I am an extremely emotional person. When I say that, I mean an overly emotional person. I have an undiagnosed condition of overactive tear ducts (which is really just my excuse to say I cry a lot).
I sing a song, I cry. I have to make a phone call and talk to a stranger, I cry. I see someone else even have teary eyes, I cry. I watch a wedding TV show and when the girl says “Yes to the dress!” I cry. Really, every single emotion makes me tearful. It’s just my automatic response to having an abundance of feelings.
Having my “condition” has always made me really sensitive (shocker). Yes, I am even sensitive about how sensitive I am. It has often made me doubt my strength and capability. I would flat-out avoid situations that made me prone to tear up, and sometimes I still do.
I became closed off to the world around me because I had convinced myself that I looked ridiculous and would embarrass myself if I let any emotions sneak out. And—let’s be real—I don’t want to mess up my makeup, either. But one day something happened that changed the way I thought of my teary condition completely.
Over the years, I have had to deal with anxiety and depression. For years I saw a wonderful woman who was a Christian-based counselor and really helped me grow in my relationship with Christ.
I remember one day when I was talking about a totally different issue, and made a comment about how I had avoided a conversation because I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. I was seeking advice on the conversation itself, not my aversion to the conversation. Yet once I was done talking, she told me that the most concerning thing to her was that I wouldn’t have the conversation because of my fear of crying. She then told me that being emotional and crying a lot wasn’t a bad thing. I wasn’t shocked, as I had been told this before, but I was still embarrassed when I cried. I also didn’t see anything wrong with my desire to avoid situations at certain times to withhold tears. But she continued to express her concern anyway.
She told me that God created me as an emotional person and there is nothing wrong with that. Being the sensitive person I am makes me more empathetic, considerate, understanding, compassionate, and caring, which are all good qualities to have. She told me that my tears were the Holy Spirit moving through me. She then asked me the question that changed my perspective: “Why would you want to stop the Holy Spirit from moving through you?”
Wow. Can you imagine how I felt in that moment? I was letting Satan take a wonderful gift from God—the gift of the Holy Spirit moving through me—and turning it into a reason to shut myself down and be disgusted with myself. I was letting him twist my ability to be vulnerable with others into a way to shut everyone else out.
God desires more for us. God wants us to have love towards our neighbors. I know this because it says this in several places in the Bible (Leviticus 19:18, Galatians 5:14, Mark 12:31). How can you show love towards others if you are completely closing yourself off from them?
It’s also worth noting that even Jesus cried! As John 11:35-36 says, “Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, see how much he loved him!” Jesus cried because of how much he loved Lazarus. His tears were seen by others and helped them understand his love. My tears are just another way of expressing love and compassion towards people. God wants to use our weaknesses for his glory. God wants to use my tears to deepen relationships and show the light of the Holy Spirit through me.
Now maybe you don’t have the same “overactive tear duct” problem as I do, but this can be applicable in so many different ways. Like I said, God wants to use our weaknesses for his glory! What a relief that is to me. Sometimes I feel like I’m chock-full of weaknesses! Yet we all have weaknesses in which we are ashamed or embarrassed but try to hide. Don’t let Satan use those things to keep you captive. Instead, let God use them to set you free. God wants to use you exactly where you are.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For where I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Gabby Strandlien and her husband live with their lab puppy, who is currently their only “kid.” She works as a paraprofessional in a level three emotional behavioral disabilities program. Aside from her work, Gabby loves fitness, being outdoors, music, writing, and spending time with family. She has a fire in her heart to learn more about God and grow in her relationship with Christ daily.