Written by Holly Madden, Chapter Development Director of LeadHer. Connect with Holly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

For the longest time, I have believed that it was my overly emotional spirit that kept me from being an effective leader.I used to think that if only I could get my emotions under control, then maybe I could become the strong, passionate woman God is calling me to be. If only my response to hurt, anger or fear was strength instead of tears. If only my response to hurt and pain in the world was answers instead of heartbreak.

If only…

curly-hair-hug-photography-sun-Favim.com-436855When I share that I’m emotional- I mean emotional. I cry at Disney movies, at the stories in the News, in the grocery store when they are out of chocolate ice cream, in the middle of an argument and at coffee dates while my friends share with me about their broken hearts and broken pasts. I am empathetic, feeling, and it’s these very emotions that make me a strong, effective leader.

Emotions are a beautiful gift that connect us closer to our daddy God. Why? Because we serve an emotional God. God feels the pain we feel, He hurts for our heartbreak, He is angry for our injustices and He is deeply hurt by our rejection and lack of trust in Him. His response to his people is more times than not the response from emotion for us or towards us. It was His deep love for us that sent His Son to suffer and to die for us, so that we might be able to live forgiven, redeemed and healed. Author and Pastor, Francis Chan writes, “In our culture, having feelings or emotions is equated with weakness. This is a lie that is deeply ingrained in many of us. God created feelings. Sure, like anything else, they can be misused and abused. But the intent and purpose of feelings came from God.” Emotions are beautiful, purposed, but need to be controlled in order to be effective.

So here are some things that God has taught me about being a good steward of my emotions:

  • When my emotions begin to take control, this should remind me woman-praying-kneesthat I am spending too much time on my feet instead of on my knees. When I go to my daddy God with deep hurt, anger, heartbreak, disappointment, fear, or worry- He exchanges my overwhelming emotion with His peace and His control. Surrender of emotion does not make them cease to exist, it simply gives God control to use them as He chooses.
  • My emotions provide powerful connections between my God and this world. Empathy is a unique gift that allows us to relate to and experience the pain felt in the world. It is this gift that opens the door to share the hope of Jesus’ love, the freedom in His forgiveness and healing, and the truth of His salvation. As women with strong emotions, we can relate to the pain of the hurting like no one else can. Our messages of hope come not only from a place of Biblical knowledge and experience but a place of authentic understanding and empathy.
  • Emotions draw us closer to Jesus.  Emotions connect our humanity to God’s Sovereignty. They draw us closer to His presence in times of worry, fear or hurt. In their purest essence, emotions express our desperate need for our daddy God. It is usually my emotions that send me running to the arms of my Savior; in my hurt and pain, He fills me with his love and compassion.

Emotions have power but they are dangerous when they are given permission to dominate. God can use our emotions just like He can and will use every piece of us- our passion for Him, our story, our gifts/talents and callings- but only if we trust them over to Him. It is not the avoidance of but stewardship of my emotions that make me a strong leader, a compassionate wife, sister, friend and confidant, and an advocate for the things I believe passionately in.

If emotional is a word that you would use to describe yourself: I challenge you to change your perspective. Begin to see your emotions as a gift instead of a curse, as strength instead of weakness, and as a piece of your heart that God will use to impact this world for Him. Shine your light and show your love, always.

Last year, we did a teaching on Reactions vs. Responses. This is a great message by Christie Love to challenge us on how we let our emotions become indicators in our life instead of dictators.