From the Blue Streak to the Beast, when it came to roller coasters, I used to be able to outride anyone! I remember one summer at Cedar Point in Ohio, we happened to hit the park on a low attendance day. Walking right up to the first coaster, we jumped in the cart, pulled down the bar, and rode the ride–screaming our heads off the entire time. As soon as the cart pulled into the exit lane, we didn’t even have to get out. Since no one else stood in line, we remained seated, catching our breath in preparation for the next cycle. Not sure how many times we did that, but that process repeated itself on other rides too. All. Day. Long.
Yes, I used to be able to outride anyone. . .
Then I had kids. It messed up my equilibrium–literally (and figuratively). Now, while they enjoy the exhilaration of the coasters, I sit on the sidelines as the designated bag, jacket, and water bottle holder. Glamorous job, I know.
But lately, I’ve been reintroduced to the roller coaster. No fancy names for this one–not the Millennium Force, Bizzaro, or Intimidator. No record-breaking speeds. Not even a loop, inversion, or G-force to speak of. But this one rivals our Cedar point day in terms of repetition. It’s pretty famous too. I’d even wager it’s the MOST famous roller coaster EVER. And, you’ve probably been on it.
What is it? The emotional roller coaster.
Emotional Ups and Downs
Over the past six weeks I’ve taken multiple rides. From the elation of our daughter’s engagement, a signed contract on a new house, and the upcoming release of my latest book (woohoo!!!!)–to the gut-wrenching drop of my Dad’s emergency surgery, my bulging L5/S1 disc, and the loss of our beloved dog–I’ve felt some high highs, and low lows. Let me just say I’ve cried more tears than seemingly possible, smiled more than facial muscles should handle, and texted just about every emoji ever created. Yes, my emotions have been all over the place.
You’ve experienced this roller coaster too, haven’t you?
With so much focus spent on catching our breath in preparation for the next ride, sometimes it seems we struggle trying to properly articulate feelings.
Enter, the Psalms.
Psalms is known as the “Hebrew Prayer and Praise Book” and may be one of the most beloved books in all Scripture. Written by various authors over many years, Psalms is a book of human emotions.
This collection of Hebrew poetry runs the gamut from hallelujahs to heartache, delight to discouragement. Able to voice moods and emotions for us, it is a veritable treasure trove we can access anytime–and freely pour out our hearts to God.
- Are you anxious or worried? You’re not alone. Read chapter 23, 37, or 64
- Has discouragement set in? The psalmist felt it too. Look at chapter 42.
- Troubled by fear or dread? Try Psalm 46 or 91.
- It’s not all bad, though, is it? David shows us how to express joy in Psalm 33.
- Or how about Psalms 66 and 92? They can give words to your mountain-top experiences.
- Want to praise God for His help? Let chapter 146 speak for you.
With 150 psalms to choose from, I can promise, you won’t lack for ways to express yourself!
God give us words, even when we have none. He shows us we don’t have to shy away from sharing exactly what we’re feeling. We can tell Him anything. But while expression is great, we see that God is greater–for the Psalms also declare that our heavenly Father is big enough to deal with whatever high or low we face.
I’m so thankful God gave us the Psalms for our emotional roller coasters. Who knows, I just might be able to outride anyone once again!
I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.
I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.
God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.
Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.
When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.
God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
–Eugene Peterson, The Message