Waves of emotion

Maybe it's the summer trips to the beach and seeing the waves or the waves of morning sickness that come with pregnancy. Either way, I recently asked God about emotions. I've heard it said that you can't let emotions drive the car, but you can't keep them in the trunk either (Source: Messy Parenting Podcast). So one day in prayer, I asked God how to handle emotions. He gave them to us so they are good, but sometimes they seem to have the front seat. We see how beautifully Jesus expressed emotions: sorrow over Lazarus' death, anger in the temple, and even joy, "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross..." (Hebrews 12:2). So they are good. 

God answered me in a very visual way. I found myself imagining I was buoying on boogie board in the ocean. A wave was coming in the near distance. I realized had three choices: 

First, I could catch the wave and ride it in.
Second, I could buoy over it.
Third, I could let it pummel me.

God showed me that our emotions are like waves. When we see a wave, an emotion coming, we must decide what we're going to do. Sometimes we choose to ride it in and enjoy it! This is when we accept our emotion as part of the situation, but we let our reason and will guide it safely to shore. Other times we choose to buoy over it.  Even when we buoy, we are active. We sometimes have to swim out to it so it doesn't crash on us. Buoying is when we let the emotion pass without letting it take root in us. Like the wave, it comes and goes without harming us.

The only time we get pummeled by the wave is when we don't choose what we're going to do when we see it coming. The same is true in our emotions. We get pummeled when we know an emotion is coming and we let it take over. It crashes over us. We get turned around upside down. We don't know which way is up. When we finally reorient ourselves there are some scrapes. We've been hurt. When our emotions get the best of us we get tossed around.

God doesn't want us to get pummeled by emotions (or waves!) He wants us to keep our eye on the horizon for the coming waves. Sometimes the waves in the far distance look big, but when the reach us they're small and vice versa. Our focus must be on the one that is next. 

The waves are going to keep coming. It's part of human nature. It's life. It's up to us to decide.  

Will you ride or buoy?