Seattle — Day 42: Colorful Heart
Background — If you haven’t been following the past blog posts and/or don’t know too much about me, I’d like to provide a bit of context before I write this post. For the past year or so now, I’ve been dealing severe emotional numbness. For the large majority of the year, I wasn’t able to “feel” anything, both sad and happy, aside from being in my secret place. My heart was damaged, and very broken, to the point that it became incredibly unbearable. Due to my childhood inherent tendency to suppress pain, I would hide this from those surrounding me by eliciting response from my body, whether it be smiling, frowning, changing body postures, in attempt to mask the true disposition of my heart — numb. To be frank, this is still where I am. Praise the Lord that He has been restoring my heart, my emotions, as I, and beloved friends, desperately make pleas to Him to heal me and restore my heart. But I can’t deny the fact that it’s still hard to feel happy even when there’s really favorable events that come towards my way or those around me, and on the flip side, it’s difficult to feel sadness or sorrow when unfortunate events by sight occur. My heart is in a wilderness, even though my mind and spirit are clinging desperately for Jesus.
The reassurance in life is that as believers, we are called to a life of faith, not by sight, not by how we feel, not by what we lack. But a life in Christ by faith. I’m thankful that we, as believers in Christ, are able to chase after the Son even when there is no feelings. When life feels so empty, even though I know how full I am in Christ. Make note that I firmly believe in Christ, and the Gospel. I assert that Christ is Lord of my life and Savior of my soul. But I am currently in a state where there is rarely any emotional response in my life, aside from when I’m in my secret place with Jesus. Alright, that’s the end of the context.
I think that there’s a misconception in church teachings that people are suppose to be put together when they meet Jesus, or to get a little bit more specific, that people are suppose to stay put together, and if they don’t, then they “clearly” don’t live for Him. However, the word speaks true in that the Lord calls not the strong and mighty, the healthy and rich, the famous and sturdy, but calls the weak, poor, hungry, broken, sick, desperate, lonely, depressed, humble ones.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” — Psalm 51:17
It was honestly incredibly frustrating when I first acknowledged that I was in a state of emotional numbness. I knew that my life wasn’t spiritually numb. I was praying, reading my word, striving for more of Jesus, knowing that I was His and His alone. However, as suffering and hardship came my way, when pain began entering my life, my heart, unintentionally shut down. It didn’t want to feel the pain that was trying to make it’s way into the forefront of my life. So I began thinking if I wasn’t following Jesus. I began to doubt whether of all of this, my entire life was a joke, and that everything was a pseudo-Christianity that I had been living for. Praise the Lord that He intervened and assured me that chasing Him is greater than our current emotional state. Not only that, but praise the Lord that He filled me with hope that He could not only restore my heart, but would give me a brand new one in return.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26
One of my favorite pastors in Matt Chandler always says this quote, that I constantly repeat over and over again with those whom I love. This life, in following Jesus is a progress, not perfection. How refreshing is that? How Jesus isn’t calling you to be perfect the moment you accept Him, or when you come out of prayer, or even before entering into prayer. He’s not calling you from your perfect old self, but in your weak, sinful, selfish, prideful self to come to the water and drink from His mercy.
Have you ever read the book called The Giver? The story tells the tale of a protagonist named Jonas that is raised in a Utopian society. The fact is, like all Utopian societies, other than Heaven, there are millions of problems with it. In this particular case, the society is deprived of all emotions, feelings, colors, and even remorse. This is because in this world there isn’t any suffering, war, turmoil, or hardship. Therefore, because the members of the society have felt no sorrow, there is also no reason, and no natural way for them to feel joy (take all of this into account because there is no Christ in this society aha). But getting back to Jonas, the society works in a manner where once children reach the age of 12, they are then assigned to their job as a member of society. Some are chosen to teach, others painters, but Jonas is chosen to be the successor to The Receiver.
The Receiver, or otherwise known as the Giver, is the man in the society who holds all memories of the past, before the Utopia was established. Therefore, the Giver is able to feel remorse, sorrow, joy, etc. As the successor, Jonas begins to receive these memories from the Giver through touch (The book doesn’t specify how). What begins to happen is that as Jonas begins to receive these emotions, he begins to feel, and begins to have a greater perception of what the world truly around him is like. The major key point that the story uses to convey this is the concept of color. Prior to Jonas receiving any memories, everything around him is dull. There’s no color to him, or anything surrounding him. Only when he begins to receive the fullness of these memories, both good and bad, does Jonas get a full comprehensive understanding of what the world truly is like. Jonas begins to see color.
Imagine that. That the God who calls Himself a Healer, Jehovah Rapha, is faithful to His name, in that He heals us. He restores color in our dull lives. Sure right now so much of it seems like grey like in the story of the Giver, but oddly, I still have the “memories.” Even though I can’t feel the “colors” surrounding me all the time, I can cling to the promises that God has given me in His word. I can cling desperately to the bible knowing that it is trustworthy. And I’m reminded today that in the numbness, God is not calling me to stay there, but to seek Him so that I may be fully restored. That even if more trials come and shatter my fragile, fickle heart yet again, He will be here waiting to comfort and restore me. He is constantly giving and pouring into me so that I may be more like Him, especially in His heart. What an incredible privilege and blessing it is to share in the likeness of His heart.
Maybe some of you reading are like me. It’s been difficult to feel things, to have any kind of emotional response. Perhaps its frustrating you, or even, you’re enjoying the numbness and want it to stay. I urge you, please pray that the Lord would renew your heart. You were not meant to be an emotionless being. You’re emotions were meant to push you towards Christ, and to be used for His glory. Thus the reasoning of Him commanding us to love the Lord with all our mind, soul, strength and heart.
Maybe some of you reading are on the complete opposite end. You struggle with being too emotional. You’re easily overcome by the flurry of emotions that come your way when someone rebukes you, when something doesn’t go your way, or even in pleasures that you indulge in. I want to remind you that to feel, to have any kind of emotional response is a privilege and a gift. Take note to steward properly this gift the Lord gave to you in your heart. Do not try to suppress all these emotions when the goings get tough, but please. Pray that the Lord would counsel you to exercise self-control, patience, and rightfully steward your emotions in a manner that pushes you and others around you towards Jesus. Your emotions aren’t meant to be suppressed, but yielded over to Christ, to yield you heart to Christ.
Jesus makes like joyful. He makes life worth living for. He fills us with awe and wonder for His name, His creation, and what He is willing on this Earth and in Heaven. He is doing mighty things. He fills us with purpose. He renews passion. He strengthens the weak. He feeds the hungry. He comforts the broken. He heals the sick. Jesus makes life colorful. And He can bring this for you. Call upon His name, and He will answer.
Please join me in the prayer for my heart to become whole again. I would like to feel emotions on a more consistent basis that like once every two weeks. I want to be able to be happy for friends, and to be sorrowful for those around me who are suffering. I want to be able to share in God’s heart, and not just His desires and plans for this world and my life. I want to be able to feel what He feels, so that I may be more like Jesus. Thank you.