by Tyler Quillet
What do you turn to when you are facing difficulty? What do you do with your emotions? How do you cope with the hard stuff? Where does your focus go?
As men, our tendency is to bottle up the emotion, turn away from that which is healthy, and either turn inward or toward the unhealthy. For me, I bottle it all up. My anger, sadness, fear, grief, I stuff it down deep. My natural bent is to turn away from God, not because I’m mad at him, but because I don’t like to address my emotion. My natural bent is to turn away from my wife, for the same reason. Each time I face hardship, I have to work REALLY hard to give that stuff to Jesus and to talk through it with my wife. I have to make a conscience decision to turn towards instead of turning away.
If all we do is stuff it away, it’s eventually going to blow. You’re eventually going to blow. Stuff pain, anger, grief and fear away long enough, and there’s only so much you can take. Put too much water in a balloon and what happens? Put too much food in a stomach and what happens? Put too much un-addressed emotion into your heart and what happens. It isn’t good, is it? There’s only so much that can be handled, and, then, BOOM!
What if instead of stuffing, what if instead of turning to other things, what if instead of leaving our emotions unaddressed because we don’t know what to do with them, we simply did/said this:
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
-2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV)
As we endure hardship and the emotion that comes with it, what if our simple response to the Lord was, “I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you”? Too often, I think that Christians feel like they have to do this, this, and this in order to remain faithful. But Jesus is simply asking us to keep focused on Him. To trust Him. To cling to Him. So, it’s ok to say, “I don’t know what to do here”. It’s even better to say, “I’m keeping my focus on You, though.”
Men, as you remain focused on the Lord in your times of emotion, the pouring out of your heart to the Lord will come naturally. Turning to your wife instead of away from her will come naturally. Processing your emotion will come naturally. Why? Because a heart focused on the Lord is going to respond to Him in a way that honors and glorifies Him. A heart that trusts and looks to the Lord is going to trust the Lord with whatever emotions are currently at play.
So, men, if you aren’t currently overwhelmed with emotion, you will be. And, when you are, turn to the Lord in trust, saying, “God, I don’t know what to do here, but my eyes are on you.” He’ll meet you in that place and do a work in your heart. You can trust that!
Tyler Quillet is the Discipleship Strategist for the Custom Bible Study team at LifeWay Christian Resources. He lives in the Nashville, TN area with his incredible wife, Cathie, and two boys, Cylas and Bowen. Tyler also speaks, writes, and coaches alongside Cathie as they pour into and love on the infertile community through Cathie’s “The Missing Peace Project”. Tyler previously spent 15 years as a pastor and is passionate about serving churches and pouring into church leaders in a variety of ways.