Fight for joy, sad, angry, fear

By Dave Henning / May 12, 2024

“Let’s fight for joy. . . .  But let’s surprise the world and also be sad and angry and scared when it’s fitting — not because our God isn’t big enough to conquer those things, but because He’s big enough to hold those things.  Our faith is big enough to hope in the midst of those things.”- Jennifer Allen

In Chapter 15 (“Your Feelings are Worth Fighting For”) of Untangle Your Emotions, Jennifer Allen stresses that no hard and fast rules exist for untangling our emotions.  Yet, the five gifts of emotional healing described in the previous two blogs assure us we’re on the right path.

Above all, Jennifer encourages us to fight for joy.  But also to fight for sadness and anger and fear.  Because, in some way, hope feels more real in the midst of those things.  More real than on those days when everything falls into place and joy fills us.

Certainly, we all tend to fear the many things we still must face in life.  Because so much of that is out of our control.  Yet, a part of us also wants to see what God has in store.  And that, Jennifer underscores, is how it’s supposed to go.

Yet, Jennifer counsels:

“This process isn’t as organized as I’ve made it sound.  It’s the messiest part of life.  It’s the least likely thing to be controlled.  Even with many of my emotions untangled, they’re still waving in the wind, begging for someone to pick them up on the other side of the rope and make sense of it all.

But the maturity of where I am today is that I don’t need to make sense of it all.  And I don’t need to judge it.  I can live in the tension of pain and happiness all in a given hour.  I can laugh and cry all in a given hour.  And all of that equals a full life that I wouldn’t want to miss.”

Today’s question: Do you agree with Jennifer that we should fight for joy as well as sad, angry, and fear?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Untangle Your Emotions

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Dave Henning

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