All the personality tests I have ever taken agree: I’m a “high feeler.” I will readily cry at a moving piece of music, a poignant scene in a film, a tender moment with a friend. For a long time, most of my life actually, I attempted to stifle these feelings, and I didn’t even know I was doing it. I would distract myself constantly. Food was always a go to, along with busyness and an assortment of other vices. Before I could get too overwhelmed with any uncomfortable emotions, I would dive into a new photo project or raid my secret stash of Reese’s peanut butter eggs. I was constantly walking a tightrope of various feelings, and when postpartum depression and anxiety came along, that shaky balancing act only intensified. Even now, this escapist mentality has not been easy to overcome. Prayer, counseling and lifestyle changes have all helped me to tackle it. But what’s most shaped my thinking comes from the very first pages of the Bible, the life-changing truth that:
God created me. The God who created the stars and the cosmos formed me. In other words: God intentionally gave me those deep feelings and big emotions. Rather than embrace this, I let Satan convince me that this part of me was something to be feared, that this “high feeling” part of myself needed to be constantly toned down, much less appreciated and enjoyed.
We’ve been studying the gospel of John this year in our Closer Look at Jesus study (shameless plug--we meet on Wednesday mornings at our Kennett campus!), and this past week, I taught about the Holy Spirit in John 14 and 16. The Holy Spirit’s role is to “lead us into all truth.” He is our “intercessor”, our “counselor.” Jesus did not promise the Holy Spirit as an underwhelming substitute while He was away. He actually told the disciples that it was better that He go away so that the Holy Spirit could come and dwell in us.
Wow. Do you know what that means for me? When I experience a swell of, say, anger, I can submit that anger to God through the Holy Spirit. I can stop, listen and ask, “Lord, what do you want me to do with this anger?” It’s this question in particular that is critical because we have an enemy who wants to use anything he can to tear us down. Satan will quickly try to stoke the fire of that anger, make me withdraw from Jesus or convince me to hold onto bitterness. But God often has a different use for it: He may call me to repent and forgive, to release that anger or even use it to address an injustice or right a wrong for His glory.
The beauty of the variety of gifts and strengths within the body is that they are all essential. The big and small, the loud and the quiet. God’s love and character is wider and deeper than anything we can comprehend, and I think that’s why it’s emphasized all over the Bible that we need the whole body of Christ--to represent all of the ways we are made in his image. So, if I trust that God created me, Megan, as a high-feeling, tender and emotional human being, shouldn’t I also trust that He wants to use those facets of my heart for His glory? The answer, of course, is yes.
God has revealed to me that most of my strengths and gifts are fruit from my “high-feeler” core. When I’m creating and producing films, I feel every second; so I have learned how to produce a piece that makes everyone in the room experience its intended sentiment as deeply as I do. When I’m publicly offering vulnerable details of my life through speaking or writing, I can share boldly and authentically so that no woman out there feels like she is alone. When I’m walking with friends through their own emotions, my empathy allows me to enter in with them, with a God-given tenderness to what their needs are. I couldn’t do these things if I wished away my feelings. Instead, I recognize that they are a gift and ask God how I can steward them well.
So do you struggle with your Type-A personality, wishing you could be more creative and spontaneous? Guess what--the body of Christ needs your orderly and task-oriented sensibilities. (People like me, especially--please don’t leave!)
Are you wondering if your ability to chat up a stranger is really worth anything of value? Don’t you dare wish away that gift. All the introverts are so thankful that you make everyone in the room feel welcome.
Have you found yourself envying the talents of those around you? Then you may have forgotten that you are infinitely loved and created uniquely by God.
He wants to see you come alive in your gifts, all for His glory.
So if you’re struggling today with how you’re wired, bring it to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal how HE sees you.
Will you let Him show you?