Trust him at all times, you people.
Pour out your hearts in his presence.
God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8 (GWT)
Emotional honesty means being able to express our real thoughts, feelings, and desires – no matter how messy and embarrassing they might be.
Ask yourself, how easy is it for you to admit feelings that you know are “wrong”? Do you talk yourself out of feelings, giving yourself reasons why you should or shouldn’t feel the way you do? If so, you may need some help learning to identify and express your real emotions.
God desires emotional honesty (Psalm 51:6), but as someone who values perfection and the approval of those around me, I find letting down about my real thoughts and feelings very difficult. If you can relate, here are some tips to help connect your heart to God.
Value What God Values
No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
It’s impossible to be emotionally honest if we care more about getting praise from people around us than God. God praises us every time we decide to be honest and humble, not when we cover up the truth so we can look good (James 4:6).
For me, learning to value honesty takes small daily decisions to think about pleasing God when I’m tempted to hide. It’s the decision to speak up when I’m scared, to be truthful when I’m angry, or to risk being wrong.
What thoughts and feelings are you most tempted to hide? Why?
Use An Emotions Chart
It may sound too easy, but something as simple as an emotions chart can revolutionize your relationship with God.
But you have to be humble enough to use it! Do you get offended or embarrassed at the idea of needing this kind of tool? If so, your pride could be standing in the way of an intimate relationship with God.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Download an emotions chart and use it daily to identify the top 3-5 feelings you have before you pray. Then, pray about those feelings.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Not being emotionally honest really just means we have ignored our feelings for a long time. I find that the things I feel most about are the things I tend to avoid. I avoid thinking about them, talking about them, or praying about them.
The Bible teaches that anything we ignore or harden our hearts to will cause damage in our life. It will separate us from the destiny God has for us and it will lead to a life full of sensuality and greed. Understanding these consequences helps me want to work at being more aware and honest.
What areas of your life do you tend to avoid thinking about, talking about or praying about? Your marriage? Your future? Your fears of rejection or your feelings of loneliness? Your family? How has ignoring these feelings affected you?
Jot down a list daily of the things you might be tempted to avoid and decide to talk to God about them.