Interrupted! That is how I would describe the spring of 2020, so I am trying very hard to pay attention to what God might be trying to show me and teach me in this time. I have noticed that God speaks the loudest and clearest to me by interrupting, not by harmonizing with the melody that I am trying to sing. One way that God grabs my attention and gives me an opportunity to listen up to hear what He might have to say is when he interrupts my otherwise typical existence through unexpected or intense emotions.
I am a pediatrician, and I think most of us can relate to the unexpected interruption of getting sick or injured. It never comes at a convenient time. We certainly all are experiencing the interruption of the novel coronavirus whether we have been physically afflicted or not.
Recently, a lot has been said about the emerging symptoms of COVID-19. We are finding that the virus is not just identified by fever and cough but in fact it may be manifesting as a rash, or diarrhea, or fatigue. God has been showing me over the past few years that often my emotions are a symptom of problems festering much deeper in my soul. Problems that if left unchecked could ravage my soul.
My emotions are not a problem to be buried or ignored, but rather a symptom of a deeper problem. My emotions are a warning system that something is not right. My soul is being attacked, and if I am wise, I will look for the attacker and not just mask the emotion. You can bring down a fever with Tylenol, but it won’t help kill the coronavirus. And I can “put on a happy face,” but that may not unroot and heal the lie that people only like me for what I can do for them, not for who I am.
When I feel anxiety or fear; when my disappointment is out of proportion to the situation; when I am paranoid that one more bad thing will happen next, I know now that I need to stop. I need to be interrupted and I need to let our great physician, God, attend to my true illness or wound. Sometimes I find when I sit before God with my emotions, He shows me that I have been injured or hurt by someone else, but often I find that my own heart has gotten out of alignment with him. I have believed the illusion that I am in control. I have bought the lie that I only matter if I am young, smart, and beautiful. I have let Satan tell me that I am not likable because I wasn’t invited.
Over years of following God, I have learned to turn to God with my emotions and let Him do the diagnosis and healing. When I turn to God asking him not just to relieve the symptoms but to truly heal my soul, that is when the real work and relief begins. Just as the coronavirus left unchecked in the right environment can ravage the human body, unchecked and undiagnosed emotions can ravage my soul.
As I have allowed God to truly interrupt and get my attention through my emotions, I have seen my mindset shift. I am no longer just looking to get through the “hard time” as fast as I can or blame someone else for why things aren’t going well. I acknowledge my emotion and bring it straight to God. I would say that for me, this is one of the primary ways I hear from God.
When people say they hear God speak, I would not say that I hear an audible voice, but I often am able to tune in to something He is trying to tell me through my emotions. When I notice that my emotions are out of proportion to what I would expect a situation to bring, that is God’s megaphone to me to listen up for Him.
So if your child has a rash, or fever, or diarrhea, or sore throat, bring them to your local pediatrician and they will bring all they know to diagnose and treat the underlying condition. But if you are having fear, and sadness, disappointment and grief, bring that to God, our Great Physician who wants to not just take away the symptoms but also to heal your inner soul. -Dr. Kristen D.