Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions
Emotions! Love them or hate them, we have no choice but to learn to appreciate them (i.e. those of ourselves and others), then live with them, dealing with them intelligently and effectively or alternatively be overwhelmed and controlled by them and then flounder in life.
One definition is:
“Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. Scientific discourse has drifted to other meanings and there is no consensus on a definition. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. In some theories, cognition is an important aspect of emotion. Those acting primarily on the emotions they are feeling may seem as if they are not thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events… Other theories, however, claim that emotion is separate from and can precede cognition. Emotions are complex.”
This last short sentence seems to sum it all up very nicely!
Well, long before the researchers began to study emotions, they were present and being expressed by people all over the world, including in Israel by their favourite singer song writer, David. Psalm 31 is a perfect example, full of emotion which David expresses to God without holding back. A lesson we all need to learn well!
This psalm moves from anguish to assurance, from “the heart-cry of pain and need to the quietness and confidence in answered prayer” (Blaiklock), but interestingly it seems to do this a couple of times as follows:
Verses 1-8 David initially affirms God as his place of refuge in his troubles:
I trust you, Lord, to be my hiding place.
Don’t let me down.
Don’t let my enemies bring me to shame.
Come and rescue me, for you are the only God
who always does what is right.
2 Rescue me quickly when I cry out to you.
At the sound of my prayer may your ear be turned to me.
Be my strong shelter and hiding place on high.
Pull me into victory and breakthrough.
3–4 For you are my high fortress, where I’m kept safe.
You are to me a stronghold of salvation.
When you deliver me out of this peril,
it will bring glory to your name.
As you guide me forth I’ll be kept safe
from the hidden snares of the enemy—
the secret traps that lie before me—
for you have become my rock of strength.
5 Into your hands I now entrust my spirit.
O Lord, the God of faithfulness,
you have rescued and redeemed me.
6 I despise these deceptive illusions,
all this pretence and nonsense,
for I worship only you.
7 In mercy you have seen my troubles and you have cared for me;
even during this crisis in my soul I will be radiant with joy,
filled with praise for your love and mercy.
8 You have kept me from being conquered by my enemy;
you broke open the way to bring me to freedom,
into a beautiful, broad place.
Verses 9-18 David expresses his emotions and again cries out to God to keep doing what He does well.
9 O Lord, help me again! Keep showing me such mercy.
For I am in anguish, always in tears,
and I’m worn-out with weeping.
I’m becoming old because of grief; my health is broken.
10 I’m exhausted! My life is spent with sorrow,
my years with sighing and sadness.
Because of all these troubles, I have no more strength.
My inner being is so weak and frail.
11 My enemies say, “You are nothing!”
Even my friends and neighbours hold me in contempt!
They dread seeing me
and they look the other way when I pass by.
12 I am totally forgotten, buried away like a dead man,
discarded like a broken dish thrown in the trash.
13 I overheard their whispered threats, the slander of my enemies.
I’m terrified as they plot and scheme to take my life.
14 I’m desperate, Lord! I throw myself upon you,
for you alone are my God!
15 My life, my every moment, my destiny—it’s all in your hands.
So I know you can deliver me
from those who persecute me relentlessly.
16 Let your shining face shine on me.
Let your undying love and glorious grace
save me from all this gloom.
17 As I call upon you, let my shame and disgrace
be replaced by your favour once again.
But let shame and disgrace fall instead upon the wicked—
those going to their own doom,
drifting down in silence to the dust of death.
18 At last their lying lips will be muted in their graves.
For they are arrogant, filled with contempt and conceit
as they speak against the godly.
Verses 19-22 David is full of praise for God who delivers him from the evil that surrounds him.
19 Lord, how wonderful you are!
You have stored up so many good things for us,
like a treasure chest heaped up and spilling over with blessings—
all for those who honour and worship you!
Everybody knows what you can do
for those who turn and hide themselves in you.
20 So hide all your beloved ones
in the sheltered, secret place before your face.
Overshadow them by your glory-presence.
Keep them from these accusations, the brutal insults of evil men.
Tuck them safely away in the tabernacle where you dwell.
21 The name of the Lord is blessed and lifted high!
For his marvellous miracle of mercy protected me
when I was overwhelmed by my enemies.
22 I spoke hastily when I said, “The Lord has deserted me.”
For in truth, you did hear my prayer and came to rescue me.
Verse 23-24 David exhorts God’s people everywhere to love and trust God, whatever our feelings.
23 Listen to me, all you godly ones: Love the Lord with passion!
The Lord protects and preserves all those who are loyal to him.
But he pays back in full all those who reject him in their pride.
24 So cheer up! Take courage all you who love him.
Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him! (TPT)
Great advice! Thanks David.
So, whatever your feelings are today, express them to God, who not only understands, but is waiting for you to talk to him with the desire that you will discover that trusting him is the best thing you can do for yourself (and others!).
Let me finish with the story of a friend who has battled cancer for a number of years and in the latest update concerning his health, the news is that it is deteriorating. There is now talk of him requiring palliative care. One can only imagine the sort of emotions present in him and his family, but I was very inspired by these words:
“In spite of all that [referring to his symptoms including pain, etc] he does not give up, well anchored in faith and hope in God … We are putting …[everything] in the hands of the Lord. Our days are in His hands [Psalm 31:15], in God’s hands…”
Father, we admit that at times we are overwhelmed by the events in our life and then by our own emotional responses to these things. Thank you for this psalm, a great example of what we can do and to whom we can go at such times – placing ourselves safely in to your hands! You, our God, are good. Amen.