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Feeling Out the Seat of Emotions

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In lieu of Examiner allowing me to write articles on topics other than silly cartoons, I'm going to cheat the system by writing about things important to me and calling them "Book Topics". Why? Along with that being a category of choice for my articles (for some reason) I'm also confidant that someone somewhere could take the random non-cartoony content that I write about and turn it into a book. Chicken Soup for the Soul did it once and now they won't STOP doing it. Plus, I'm the one with the keyboard anyway, so nyah!

This is also the first piece I've written, probably ever, where I have absolutely nothing to go on but my thoughts, so bear with me. Those tend to be messy and sporadic.

One thing that has been on my mind recently and at length has been emotions, and their place in life. For those that don't know it, I am a Bible-believing born again Christian. You also might not know that Christians can be a very, VERY emotional group of people. I, however, am not one of them. I've never been a very emotional guy. Don't get me wrong, most people will tell you I'm a pretty happy guy, smiling and laughing whenever I get the chance. When I say I'm not very emotional, I guess I mean I don't get emotional.

The reason I'm talking about this is because you walk into a lot of churches, you'll notice there is a lot of emotion, be it sadness, joy, anger, and along with that, a lot of tears. People getting so moved by God and the Holy Spirit it literally brings them to tears and moves them in such a way nothing else can or ever will. Even a quick flip through Scripture and you find stories of men so moved by God's will that they begin to weep or jump and down in joy, running around telling everyone what has happened.

But not me. I've never really experienced anything like that. The day I accepted Salvation I was just a kid in an ice cream shop talking with my Sunday School teacher. I knew I needed Jesus and so right there I gave everything up to him. And then I proceeded to finish eating my ice cream. That was it. No tears, I didn't go running to the next table shouting at them what had just happened, and to be honest, nothing felt all that different. No weight off my shoulders, colors weren't brighter, none of that cloud 9 stuff.

When I got to college I got involved with a ministry and they took emotion to new heights. I dare say that emotion was the central focal point from which everything else stemmed for them. Their interpretation of doctrine, their scripture readings, their response to worship, one on one talks, everything just dripped with drama. It was terrible, it made it seem like such responses were mandatory, at times they even taught that! "An honest response to the Holy Spirit is an emotional one." That line resonated with me for a time, and imagine how it made me feel.

For a time, this really bothered me. Like, really REALLY bothered me. Had I done it wrong? Why wasn't I feeling things like so many other people around me were feeling things? This doubt, this lack of emotional response made me question for a long time the validity of my choice. So much so that I got saved at least two more times, that I can remember. I just felt like something in me was broken or I didn't pray hard enough or have my hands folded at just the right angle to get optimum reception between me and God. I hadn't fallen off the wagon and become a rock bottom drunk or some other Hollywood cliche' mind you. Again, nothing so dramatic. I just kept walking along wondering.

At the heart of all this turmoil lies one simple truth, something that could have saved me all the trouble and inner monologue with myself, all the doubt. There simply wasn't anyone around to tell me this is OK. I am simply not an emotional person, and not everyone is. I wish someone had just been able to stand up and say that if you're not like that, you don't feel these certain things in this certain way, then it's OK. It does not invalidate your commitment, your decision, or your salvation.

I learned a long time ago that the seat of the emotions in Greek culture is the bowels. The bowels, of all things. And now I can kind of see why. Emotions can really make a mess of things if allowed. The group I mentioned, they let emotions run everything, and as a result they have hurt people, run people off, and assumed a place of superiority above others. All because of how in tune with God they must be because they cried at the end of the Notebook.

So I guess what I really want to come of this article, this trail of personal thought, is me being the person to tell you that it is OK if you're not the emotional type. It is OK to get saved and not have a dramatic reaction to the experience. There is nothing wrong with you or your relationship with God. People like us just don't experience what others do, but God will work in our lives, shape us, and gradually make us what He wants us to be, just like those with more emotional stories to tell.

So I'm glad I got that off my mind. I'm finally at peace with the experience and if these thoughts can do the same for anyone else, that would be a huge bonus!

If you have any thoughts or want to share your Salvation story please share them in the comment section below. God bless!

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