So much of your energy may be spent maintaining your life on the surface—your physical needs, your appearance, your life experienced through your five senses. But there’s a world that lies below the surface of your life too—a part of you that can often get ignored or never fully developed. It’s the world of your emotions. It’s impossible to grow spiritually without also growing emotionally. In other words, you can’t be spiritually mature without also being emotionally mature.
Just below the surface of our lives lies a world filled with mystery and intensity. It is the world of our emotions. Our feelings can go unidentified and even ignored. But they are exerting influence in our lives whether we recognize it or not. Growing spiritually implies that we are also growing emotionally and that we are able to name the feelings we’re experiencing.
Do you recall a personal experience of intense emotions? Describe the circumstances surrounding your feelings. What were those emotions? Why do you think you were feeling those feelings?
Emotions and the spiritual life can sometimes be a flammable mixture. What are the dangers of emotionalism in following God? What dangers could be present in suppressing your emotions as you pursue a relationship with God and others?
Read the following verses and identify the emotions that Jesus felt: Luke 19:41, 10:21, 14:34, Mark 3:5, Luke 7:13, Mark 6:6, Luke 12:50. Why is it important to label the emotions that we are feeling? Does this practice come easy for you or do have difficultly identifying your feelings?
The Book of Psalms is not only the songbook of the Scriptures but it is also a book filled with raw emotion and response to God. Read Psalm 77. What emotions does the Psalmist express?
We cannot grow spiritually without also growing emotionally. How is the emotional part of our lives also part of our spiritual life as well? What insights can you find in Psalm 9:1 and Psalm 103:1 that provide insights to answering that question?
In looking below the surface of our lives it’s important that we learn to label the emotions we are feeling. Here are the eight families of emotions: Anger, sadness, fear, enjoyment, love, surprise, disgust, and shame. Which three of these emotions do you most often experience?