Your Emotions Are Valid


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I’m here today to tell you that your emotions are valid.

Your fear and anger and joy are valid. Please don’t let others bully you into thinking otherwise. Emotions are signals from your soul which you shouldn’t ignore. You should be aware of them and learn how to process them in a healthy way. Sadly I’m only just learning this, as I and many others have an unhealthy background of shame about certain emotions which has been pushed on us by others, especially within the Christian community by other Christians and the Church leadership.

Not all churches do this, of course, but it is a huge problem, especially in the Patriarchal movement (and I’ve seen it in other types of churches, too.)

Why is the Christian church so determined to squelch certain emotions? After all, what are emotions but something God created for us to understand and process? This is a real problem that happens to real people and it needs to be addressed by somebody! 

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As a teenager I thought I couldn’t feel confidence because at church it meant I wasn’t thinking of myself as a humble worm that barely deserved God’s mercy for being a sinner. I quickly learned that to express fear for something was to show I wasn’t a strong Christian who didn’t trust God enough.

To speak my opinions or thoughts as woman was not seen as living honestly but as not having a “meek and quiet spirit” and “not being submissive to your father’s leadership.”

I’ve seen others swallowed in depression because their church shamed them for their feelings and verbally abused them into thinking they simply had weak faith. My own mom, who felt distrust in her marriage, was told by both my Bible thumping father and several elders, that she just needed to “trust” him more, to follow him blindly because that showed stronger faith.

This is a crisp example of spiritual abuse dealt out by the church itself, in the form of literally telling people what they are feeling is wrong.

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Even the emotion joy is trampled on within the Church, in my experience.

After watching Star Wars for the first time in 2011, my sister and I fell in love with the films. However our Baptist friends were so concerned with critically analyzing them for Biblical flaws that we began to hide our joy. That way we wouldn’t be interpreted as passive Christians who wouldn’t take “every thought captive.” We had the same experience when The Avengers later came out in 2012.

I know many Christians can face this over the experience of Harry Potter as well. Isn’t that awful?

God gave us emotions to find joy in love and to grow despite fear, so why are we told that fear is bad? The Church should help us in our journey and NOT tell us that what we’re feeling is wrong.

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The Church should never tell me my emotions are invalid. Sadly, many of them do anyway and at twenty years of age I now know they are wrong to do so. So that’s why I’m writing this: Not to say the Church is hopeless or to say that every Christian Church-Goer is like this, but to simply say from me to you:

You Are Valid.

I want you to know this. What you are thinking and feeling right this moment is valid. Do not be guilted by someone who can quote scripture more fluently then you that somehow what you feel is not true for you. Emotions were given to us by God, so embrace them, process them, learn from them, enjoy them: Because that’s what they are there to do.

Don’t tell yourself, “No, I can’t be angry, that’s a sin.” Instead, ask, “Why am I angry?” and get to the root of the problem instead. Anger is a warning sign that something must be mended–either within yourself or in the environment around you. You put yourself in danger by trying to hide it. How can you keep a house from flooding without acknowledging you can see the water creeping through the cracks?!

Even Jesus had a righteous anger: He didn’t smother it, he expressed it. That’s the key.

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The same goes for discomfort and contentment. Annoyance and anxiety. Guilt and love. You name it, that emotion is a valid signal that no one should shame you for having. Work through your feelings with safe people who can validate you as a person; people who show empathy instead of shame; people who can relate to you as a human.

Along these lines, don’t let Christians try to twist your story into a mirror image of their own by shaming you for your struggles or even for liking something they personally don’t care for. *sigh* Why couldn’t I have just enjoyed Star Wars?

God has made you as you with your own journey and your own interests that are different from others and that’s okay. You’re likes and dislikes are valid too.

Something to watch out for is Scripture to be used against validating your emotions, such as the verse that goes:“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This verse has been twisted, in my experience, to mean: “Don’t trust your feelings and inner signals because it’s all a façade, you can’t trust yourself at all, so listen to what I have to say instead.” Beware.

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Yes, of course, we all make mistakes. We are all flawed within our hearts. However, that does not make our God-given emotions invalid, gosh darn-it! This scripture should be used to look within and not out at others. Sadly Christians have battered me with such a verse for having emotions that they think doesn’t exhibited faith or reformed Christian head knowledge!

