What Jesus Taught Us About Dealing With Emotional Pain

images (9)Have you ever been in emotional anguish? I sure have…and I stayed there far too long. I just didn’t know how to leave that place. The depression and anxiety felt like too much to bear at times. I tried talking to friends. To counselors. To doctors. But their kindness and compassion wasn’t enough to pull me out of that pit. In Luke 22 we find Jesus in the garden of gethsemane. Knowing that the cross was before him, he was in emotional anguish. His disciples were hurting too. Verse 45 tells us that they were emotionally exhausted from sorrow. They chose to sleep. The emotional pain and heaviness just felt like too much to bear.  I can relate. How many times I tried to escape emotional pain by sleeping it off. While it may have looked like a solution, it never brought on-going healing. The pain always came back to face another day.

Jesus had a very different response to the anguish in His heart. He stayed awake. He pressed into His heavenly Father. He was very intentional in how He responded to His emotions. Luke 22:44 says,

And being in anguish, he {Jesus} prayed more earnestly.”

How was He able to press through? We might assume it was because, well, He was God. Or did he draw on something else? Perhaps some tools that we can also draw on? How do we press past the temptation to sleep off our pain?

One thing that the Lord taught me is that physical posture matters. When I’m physically exhausted from emotional pain, I need to stay on my feet when praying. I pace back and forth as I pray. Pacing somehow subdues my flesh. It helps me stay mentally focused.  If I go down on my knees when I’m emotionally or physically exhausted, I’m a goner. It just doesn’t work for me. Going for a walk is another way that I press through in prayer. As I walk, I just talk to the Lord about what’s on my heart. My emotional needs list becomes my prayer list. As I walk, I mull things over in my mind with the Lord. And He gives me clarity and a new perspective.

Another thing that the Lord taught me is that timing matters. The time to process our emotional pain is when we’re in pain. This might sound like stating the obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. It doesn’t always seem obvious in the moment, because it isn’t always convenient to practice this one. We may be in a public place when it happens. The key here is not to assume we need more time to talk to God about our pain than we do. Don’t have a lot of time? Then give God 2 minutes. Just find a bathroom and tell God what you’re feeling. It doesn’t take an hour. Just find some adjectives that describe your pain… “Lord, I’m scared.” Or Lord, I’m SO angry right now.” Or whatever the emotion is. Tell God what you’re feeling. Which leads me to the last point…

Honesty matters. It’s so easy to believe that we have to pretty up our emotions before we can tell God about them. But He already knows what we’re feeling. Confessing those feelings doesn’t offend God. As a matter of fact, it brings God into our situation. When we do that, He can help us. It’s when we hide our emotions from God that we block Him from helping. There are times when we know our emotions aren’t what they ought to be. Maybe we’re feeling hatred or jealousy. Maybe we feel offended. Confessing those feelings is the first step. It often leads to repenting of what’s in our hearts when we’re honest. That’s when restoration can happen. Then emotional healing comes, and our hearts can find rest.

May emotional healing be yours today,


One thought on “What Jesus Taught Us About Dealing With Emotional Pain

  1. sallyball8323 September 8, 2019 / 11:55 am

    A profound and interesting post. Yes, we need to be honest before the Lord in expressing our emotional pain. I was in the garden of Gethsemane a few years ago. There are huge old Olive trees there. I felt sad for Jesus, because he had asked for prayer support from the disciples during his great time of need, and they fell asleep. However, the Lord is always awake and listening to us when we tell him of our needs. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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