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Have you ever been told that you're too emotional? Have you ever heard people say, "Emotions are unspiritual. You need to ignore your feelings and live by faith"? If they are right and we are supposed to ignore our emotions, then why did God give them to us in the first place?

I would like to assure you that there is nothing wrong with your emotions. Emotions were designed by God for a reason. God designed you to feel because you were created in His image—and God feels! More than 2,000 instances in the Bible refer to the emotions of God.

It seems obvious why a loving God would create positive emotions such as joy, peace, excitement and confidence. But why would unpleasant, negative emotions such as loneliness, grief, rejection, despair, anger and frustration be a part of His creative plan for us?

Emotions, both positive and negative, were created by God to reveal the condition of the human spirit. Negative emotions are a warning sign that something is wrong. Just as physical pain reveals that there is something wrong with our bodies, negative emotions signal that something requires attention in our spirits. They are evidence that damage has been done—whether by us or by someone else—and that we are in pain.

If you are suffering from emotional pain, pay attention to the six "don'ts" of emotional fitness:

1. Don't ignore it! Ignoring the warning signs will not make them go away any more than ignoring a gas gauge that registers "empty" will allow your car to continue to run.

2. Don't excuse it! Many of us make excuses for our emotional pain rather than looking at the problem that's causing it.

3. Don't decorate it! Many times we decorate our pain with pretty houses, pretty clothes and prestigious positions.

4. Don't cover it up! Many of us cover up with accomplishments and excessive activity.

5. Don't pretend it's not there! Many of us have no idea why we're feeling pain because we pretend that everything is OK.

6. Don't postpone dealing with it! If you put off dealing with your warning signs, they will eventually deal with you.

When a warning light comes on in a car, putting a piece of black tape over the light won't fix the car. When a car needs repair, it should be taken to a mechanic, someone who knows how the car works and understands how to fix it. Otherwise, it will eventually break down completely, leaving the driver stranded.

The same is true of our emotional states. If we deny our negative emotions, covering up the warning signals of our spirits, we will slowly die inwardly. God is a God of truth—and only the truth can set us free. We need to go to Him with our pain and allow Him to heal us.

It's time to get real with God. Voice to Him your bitterness, jealousy, envy, hatred and resentment. Invite Him into the dark places where you hide your pain. He promises to be your strength when you're weak. He will be a light in your darkness.

The woman with the issue of blood described in the fifth chapter of the gospel of Mark knew where to turn when she needed healing. "If I could just touch the hem of His garment, I would be healed," she said, referring to Jesus. She was determined to push through any obstacle to get to Him.

Jesus is your answer, too. He knows and understands your pain, and He loves and accepts you in your frail condition. When your little bit of faith lays hold of the power of Jesus, He is able to grant you peace and freedom—and in His time, healing.

PRAYER POWER WEEK OF 1/10/2011

Have a breakthrough in 2011 by taking inventory of your emotions and bringing them to God. Thank Him for His faithfulness and healing in your life. Yield your will to His as you pray for the special needs in your life, your family, community, church, city, state, nation, and the world. Continue to pray for the peace of Israel and the persecuted church.  Pray that revival would spread across our nation, and remember the president, his cabinet, family and all those newly elected and taking office this month.  James 5:13-18

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