No one should judge you against their own life’s journey because they think a scripture verse allows them to. This is wrong, it is spiritual abuse and it can mess up your head very badly in connection to something beautiful, like real-life faith. Such Bible-beating must stop.

I want to make it clear here as I bring this towards an ending, that this post is not targeted specifically at anyone, even though I can think of several people who’ve specifically done this towards my family (when I speak family, I exclude my dad because he was one of the abusers.) And I’m not trying to say that those who’ve abused scripture are necessarily meaning to be cruel. I think many of those people were simply trying to hide their own emotions and by examining others instead were able to be distracted.

We are all in need of empathy and understanding but that does not mean we should simply submit ourselves to abuse.

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So, I am specifically attempting to bring light on a subject of spiritual abuse that has chased my family for many years. I want people to be aware of this problem because it needs to be recognized by unsuspecting victims, well-meaning abusers, and people who stand by completely ignorant either way. This is a problem. 

It’s time that the Christian Church stops invalidating the spectrum of human emotion and instead aid their flocks into maturity and mental health by processing those emotions instead of burying them.

But that could be a long time coming.

So please just know from me: You are special. You are wonderfully created to have strengths and weakness which will give you a life-long journey of discovery and growth. You have interests which God has placed in you, with emotions that are there for a reason. So treasure them, respect them, and learn from them.

And never let anyone tell you ever again that you are not valid.

~Jamie

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20 thoughts on “Your Emotions Are Valid

  1. This is seriously the BEST POST EVER!!! It’s just simply and purely amazing and just wow. Thank you for having the courage to write and post such an inspiring message! 😀

    1. Thank you very much! It was weighing on me the past couple days and I just needed to get it out! I’m so glad you found it inspiring! 😀

      ~Jamie

  2. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME ARTICLE that needs to go viral! NO, REALLY! It should win a Peace Prize for its phenomenal message of listening to our inner voice and use our emotions as guidepost to examine our lives more fully to make internal changes. You truly are a Light Warrior on a mission and I am incredibly impressed and proud with your depth of soul to listen to self, Jamie. The very core of your message is EXACTLY how the world has gotten into the shape it is in today…it is not just twisting bible versus as a control mechanism but it applies to every facet of our lives including corrupted governments, standardized education, greedy corporations and much more and every single institution that strips and invalidates the individual from who they truly are for the sake of a hidden agenda of control. We’re either labeled as outspoken rebels or obedient depressed zombies and the primary reason that the latest statistic indicate at least 40% of the population is on mental health medications (mostly women) with the fastest growing population going on antidepressants are 5 year olds. REALLY? Invalidation of self goes on everywhere and it is the destruction and downfall of our society. This post needs to get published where there are a million hits. It is a critical and thought provoking message that can help liberate so many from the chains that currently strangle them in a yoke of falsehoods. Hugs and more hugs for the amazing person you are my sweet articulate trailblazer. Sending lots of love! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo e

    1. Thank you very much Aunt Erin! You are absolutely right about how we are invalidated as people in all parts of life within our society. It’s such a sticky mess; I suppose the way to begin changing our society’s problems might be to become safe people ourselves so we can appropriately support the people in our lives. If only we could learn to do that. 🙂

      I love you too! ❤ ❤ ❤ XOXO, Jamie

  3. Very well put, my dear. The Psalms, the Epistles, LARGE CHUNKS OF THE BIBLE, encourage people to trust God and to live in faith…not because we can’t have those emotions, but because we WILL HAVE those emotions! I’m truly sorry you and your mom were made to feel that using your brain and trusting your gut was sinful.

    I doubt you’re going anywhere near this, but trusting your emotions *can* have a pitfall, if you go past warning signals and into relativism and “because it feels right!” Your head and your heart–God gave you both 😉

    Don’t ever let legalism drown love.

