) and take it and get better very quickly.
I’d love feedback on this post. I’m still a new 100% Grace believer and I like feedback from those on the path longer than I’ve been. That being said, what I wrote about is working for me in a big way.