Jessica Christine Musgrove

Author. Singer. Actress.
My King is a dragon-slayer.

Battling Heavy Emotions as a Christian Author

It is often said that writers have tortured souls. I believe this is somewhat true. Here are two reasons why:

  1. As both a writer and an actress, it is my job to not only try to understand people but to experience the pleasures and the pains that they have experienced. What do I mean by this? It means that although I’m not fully experiencing another character’s life when I’m onstage or writing a scene on a page, I am taking my own experiences and finding some way to relate it—to connect it—to the scene. I’m allowing myself to become vulnerable, and I’m not ignoring the secret, darkest parts of myself. In fact, in playing a role or writing a scene, I’m the most open and most unguarded version of myself. This is why I’m an empath. If someone else is struggling, I may not know how to relate to him/her, but I’m still going to picture myself in his/her shoes and ask myself how I would have felt, how I would have handled and reacted to the situation.
  2. In order to be a writer, I have to do a lot of thinking, a lot of reflecting. This often means exploring hard questions and hard truths. It means revisiting painful memories as a way of applying it to a story. It means taking all of my heavy emotions and thinking about them, even when sometimes, all I want to do is ignore them or shut them down.

New flash: You can’t do that. Emotions demand to be felt. But while all of us are going to feel pain or grief or heartbreak or fear at different seasons of our lives, God’s grace and power gives His followers the ability to continue living for Him rather than allowing ourselves to be controlled by the heavy emotions.

As a writer and an artist and a dreamer, my emotions are often heavy. My feelings of happiness send me soaring, and my sorrows can feel like quicksand. As a deep thinker prone to anxiety, my mind desperately tries to make sense of a certain situation. It searches for an explanation, when sometimes there is no explanation, or the explanation is not for me to know. It plays out different scenarios and dwells on “what-ifs” rather than trusting that all things played out exactly how God intended them to. My mind seeks to even know the outcome of the sufferings of the future, and I have actually experienced pre-grief by dwelling on the inevitable loss of family members or friends. I’ve tried entering into places of darkness that God isn’t ready for me to live through yet.

How’s that for a tortured soul?

You know what? Dwelling on the darkness is wrong. It is sinful. It is not from God, because His followers are called to be children of Light! Our lives are meant to point to Hope, even when, especially when, we are enduring hardships, grief, and heavy emotions. Our circumstances and emotions do not rule over us unless we give them that power by feeding our flesh.

Are you walking through the fire right now? Are you prone to anxiety, to fearing the unknown? Has God placed you in a wilderness or a valley, a season of waiting, a place you don’t want to be in? Do you have desires that remain unfulfilled, that are bringing about emotions you can’t help but feel?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, I understand your pain. I’m there right now. I know it’s hard. I know it hurts. I know you may not see an end to the pain in sight, but that’s where your faith must be involved. II Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

How can we overcome being controlled by our heavy emotions?

  1. By understanding that suffering doesn’t last forever. II Corinthians 4:7 says, “For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
  2. By calling on the Lord to focus your heart on His presence and power. Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
  3. By clinging to God’s promises of His goodness. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Even when your own emotions try to deceive you, acknowledge this verse. Believe in the Lord’s lovingkindness. Cry out to Him in thankful faith that knows beyond any doubt that His will for You is perfect, even if that means your own will is unraveled from your heart and plucked away from your hands. Your life is not your own. I’m reminding myself of this every day!
  4. By trusting that God’s timing for You is perfect, and if He has placed you in a season of waiting, you are meant to be there. Isaiah 60:22 says, “The smallest one will become a clan, and the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will bring about quickly in its time.” Not a moment before; not a moment later. Empty yourselves of your own desires and lay them at His feet, because He’s got you! He knows you. He knows what You need and when you need it, and He will provide. Always, friend. Don’t allow anxious thoughts to rush ahead or search for the outcome of the future, because it won’t work. You won’t know the answer until God reveals it. You won’t know why unless God explains it. And you will only make yourself miserable and more empty by trying to pry open the things in the Lord’s hands. Take it from someone who knows.
  5. By thanking God in advance for the awesome plans He has in store for you. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “…so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” No matter what the circumstance, we are called to overflow with gratitude, because we know He is all we need, and we know He is continually building us, pruning us, and transforming us in His likeness.

In applying this to my writing journey, I am choosing to trust that the Lord will lead me to publish my first novel and finish writing its sequel by His guidance, His strength, and in His timing. I am trusting that this season of life I am walking through in this present moment is meant to strengthen my relationship with the Father so I can continue to glorify Him more and more through my church and my stories. I expect with a heart full of hope that God is preparing my heart for far better things than I could ever have imagined on my own. And I know for certain that when I immerge from this fire, I will be stronger than I was before, because of His strength in me, not because of my own. For I am weak, but He is strong.

Take it from C.S. Lewis, who once wrote this incredibly raw statement: “It doesn’t really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist’s chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.” So it’s best to let go and give your struggles to God, who is always with you. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Never forget.

When life is uncertain, hold onto the Truth and pray a similar prayer:

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Bottom line is: I don’t know.

So I’ll walk by faith and not by sight,

Trusting God is with me in the lonely night.


2 responses to “Battling Heavy Emotions as a Christian Author”

  1. doowopcity Avatar

    Thank you; this brings much solace to my husband, who just lost his brother.

    1. Christine's Smithereens Avatar

      I am so sorry for his loss. The Lord is near. Praying for him!

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