Afraid, Alarmed, Amazed – All Those Resurrection Emotions (My Redeemer Lives 2:1)

Emotions are often my best friends and my dirty rotten enemies, all within the same day.

I struggle with ups and downs, sideways movements, and hostage-like situations with glad, sad, mad, and just plain blah.

I was also once congratulated by a nurse during childbirth for my “amazing sense of self-control.” Probably my favorite compliment to date…ever.

So, which person am I? A happy one? A frustrated one? A self-controlled one?

I’m encouraged to know that it doesn’t work like that. I’m not defined by my output, my responses, or my reactions on any given day. If I’m honest, that’s one of my greatest fears — that people will see me, my family will see me, as the woman who lost it while cooking dinner, the woman who exudes joy but cries quietly in the bathroom when she gets a moment, the angry mom from last Tuesday.

Fear and failure are hulking realities in our lives. They cast a shadow on our days and our emotions often top the list of where we think we don’t measure up.

2 Timothy 1:7 is often quoted to aid our Christian walk-

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

When I hear this, my first thoughts are

“Get it under control, Heidi.”

Any time you share this as a meme or share across the table with a friend struggling with emotions, I would venture a bet that this is the message they hear,

“Get it under control.”

But God gives verses in context and that context is always the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Even our emotions are best understood in this context.

So let’s see today what power and message the resurrection has for all those emotions.

Read Mark 16:1-6 to discover more:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

“Do not be alarmed.”

This assumes obvious and vagrant emotions on the part of the women showing up at the tomb – shock, surprise, maybe fear, a mixture.

The Greek word for alarmed in Mark 16:6 is ekthambeisthe, from the root ekthambeó. It’s more closely related to awe and wonder than fear alone. Finding Jesus gone was a shock for these women. Finding an angel, a messenger of God in all his glory, still more shocking. I love that the Helps Word Studies at biblehub.com refers to the Greek text translation as being “out of one’s senses” because of what they saw, what they experienced, the shock of the reality of God’s intervention.

The parallel in Matthew 28:5-10 does directly reference fear though.

Matthew 28:5-

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

The Greek here is phobeisthe from phobeó — withdraw in fear, flee, avoid —but also includes reverence. The words are different and have a different emphasis from the writers. But I think it’s safe to say that what the women experienced at the resurrection was a mixture of emotions

in reference to who they were based on what God can do, who God is.

When we recognize ourselves in relation to God, the power of God, God’s control, God’s perfection, when that’s what we hear on its own with no resurrection context in 2 Timothy 1:7, we will feel completely an utterly

insignificant.

Lost in a world of emotions and their hold on our spirits.

But the context of the resurrection overarching all we know and experience of God changes everything.

He does not define us by moments, by responses, by the angry mom on Tuesday versus the joyful woman in worship.

Jesus’ death and resurrection tells us that He sees us as significant.

His response does not change based on what we feel at the moment — shock, awe, sadness, joy, wonder, anger, fear.

The message of the angel to the women was not just “do not,” but also see who He is –

“He has risen; he is not here.”

Do not be alarmed, do not be afraid, there is no need. I think we read it wrong and out of context. God always reaches out, never pushes away, when Jesus stands as the intermediary. He sees our fear, our frustration, our astonishment and says, “Don’t separate yourself from me. Come in for a closer look.”

The resurrection invites us in for a closer look.

Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7, again-

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The knowledge of the resurrection, resurrection reality in our lives, fans into flame the gift — Christ in our hearts, the Spirit firing up in our souls.

It’s a gift. When we feel overwhelmed, out of our senses with emotions, we can go in for a closer look at God in His Word, be encouraged, be refreshed, and begin to sort it all out in a safe space at His feet.

Prepare to be astonished, amazed, a little afraid, but always significant, no matter the emotion — in His resurrection. What hope do you hear in Jesus reaching out to you in the midst of emotions? What promise does the resurrection hold no matter your state of mind?

You can download this Scripture card and one for every day of the week at PureJoyCreative.com.

Don’t forget this week’s Bible margin to help you reflect as you study.

 

*Greek study references at biblehub.com –

http://biblehub.com/greek/1568.htm

http://biblehub.com/greek/5399.htm

 

Join the discussion by sharing your thoughts and insights in the comments, here and on social media.

 

Catch the week two video here:

Feminine UpRising

Downloadable Video Viewer Guide

Chamomile Tea and Hugs – Practical Tools for Anxiety

Anxiety has been a life long companion for me.

