Friday, May 27, 2011

Why So Scared?

First - how do you like the new background for the blog? Yay for coffee! :D

OK... now onto my real post for the day.

It's been a rough couple weeks here. There's been a lot of emotion and struggles going on - and it's not even including the crazy storms we've been having. Earlier this week one of the pastors and I breathed a sigh of relief when we realized that it was over. I'm so glad it's Friday (Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday...) and tonight is the FAITH COUNTY CAST PARTY, tomorrow Leslie is going to help me organize my closet, and I have Monday off. WOO HOO!

There's something I've observed though through these long couple weeks - and it bothers me.

We are terrified of emotion.

I'm serious - we as people are terrified of emotions.
There was a "celebration of life"/ memorial service at church this week, and there was a girl there who sat outside and was crying. Her friend said that she simply wanted to sit there and cry, grieve, then leave. She didn't want anyone to come talk to her. She just wanted to cry. So I let her, and the friend told me that if they needed someone they would let me know.

About an hour later someone was almost freaking out because I let the girl sit outside and cry and I didn't go out and comfort her.
When tears start flowing out of someone's eyes our immediate reaction is to get the water works to stop.

I can't tell you how many times I've talked to teenagers and they tell me they don't want to talk about a certain topic because if they do all they'll be able to do is cry. So it's better just to avoid the subject.

Why is that?

Are tears so terrible that they should be avoided at all costs? What if what someone needs is to just let it all out?

Sometimes we need to cry. I mean.... Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

If Jesus is allowed to cry - weep even - then aren't we? Sadness is part of life. It's okay to be sad when someone dies, we have a rough break up, we have a hard relationship with family members, when something happens to us that we don't deserve, or any other number of reasons... So many times when I talk to some of the teenagers I know I have to reassure them that it's okay to be sad.

Or what about anger? Teenagers have asked me "But Emily, isn't anger a sin?"

Where in the world do we get that idea?

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. (Mark 11:15-16)

Jesus seems pretty ANGRY to me in this scene. We're allowed to be angry. Many times anger comes from pain. It's because we're hurt. Or we get angry when there is an injustice being done.

Rob Bell says in his Nooma video "Store":

"Anger is simply an emotion. It's just your body's way of telling you that your will has been blocked. What you want to happen isn't happening. The problem isn't anger; the problem is what we do with it."
Even happiness is a problem for people at times. I mean, don't we get freaked out when someone is just "too happy"? In the 2 Samuel chapter 6, there is a story about when King David was "too happy." They returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and David was so happy he started to worship like a crazy man and dance around "with all of his might" (2 Sam. 6:14). When he got home his wife chews him out for acting like an idiot.

So... we're not allowed to be sad, angry, OR happy?

What kind of world do we live in where we can't express how we are feeling?

Now yes, there is such a thing as depression where we need help, and there are times when we need to have anger management, etc. I understand all of this.

But our emotions are our emotions. Nothing is wrong with having them.

We are allowed to be sad, angry, happy, hurt, joyful, bored, etc.

What is it about emotions that make us so scared?


  1. Good stuff, Emily. I am guilty of hiding/building up emotions and I know it's not good for me. Often, it's because I am afraid of other people's reactions, as you say. Wouldn't the world be interesting if we all displayed our true emotions, maybe just for a day? We should have a new holiday: Show Us How You Really Feel Day. Let's get Hallmark on the phone...

  2. I guess it's just about what has become socially acceptable over time. We like to be efficient and proper and look like nothing bothers us. Crying shows that we're not infallible - that we do get hurt. It means making ourselves vulnerable. I think that's okay and I think a lot of individuals would say it's okay, but society as a whole makes us feel bad for showing that something's got to us.

  3. Hmm, I find women to use "tears" as a form of "Manipulation". So many women cry their way out of trouble or a speeding ticket...

    Just me, though.

    In my life, tears are a waste of time unless they're in the genuine, private expression between me and my spouse.

  4. @everyeveryminute Hallmark would probably LOVE a holiday like that. I'll get right on it! lol

    @justme I think that spreads to all emotions though. I mean, when someone is completely ridiculously excited about something and shows it, we tend to think they are "crazy" or something. I wonder how having too much emotion became a "bad" thing in our culture.

    @K.Syrah I've seen a lot of people use tears to manipulate as well, and I hate it. Our emotions and how we show them can be a powerful thing, and we shouldn't use them to get our way for selfish reasons. Crying to get out of a speeding ticket is ridiculous. But what about when it's genuine? Like in the instance I was talking about at the memorial. (It was for a teenager who had killed himself.) Wouldn't you say that if a person is genuinely mourning and needs to let it out, that tears would be appropriate and not held in?

  5. Good stuff Em. I'm such an emotional person that most people have either seen me cry or can tell that I just finished crying.

    Also, I LOVE the new background. And I can read this font a lot easier than the last one :)


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