Sitting at Starbucks this morning I’m thinking about how life is a mixed bag of emotions. When my husband died I was surprised to find I could be grieving and yet still enjoy my latte, smile at my granddaughter, and luxuriate in my wonderful bed. Every aspect of life evokes different emotions, often simultaneously. If I assess my emotions now I wonder what they’d be. Okay, here goes:
Happy – I enjoy my Flat White and being here at Starbucks.
Contented – I’m content with my life the way it is now.
Panicked – I started reading a writer’s book this morning that put me in a panic over all I need to do.
Overwhelmed – there’s TOO much to do with my writing and I don’t know where to start.
Relational – I just talked a while to my brother.
Guilty – I don’t spend as much time with God as I’d like.
Frustrated – I’ve been spending my work time now writing emails instead of tackling the huge pile of stuff I need to do.
I love how, because God is an emotional God, he created us as emotional beings, but have you ever thought about having spiritual emotions?
It’s popular now to hear about our emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient), which is recognizing, understanding, and managing our emotions. It’s the “ability to distinguish between feelings and label them appropriately.” The higher your EI the greater its positive impact on your life.
What about your spiritual emotional intelligence? The better we get at realizing that we have spiritual emotions and then understanding why and what to do with them, the more spiritually healthy we’ll be. Not only will it make an impact on our moving supernaturally but it will change how we pray for others.
Our goal is to become aware, to pay attention, to look past how we feel and into why we feel that way. Make a habit of pausing a moment during the day (as often as you can remember to) and let your emotions and heart spiritually “feel” where you are. Then tune into your spiritual senses and feel the spiritual atmosphere around you. Look at why you feel that way. Ask Holy Spirit what he’s saying to you through it. Look at others around you and practice discerning their spiritual emotions, what is God showing you about them?
Every Saturday morning I get with two friends to catch up on how our week has gone. Standing in line at Panera last week Chong said to me, “Brenda, are you okay?”
“I’m doing great,” I told her, “I’ve been looking forward to this all week.”
“Your eyes look sad,” she said, “are you sure you’re alright?” I assured her I was.
Later, on the way home with Jan C., I shared something that has been hurting my heart, saying, “I’ve been kind of bummed out the last few days.”
“Is that what Chong saw?” she asked, and then it clicked. I hadn’t realized I was carrying it.
Take stock of yourself spiritually—are you tired, excited, built up, dry, or lazy? Notice your spiritual emotions and practice becoming more aware of them and what they mean. It doesn’t help to realize that you feel grouchy or spiritually frustrated, ask Holy Spirit why, look for what triggered that emotion so you can discern where it came from.
Learn to set a spiritual tone in yourself by being conscious of the spiritual realm. For example, before I go to bed at night I’m trying to focus on spiritual things, that way my dreams reflect that instead of whatever stress, worry, fears, or life I carry to bed with me.
Today, take the time to stop and tune into God’s emotions. Ask him what he thinks of you, how he sees different situations in your life, and what he’s feeling. Pay attention to the spiritual emotions you feel when you pray for someone or you’re out in public. And remember, reshaping ourselves isn’t easy so give yourself lots of grace.