It pops up when I least expect it and it loves to needle at all my deepest insecurities…

I’m not faithful enough to hand it over to God.

I’m not smart enough to stop thinking like that.

I’m not enough…ever…to overcome this issue.

It’s one of the reasons I become so exacerbated when I hear someone quote flippant Bible verses to others about anxiety, or when someone shares a meme that tells me Do Not Be Afraid is found in the Bible 365 times.

I wish it was helpful. I really do. But it never has been for me. It feeds into the not enough aspects that anxiety wields like a sword, but don’t fit with the message of Truth and Love that I see from Jesus when He’s speaking in Scripture.

So, I do what any theologian-therapist-anxiety-prone person does…

I opened the Word to make sense of it all.

Lord, I don’t get it. I don’t understand anxiety and I don’t understand where in the world you are in all of this. Who are You? What is Your message here? Give me true Law and true Gospel and take out all the stuff I want to see, for what you are actually saying. In Jesus, in Him who rescues, Him who delivers, Him who Saves, I pray. Amen.

You know what I found?

Chamomile tea and hugs from a friend go a lot further than advice on how I should overcome it.

Jesus didn’t intend for me to struggle with this alone. He gives me people, connection, and care. When I share my burden, even when I can’t quite put it into words, God does miraculous things. It is still uncomfortable and sometimes I just have to sit in it. But, wow, the inexpressible becomes somehow alive with legs and arms and words. I can externalize what was pent up inside. I can rest because God sends people. God sends the Body.

Even better…

Jesus is that friend.

Some things I just have to sit with on my own. But…not really. Because when He says,

Come to me.

I know He’s for real. He sits in the discomfort with me. His Spirit resides in me, that Helper, that Counselor.

It still feels uncomfortable, but not alone is so much better than not enough.

In today’s podcast we address some of the very Scriptures I struggled to understand, as well as find some practical tools for anxiety and the Spritiual Care of anxiety.

PS – This podcast and blog are not a replacement for local mental health care resources. Please seek out and utilize counselors, psychiatrists, and other professional mental health providers in your local area.

PPS – Did you know that chamomile tea daily has been shown in at least one study to reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety? See the study link here. So, bringing it to visit a friend is a good idea. Now, if only I liked the flavor… 😉

Developing a Theology of Anxiety…and Why It Matters (The Truth about Mental Health)

In the famous words of Lin Manuel Miranda via Hamilton: An American Musical

“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”

My oldest daughter wanted a t-shirt with this phrase on it for Christmas, but low and behold, of all the Hamilton shirts I could find… this one didn’t exist, at least in time for Christmas.

I have a theory. It’s just so much work to even know what we stand for.

It’s work to scour the internet for research on whether news is fake or real. It’s work to decide what matters to us personally. It’s work to jump on another bandwagon when the next day brings a new thing we need to stand up for.

It helps to have a basic foundation. It helps to believe in something greater and bigger and truer than momentary movements and messages.

As you can imagine, I don’t expect you to know how you feel about everything, or take on every social injustice. But if you’re tired of trying to figure out what ideas to keep and which to set aside, it’s time to get into the Word.

There is a theology to everything we think, feel, and see in this life. We have a basic belief system through which we view life. That thing, whatever it is, gives us stability in an ever changing world.

Why do we need a theology of anxiety in particular?

I’m so glad you asked!

Without a basic lens, you feel like you’re watching a tennis match: looking one way and then the next, following the thing of the moment hoping it’s something that matters.

Studying topics and concerns from the foundation of Scripture tells us what God values, how God sees our situation and our need…otherwise we end up feeling sad, alone, and abandoned because He isn’t participating in this life with us or by our rules.  Then we default to whatever sounds like a good idea to help us at any given time, trying one thing, then the next, and the next, so we end up feeling worse.

In this episode, we look at what God values rather than what the world around us values, and how it affects anxiety and the care we offer for anxiety, as well as mental health stigma in general.

After you listen, give us your thoughts! How do you think the foundations we recognize in our life impact mental health, spiritual care, and anxiety in particular?

*Did you know? The ILMS podcast is sponsored in part by Melissa Sue Photo and Design. I highly recommend her! She does much of my graphic art work and is a gifted professional photographer. She is unapologetically enthusiastic about helping people tell their stories! Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Pssst – she’s helping me redesign ilovemyshepherd.com this summer, so look for an exciting reveal in the Fall. 😉