Don’t you hear all too often that we as women are “too emotional?” We hear it from our husbands and significant others. We hear it at the workplace. We sometimes hear it from our own children, and we certainly say it to ourselves.
So where do these emotions come from? Are they misplaced? Are we really too emotional for our own good, and if so, how do we manage our emotions so that we stay in control?
Beautiful women of the world, you are unique creatures created for God’s wonderful purposes. You were designed to nurture, care for, and support your mate and your children. You were created with a beauty that would attract the man that God has for you, and with a sensitive and caring nature that your children would find shelter in. You were created to love.
As a part of that love, your design also involves a sensitivity to the things and people around you that, frankly, men do not possess (at least not at the level that most women do). This sensitivity, if not managed well, can cause distress, worry, and depression in your heart if the atmosphere around you is not the fruitful love spring that you so desperately need and desire. It can also cause you to either withdraw, be depressed, or lash out in anger if your needs are not being met.
The emotional well-being of women is equally, if not more, important for those that the woman is designed to care for. Women are the well-spring of life in society and are the backbone for the emotional health of its men and children. If you take a look at our society today, you will find that our sisters are not doing so well on this front, and their lack of emotional stability has caused a ripple effect among men and children in our communities. I am not negating the fact that both men and children in society must accept responsibility for their actions and do a better job in their respective roles, but women have traditionally and always will be the center of emotional well-being for their families, churches, the community and the world. That is how, and why, we were created by God.
Does that seem fair? Perhaps not. For example, like many of you there are times when I would like to fall apart, have a moment to feel sad, upset, or withdrawn, or simply have a quiet moment to myself to think and contemplate. But what happens? “Mom, I need X! Mom, I can’t find Y! Mom, Mom, Mom!” Or, the phone rings. Or dinner has to be made. Or clothes need to be washed. Or I have a project to finalize by the next day. By the time all of these tasks are complete, I have either fallen asleep in front of my computer or locked myself in the bathroom for a minute’s peace.
For those of you without children, widowed, or those living with your significant other, life for you is not any easier. Living alone brings its own challenges, dealing with loneliness and feelings of rejection and/or depression over not feeling wanted or needed. Being a widow is equally, if not more difficult, having once experienced love and now being without the love of your life. And finally, living with a significant other, especially one that may be emotionally detached or insensitive can feel worse than simply living alone. It seems that no matter where we are on life’s continuum, our emotional well-being is always an issue and almost inevitably brings out the best (and the worst) in all of us.
So how do we gain control over our emotions to become the wellspring that our families, our communities and our workplaces so desperately need?
In the Bible, the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, gives us an illustration of how we as women can take hold of our emotions and live the life that God intended for us to live. In verse 1, we learn that Jesus went through a town called Samaria to get to Galilee. In that town was a well-known well, Jacob’s well, and the Samaritans would draw water there. Jesus, tired from his travels, sits down by the well to rest.
At the “sixth hour,” a Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw water. Jesus asks her “Will you give me a drink?” The woman replies “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Now, Samaritans and Jews like Jesus did not associate with one another, so the woman found Jesus’s request strange.
In verse 10, Jesus says to her “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The Samaritan woman thinks about what Jesus has said and quips “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”
In verse 13, Jesus answers her in a way that is instructive to all of us as women and is the key to our emotional well-being: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Hearing this, the woman says “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Now, in verse 16, we encounter what appears to be a turn of events. In response to the woman’s request for living water, Jesus tells the woman to call her husband and come back. When the woman responds “I have no husband,” Jesus says to her “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” Later, the woman leaves her water jar at the well and goes back to the town testifying about Jesus. As a result, many Samaritans believe in Him.
So how does this story help us achieve emotional stability and well-being? Let’s briefly break this thing down into several points:
1. The Samaritan woman had emotional problems that manifested in several failed marriages and a relationship with a man that was not her husband. This man could have been someone else’s husband, or simply not the husband that God ordained for her. Whatever the case, there were some emotional challenges that kept this woman unfulfilled and longing for wholeness.
2. The woman desperately wanted help in overcoming these issues, as illustrated by her request to Jesus to supply her with “living” water. To be sure, she had regular refueling periods in her life (and her five husbands likely provided that temporary respite from loneliness, etc.), but what she truly longed for was a relationship that would supply her with a continuous, steady stream of love and refreshing. Jesus had just the relationship she was looking for!
