Many people describe themselves as living in an emotional vacuum. This is hard to define, but some say they simply go through the motions of life, failing to enjoy various forms of entertainment, family gatherings or even worship. They say they are numb to normal pleasures. This is in many ways the opposite of the previous symptom (prolonged sadness), but moving from one to the other provides no relief.
Is there anything in the Bible to address this? While you cannot find a specific command, “Thou shalt start feeling things,” Scripture gives us a bigger picture of redemption that transcends emotions or their absence.
For instance, this numbness could be the result of failing to see your “chief end” or primary purpose in life. While not all of us get caught in the numbness trap, all of us are prone to live life with a self-focus. If you are a follower of Christ, you were not saved so you could get your best life now. The higher call is what Paul told the Corinthians:
He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:15, NASB
Many people go to school or work every day because they know they will pay the consequences if they do not, but the work they do is done without a vision of any higher purpose than completing a day’s assignments. Redeemed sinners were redeemed in order that God would be glorified. The Lord prophesies the completion of His work and says through Isaiah,
Then all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified. Isaiah 60:21, NASB
In other words, there is more at stake each day than keeping yourself out of trouble or getting good performance reviews.
Since you know why you were created, a second consideration is this: is it possible you are waiting to do what pleases God until you feel like it? Second Corinthians 5:9 speaks of your responsibility to please God while you are in your body. What does pleasing God look like for you right now? Feelings often become our Master when another was meant to rule. For instance, some married people split up because they no longer have loving feelings for each other. In this case they forget that love is something you do before it is something you feel. The answer is not to divorce but to start doing the loving thing (remember the way God told the prophet Hosea to treat his prodigal wife). Feelings follow thinking and acting.
Act in faith even when your faith is small. It is not the quality of your faith but the object of your faith that matters. A father who was terribly burdened by the hopelessness of his son’s demon possession confessed to Jesus, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). The Lord Jesus does not respond to those with great faith but properly placed faith.One more possibility to ponder: Have you created an idol of the way you think you ought to feel or of the way someone else feels? Were you created to be the life of the party? Maybe you are not so much lacking in emotion as you are lacking in the kind of emotion you see in others and wish you had. Manufacturing plastic emotions is much worse than missing out on emotions that someone else appears to have.
Ten articles in this series: