The Surprise of Emotion and How to Take Advantage of It

It came from completely out of the blue. I was answering questions being posed by a wonderful consultant helping our church sharpen our message. The topic of “stability” came up. We were discussing the idea of chaos in the lives of the students in our urban school. I began to speak of our school as the one place of stability in those young lives.

And right out of nowhere I began to cry. For a few moments I couldn’t even speak. Finally I said to the consultant, “I have no idea where that came from.”

She said, “You care.”

My emotion caught me off guard. I wonder if it did for Jesus that dusty day on the other side of the Mt. of Olives. Jesus found out His friend Lazarus had died, and we have the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). He cared more than we will ever know.

My care pales in comparison. But I still can’t deny the emotion I felt at the moment I thought about the impact a ministry very close to me has on lives that need stability so very badly.

It reminded me that we sometimes live our daily lives with emotion that lies right beneath the surface, but we pay no attention to it. I think that’s a big mistake. Paying attention to our emotion, noticing our feelings, and observing our passions does a number of things:

  1. It drives decisions. Recognizing my passion for the students in our school reminded me of the importance we need to place on that aspect of our church’s ministry. It means intentional decisions regarding that area of our work.
  2. It  guides a work day. As we pay attention to emotion it helps us better decide what to do at a given moment. Feeling happy? Complete a task that needs energy. Feeling contemplative? Spend some time studying. Feeling melancholy? Take the time to care for someone else.
  3. It reveals priorities. Paying attention to our emotions is probably the best indicator of what we’re passionate about, what we can’t stand, and why there are certain things that we really enjoy. Let your emotions help you to prioritize your work, your career, even your leisure and play.

I challenge you to pay attention today to your emotions. It may surprise you. You may learn something about yourself. It may even change the direction of your day.

When was the last time an emotion took you by surprise?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “The Surprise of Emotion and How to Take Advantage of It

  1. I had the same thing happen last night while watching the NBC Nightly News. The story was on the famine in the Horn of Africa and how 11.3 million people are in dire need of help. I found myself weeping for minutes. Couldn't get a hold of myself. It's a blessing to care!

    • Isn't it interesting how it just sometimes comes out of the blue? ….Maybe this is a sign that we need to do some work together…