At some point in our lives, we are all going to experience negative emotions. That’s right. Suffering will come. And the emotions associated with suffering…guilt, shame, sadness, despair, anger…they will follow. What we do with these emotions says a lot about our relationship with God. Regardless of your current emotional health, there is a step you can take right now. It’s called joy. And it is possible in all circumstances if you know where to find it. This week, we will explore the source of joy as we seek to live in an emotionally and spiritually healthy way.
Regarding your own emotional health, where do you find yourself on the spectrum of stoicism (suppressing emotions) to emotionalism (ruled by emotions)?
How would you rate your ability to see beyond the circumstances in front of you? As you look at the words Paul wrote in Romans 5, how does this path apply to the painful or difficult situations in your life? Can you remember a time where a situation produced hope like he describes?
What are some things people know you as? How are you identified? Do you tend to find your identity and place your hope in those labels? Why or why not?
What does choosing joy look like for you right now? What is your plan to either be prepared for suffering or to deal with the suffering you are in at the moment? How will you engage with your suffering rather than ignore it?