    But really, fear? Jesus begged God not to make Him suffer the cross. Begged. David cried out to God with absolute pitiableness.
    Trust? You can question God, you can cry out “Why is this happening and where are You?” without losing faith in God. Abraham believed God had promised him a son…but he asked, “So how’s this gonna happen, what with me and the wife being old as dirt?”
    How about Job? “The Lord gave, the Lord took away….but I SERIOUSLY do not understand what’s going on.”
    Guilt? Either the devil is lying to you and you can go running back to God–“Tell me again how You gave me Your righteousness. Tell me again that when You look at me, You see YOU.”–or you’ve messed up….and you can go running back to God. “I dropped the ball, as You kind of know already….and I’m going to drop it again. I didn’t want to, or maybe I did, but now I’m sorry. I’m sick with myself and my sin. Please forgive me so that I will feel no more shame when I talk to You.”
    AND THAT. IS. THAT. BECAUSE HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE.

    ….so yeah. Emotions. Valid things. Good post.

    1. Excellent points of emotion from the Scripture, thank you Rachel! It’s horrible how messed up the thinking has been in the churches I’ve gone in and out of with my mom where scritpure has become so tainted, especially when we all thought we were on a better track of thinking than the rest of the nation when it came to being Christians. Except that I as a individual soul was made to feel less because I was a girl who tripped men into sin simply by how my body developed and how one couldn’t enjoy a piece of entertainment because Hollywood might brainwash you if you half blink (that’s really not much of an exaggeration.)

      Thank you again, I have so much un-tainting of scripture to do, it will probably take the rest of my life time to find the actual truth in those verses. *hugs!*

      ~Jamie

  4. Great post! I admire that you have no trepidation at all on taking on the fundamental church. If the church is so against emotion then they may as well edit it out half of the Bible. Growing up in my church experience, there was too much emotion and very little balance.

    1. Thank you! Ah, that is interesting to hear from someone from the other side. If only the benefit of balance was better understood by Christian adults. 8-| 🙂

      ~Jamie

  5. Great post, Jamie. I’m one of those people that has REALLY struggled in the past with favoring my brain over my heart, and I can tell you right here and now that you need BOTH in order to lead a healthy, happy life! If I’d listened to my “gut feelings” (which I am now convinced God gave me), I could’ve avoided a very tumultuous situation last year (or at least gotten myself out of it a lot sooner).

    Emotions are NOT a bad thing. Obviously you don’t want to swing to the other end of the pendulum and favor your heart over your brain–but I don’t think that’s what you’re saying, either! God gave us both; we ought to learn to use them both to their fullest extent!

    1. Thank you! I agree, you do need both! You’re right, I’m not saying one should favor emotions over common sense! You definitely need both! Sadly I’ve seen emotions trampled on too much to ignore the problem any longer. 😛 One church I attended literally scoffed at the term “let your conscious be your guide” which startled me even as a young teenager because I thought the purpose of one’s conscious was God’s way of telling us when we did something wrong or when she should do something right! Why would you ignore your conscious?! But I know you know this already 😉 Thank you for your comment! *hugs!*

      ~Jamie

  6. I love this post.
    My best friend recently shared an article on spiritual abuse in the church that I read and it was the first time I had heard it called out like that. it was very eye opening.
    I am so sorry you have experienced such things. I have been lucky enough to be in a church place where this isnt a problem; but I know it is one elsewhere. Im pretty sure my mom has had some experience with this sort of thing. She read a book once that really messed up her spiritual life for a while and was incredibly abusive. and we recently talked about it actually.

    “you are valid.” thank you for that reminder. I struggle with fear and have my whole life. and I dont like talking about it, and it actually just occurred to me while reading this post that maybe I havent shared my fears before could be due to the fact that I’m afraid to be told to “just get over it” or be given a list of bible verses that state why my fears are irrational. so maybe I do understand more than I thought. but thank you again. you are wise beyond your years and I wish more people understood like you do. I think you’ve been through a lot and those trials have really made you the person you are. they’ve matured you and really grown your faith. which is saying a lot because most people just shy away and grow faint. but not you. thats inspiring.

    basically, you’re awesome and I love your deep inspirational posts. stay awesome!

    1. Thank you very much, Faith! Yes, spiritual abuse is not a well-recognized type of abuse in the Christian culture, which is very scary and sad. I’m glad you are already aware of problem though! I’m sure that article was very good! I’m so sorry your mom has experienced it, I’m so glad she was able to escape the danger.

      I SO understand that fear! That is why for much of my life I’ve kept my problems and fears quiet…because I didn’t want the Bible thrown in my face! It’s horrible! I’m so sorry you’ve felt or even experienced that threat, it’s just a sickening feel when people “seem” to want to help but only make things worse because they don’t understand empathy.

