Last week, we saw how growing in maturity is the capacity to hold both gratitude and grief together.
But how do we hold our grief when so often our unspoken goal is ever-increasing happiness?
This is the struggle — we feel bad about feeling bad and miss out on Christ's work in us.
I'm no stranger to this.
Some days, I feel fear, shame, anger, sadness, or guilt. And I beat myself up thinking, I shouldn't feel this way because Jesus died and forgave me.
The more I focus on how I shouldn't feel, the more I spiral into those feelings.
The Death Spiral
(Death spiral is a little melodramatic, but the drama can feel real)
To break out of this spiral, we need help.
Help for Feeling Bad
We can break this unhelpful cycle, but it requires friends.
What a friend I have in Jesus. Our condemning thoughts need to hear the good news of the gospel"... for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything" (1 John 3:20). God's love and forgiveness are more powerful than our feelings. As Martin Luther once put it,"Our conscious is a drop; our reconciling God is a sea of comfort." In moments of self-condemning emotions, let's free fall into the ocean of God's love.
Friends to help with burdens. "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). Many times friends have lifted me out of the spiral of feeling bad about feeling bad. They pointed out that - This feels challenging because it is challenging. - Jesus loves me. - They love me. - And they are praying for me.
Next time you fall into the death spiral, call on Jesus and some close friends. They can help you fall into the arms of Love because God has got you. And if you find yourself getting stuck in challenging emotions, consider connecting with a counselor or spiritual director.
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