What role should emotions play in our Christian faith? Dr. Anita Phillips, trauma therapist, minister and life coach, uses Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 to show how emotions are the soil in the ground that allows the Word of God to take root in our lives and transform us.

This podcast conversation, hosted by NAE President Walter Kim, discusses the importance of emotional health and how emotions are not something to fear, but rather something to embrace.

You’ll also hear Dr. Anita discuss: 

  • How emotions are integral to spiritual growth;
  • What recent discoveries in neurobiology echo what we find in Scripture;
  • What misconceptions some Christians have about emotions; and
  • How Christians can lead in spaces of emotional well-being.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Walter: We’ve been talking about gardening, the the tilling of the ground, emotions, that pain is a part of life. Take us through some examples of what transformation actually looks like that involves our emotions, the neurobiology and the framework of Jesus’ vision for the abundant life?

Dr. Anita: … I want you to see that [the garden] is a lesson plan that God wrote. It’s super simple. And so the transformation and how we engage with our emotions begins with just allowing ourselves to feel [emotions] without condemnation, and that’s tremendously freeing in itself. It’s been my experience, and when people hear that part, they’re already freer than they’ve ever been, because it’s like, “Oh, I’m allowed to cry this out. I’m allowed for the grief to last for longer than I wanted to. I’m allowed to be angry. I’m allowed to experience the emotion of fear.” We’re not talking about a spirit of fear, but the motion of fear is human, so just embracing that.

Allowing yourself to express and release emotional pain [is what] keeps what I call “the flow” going. Emotion is like water in the soil. When it’s completely dry, nothing happens. But when we’re feeling, things are flowing. When we’re in pain, allow it to be expressed and allow it to flow through. That keeps the soil healthy. Emotional health is not pain free. It’s allowing ourselves to feel all of our feelings in the moment that we’re experiencing them and then letting them pass on.

Here’s the lesson that I want to definitely teach. Emotional pain is a form of hunger. When we are hungry we eat and then we are satisfied because we needed food. When we eat, we do expect to be hungry again later today, tomorrow and next week, because as long as we are alive this need will get met and it will continue to be needed and met. When we are sad, that is a hunger pain for connection. When we are angry, that is a hunger pain for value and for boundaries. We get angry when something valuable is treated less than valuably … And then when we’re afraid, that’s a hunger pain for safety. And so what I want you all to do is when you experience that pain, recognize it is indicating a need and move to get the need met.

Share the Love

If you enjoyed the program, please rate it on iTunes and write a brief review. That will help us so much!

Relevant Resources

Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Care Net.