Most days I need to hear that there is, in fact, a point to my struggles with sexuality and emotion.

Most days it feels like there isn’t.

Here’s something that will shock my friends: I’m an emotional guy. I’ve always known this, but for a long time I didn’t understand what was happening when emotions would show up, unannounced and often unwelcomed, on my doorstep. I felt them as they assaulted me (or so it sometimes seems), but I wasn’t always sure from whence they came and whither they were going.

Lately, I’ve been much more able to allow myself to think through and allow myself to experience the pain of emotion. My counselor assures me that my ability to feel is a wonderful gift. Most days, however, I’d rather grab this gift and drop it off somewhere, like the white elephant gift I got at a Christmas party that I didn’t really want. Emotion on many days just seems like pain–who wants that sort of life?

Where IS that receipt?

And yet, here sits this gift. The more I’ve used the gift, the more able I am to empathize with people as they talk. I’m more able to listen, ask questions, and be fully present (undistracted, “all-there”) with people. It’s good to be able to do that as a (future) pastor, right? I’ve even had more than one person point that out to me lately, for which I’m grateful since I don’t always see my own progress in life (holiness or sanctification, even) very well.

Emotions only seem to get me so far; they are immensely helpful in helping others and in gauging my own well-being, but they are unhelpful in seeing myself in the correct light–namely, the light by which the Father sees me in Christ. There is often disconnection between my internal sense of worth and the worth I have according to God and other with whom I interact. I’m not sure I even really understand how much I’m worth to God or others. Can I fully understand? Can I better understand? Short answers: no and yes.

But, how to begin? I suppose I’ve already begun. But most days it doesn’t feel like it.