      I have so much fear and pain to grow through and work out still, believe me (I’m wondering if I will ever feel safe in a church again…I was very recently at a church function and literally broke into silent tears because the speaker was talking about “Biblical Womanhood” and I got triggered. It was terribly awful, and I never cry in public.) But I am glad to have learned how to properly identify the problem because it makes dealing with it so much easier; hopefully I can help others by sharing what I’ve struggled through so they don’t feel along either!

      Thank you, girl!! You’re awesome too! *hugs and kisses*

      ~Jamie

  7. Wonderful post. A dear friend once told me, when your emotions get to be too much, put them in a box and hand them to God. He’ll take care of them. He does not want us to deny our emotions, but gives us guidance for how to handle them, what to do with them, how to act with them and asks us to give them to him every day because He cares for us. One verse that overwhelms me often is 1 Peter 5:7 — “Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.” It’s so beautiful. We can feel overwhelmed and anxious and worried and all those emotions, and it’s okay. Give them to Me, He says, and I’ll help you. Anger is not a sin; anger handled badly can lead to it. Joy is a wonderful emotion. The Fruits of the Spirit are a mix of emotions and actions.

    There are church families out there that take care of emotional needs very well. I am blessed to be part of one. I hope you are able to find a place where you feel emotion is accepted and embraced and that you are told that you are valid, because you are. : )

    1. You are very blessed to be part of a church family who understands any of this. From what I have found, little of American’s Christian community understands what it means to emotionally and mentally take care of themselves in a mature fashion. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      ~Jamie

      1. You’re welcome! And I can assure you, we love discussing Star Wars and Doctor Who and other such cool literature and art forms : ) Like I said, I hope you can find a place where all needs, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, are taken care of. If I can help in any way, let me know.

  8. This is the most well-written, compelling, and honest article I think I have ever read. This is such an important message that everyone, Christian or not, needs to hear.

    Your church was not embracing the true spirit of Christ, but I think it is so wonderful that you are taking a stand against the lies they taught and that you are sharing your faith — a faith that does not depend on tearing others down — with the world..

    1. Wow! Thank you very much.

      I’m glad I was able to make a compelling argument for my case. I’m so tired of seeing other people get hurt without even realizing what’s wrong– I just needed to say my piece. It’s really sad that there is a “christian” movement out there who believe they are loving Christ by rolling over others who might not agree with them. It makes me sad. 😦

      ~Jamie

  9. AMEN amen amen! This was an amazing post–not just in content, but it was well thought out and well written.

    I agree with everything you said. It is so sad that posts like this are necessary, but they are. There have been so many times that people use their own personal preferences to judge other’s interpretation of the Bible. And sadly, I’ve seen it push people (including some dear friends) farther away from God. Spiritual abuse seems to be growing and growing. Yet there is almost no awareness for it. Something needs to change.

    One of my friends said something once that never really occurred to me, but I think it’s true: Feeling a certain way isn’t necessarily a sin. We sin when we act incorrectly on those feelings. Many great Christians in the Bible were passionate people and felt emotions deeply. Paul said in Galations 4 that it’s good to be zealous–why can’t Christians remember that??

    What happened to your family is inexcusable and I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through. The people at your church were obviously not walking in love. Even if they didn’t agree, they shouldn’t have made you feel lesser for it.

    Sorry for the book. This is something that really gets me, since I’ve seen it happen so often to people I care about. It’s so awesome that you have grown in your faith through your experiences, Jamie *hugs*.

    Love you, girl!
    ~Emily

    1. Thank you so much; I worked to make the paragraphs flow just right, so I’m glad it paid off. 🙂

      I’m glad you can see spiritual abuse is a growing problem, the more people who recognize it the better. It’s just so sad that a lot of it often comes from Church leadership its self. Maybe the next generation can start righting the wrongs as we fill the shoes. 😦

      That’s a great point. It’s like when Jesus was tempted for forty days and nights. Feeling temptation isn’t sinful, but so many Christians shame other Christians for feeling temptation that we turn it into its own sin. You’re exactly right!

      Thank you for you long thoughtful comment! I love you too!! *hugs!!!*

      ~Jamie

It always makes my day to see your messages! Don't forget to check back, I try to write back to you too! <3

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