3. Jesus purposely went through Samaria to get to Galilee, with the intent of encountering this woman and revealing himself to her (see John 4:26). Before He encountered the woman, He knew about her brokenness, her relationship woes, and her need to be emotionally whole. Most importantly, Jesus–unlike her ex-husbands and the man that she was with at the time–had exactly what the woman needed in just the right amount.
4. Before asking her to go and get her husband, Jesus knew that the woman did not have a husband. He asked her the question so that the woman would acknowledge and come face to face with her emptiness and desire for love and wholeness. Jesus wanted the woman to accept her brokenness and end her pattern of seeking what she so desperately needed from men, so that she could receive what He came to the well to give her: an endless supply of living water.
5. The woman’s confession of loneliness (by acknowledging the fact that she had no husband) and Jesus’s subsequent supply of Himself and His Word to fill that loneliness caused that woman’s need for validation from others to disappear. She drops the water jar (v. 28) as a sign to us that she has found a different, more permanent supply of emotional “juice” and no longer needs to keep going back to her place of brokenness (the well) for a temporary fix.
Radiant sisters, isn’t it amazing that our place of brokenness can also be the site of our own deliverance? How is that so? Because before we can receive help for our emotional challenges, we must confess and acknowledge that we are hurting. If we keep our emotions hidden from sight, deny that they exist, or manage them with binge eating, alcohol, sex, drugs (legal or illegal), busyness, religion, or work (and the list could go on), we stay in a place of denial in which we can never be healed. There was only one way that the Samaritan woman could finally receive the emotional stability that she so desperately longed for: by acknowledging that things were not okay and that she needed help.
When we get to a place where we are tired of the same old routine, run down, or fed up, that is the time to go to God the Father and say “God, I need your living water. I need you to help me to manage my emotions and to respond to this situation or circumstance in a way that does not result in me suppressing my feelings or lashing out in frustration at my family. God, I need a spring to well up in me so that I can be a fountain of life and emotional wellspring for my family, my co-workers, and my girlfriends.” It is also a time to seek help from others and advise them of what we need to move forward in a healthy way.
If you are like the Samaritan woman and desire to receive a permanent solution to your “emotional drought” problem, then repeat this prayer with me:
Jesus, I acknowledge that my emotions are out of control and as a result I have acted in a way that is not pleasing to you or edifying to others. I have allowed my emotions to get the best of me at times and cause me to lash out in anger and frustration at my loved ones or to withdraw from those that need me the most. I feel hurt and misunderstood at times, and I have tried so many other things to satisfy the desire in my heart to be complete, whole, and happy. Lord, I am coming to you broken, empty, and needing you to fill me with Your Living Water, so that I can become a spring of water that others can draw from. Give me an endless supply of your joy, peace, and contentment, so that my behavior is consistent with Your Word, and forgive me if I have done or said anything that was not pleasing to you or hurtful to myself and others. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.
For some women, medication and/or counseling may be necessary to deal with physiological changes or medical conditions that may exist. If you believe that your issues may stem from a physical or mental condition, then I would strongly encourage you to see a doctor or a psychologist for assistance. If your emotional imbalance stems from external sources (i.e. family problems, marriage woes, or challenges with your children) then I would suggest seeing a family counselor, pastor, or trusted, Godly advisor for support. And if there is a chemical dependency (drugs, alcohol, etc.), then I would ask you to strongly consider a counseling program and/or medical intervention to deal with these issues. The bottom line is this: Jesus wants you to be whole, healthy, and emotionally well, and has put resources in your path to help you to get there.
Sisters, we have a job to do. We have communities to lead. Families. Workplaces. The world. Sure, we can do it from a place of imbalance, brokenness, and constant bouts with depression. We can continue in our normal course of things, being strong one minute and crying in hopelessness the next. We can continue to put on a front for others, as though we have it all together, only to go home and fall apart. We do such a good job of masking our emotions, employing the rationale that we are protecting those we love from our erratic mood swings. But who are we fooling? Certainly not God.
I pray that we all take the first step in acknowledging our inability to manage our emotions and God’s desire to help us achieve emotional balance. Not only is our own well-being at stake, but the welfare and vitality of our families, our cities, and the world. Sisters, come out of hiding in the bathroom stall at work or at home and get the help that you need to move to the next level in life. Everything that you want and need can be found in Jesus when you give it all to Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Yours in the Journey, Anique