The Mystery Of Emotions

Disney Pixar’s much anticipated animated film ‘Inside Out’ premiered in cinemas across Australia last night.

Personally, I’m thrilled. The film looks brilliant. And it meant that Amy Poehler (voice of Joy) was in my country – potentially breathing the same air as me, walking the same earth as me, enjoying the sights and sounds of Sydney like I do. It’s a beautiful thought. And she’s rubbish at Australian accents! (#clickbait)

If you’re not up-to-speed on the movie’s premise, here it is in a nutshell:

Set inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley, the film follows the actions of her emotions: Anger, Fear, Joy, Sadness and Disgust as they struggle to navigate her mind through the tumultuous years of pre-teen puberty.

It’s a revolutionary idea: the protagonist (Riley) is not so much a feature character, but rather the setting for the plot to unfold. 

It’s got me thinking about my emotions. And something just doesn’t quite make sense to my natural mind about all of that.

You see, if I take away the expression of my Creator in constructing my mind, if I reduce my emotions to their advantage to my life, I can’t make sense of why I have them.

Of course, each emotion has its purpose.

Fear keeps me from potential harm.
Disgust removes me from situations that could prove to mistreat me.
Joy helps me seek out community and register pleasure.
Anger motivates me to act against things that disgust or frighten me.
But sadness… What does sadness do for me?

What good does it do me to feel sad?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the past few weeks. Why do I feel sad? Why hasn’t adaptation removed my need to feel sadness? It provides no advantage to my daily life. It doesn’t keep me from harm or remove me from dangerous situations – quite the opposite sometimes, sadness causes me to lose judgement, to place myself in harm’s way and remove myself from good situations.

I did some research, and it turns out that although humans generally have much more complex emotions, we are not the only species on the earth that have these five basic feelings. Most animals also feel what we feel. 

So, animals, out in the wild feel sadness too?

That, I guess means that adaptation has not decreased sadness. In fact, in humans, I’d say it’s become the opposite.

We’re now living in an era when depression is epidemic. Sadness has increased through generations.

We are very sad people. But why?

Sadness is a mysterious emotion.

Why do I feel it?

Because sadness is my regulator. It keeps my other emotions functioning effectively by virtue of it being the antithesis.

You cannot rate your joy, without sadness to balance it.

But here’s something much more revolutionary about sadness, that’s overlooked by Disney’s new film.

Sadness reveals the heart of the Creator and the suffering of a Saviour. God feels sadness intensely. With each generation of sinful depravity, the Creator’s sadness intensifies.

I have emotions because I am made in the image of a Creator who also has emotions.

Mine are only a small glimpse of His, but knowing that I feel as He feels, I can rejoice in my sadness.

If I have to feel sadness, I can be happy that I do feel something.



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