Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8 NIV)

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. (Psalm 22:2-3 NIV)

Most of us learned at an early age to believe some emotions were good and acceptable to express, and while others were bad or unacceptable. But in fact, emotions are not good or bad, they just are just expressions of our feelings. How we react to them – the actions we take as a result of our emotions – are when moral judgements can apply. For example, it is perfectly normal and healthy for a bride and groom to feel joy, happiness, and excitement on their wedding day and to express it by smiling, laughing, and kissing each other. It’s also completely normal to feel sadness, grief, and loss and to express it by crying when we attend the memorial service of a loved one. But it would not be appropriate to hurt a loved one in a physical way because we are feeling grief, anger, or loss.

Every emotion each of us has ever felt is expressed somewhere in the 150 poems of Psalms, and most are mentioned many times. In Psalm 13, David expresses frustration with God’s timing, a desire for circumstances to change, and a request for God to rescue him. In Psalm 4, David describes in his prayer a sleepless night and God’s answer to his current distress. David has a conversation with God about his future, his request for guidance and instruction by God, and a request for help in Psalm 25. Psalm 8 and Psalm 19 express joy and praise to God for his beautiful and intricate creation and God’s amazing desire to have a relationship with men. In Psalm 37, David writes on many of God’s promises and what we should and should not do as a result.

Many Psalms are written as if we are allowed to see a conversation between the psalmist and God. Others describe the psalmist pouring out his heart, his pain, and his need to God. I believe the Psalms show us that our emotions are valid, real, and God-given. We are to bring our emotions to God in prayer. God is a safe place for us to express our emotions – whatever they may be – happy, sad, angry, peace, frustration, anxiety, trust, calm, or pain. Read one of the Psalms listed above. Use it as a springboard to talk to God about your emotions, about how you should express them, and what He would want you to do with your emotions.