How to Praise God with Emotional Integrity

Friend, if you are currently in a season of grief and pain, perhaps you find it challenging to praise God with emotional integrity. How can you come to God and worship Him when your heart is broken and overwhelmed by intense emotions like sorrow, anger, disappointment, fear, and anxiety?

Maybe you wake up every day with questions like “God, why did you allow this to happen?”, “Why me?”, “Why us?”, “Why now?” that keep popping in your mind, and a constant painful heaviness in your chest. You may even dread the future. You are stretched and stressed like never before. Life seems impossible. 

It is exactly then that we need God most–we need the balm of intimacy with Him

The Need to Praise God with Emotional Integrity

We walk through life unconsciously trying to control people and circumstances to minimize any discomfort, difficulty, and emotional pain. But this is counterproductive, and unfortunately sometimes even brings more pain.

The key to healthy processing of our emotions is to come to God with whole hearts, as we are. We need not run from or suppress our emotions, nor cover them up. God invites us to acknowledge, identify and pour out our emotions to Him, like a child to a father, like a friend to a friend.

He welcomes our questions and our emotions. He wants all of us: the beautiful and the ugly, the joy and the sorrow, the laughter and the tears, the victories and the disappointments, the moments we are proud with, and the moments we are ashamed of.  Friend, He already knows it all.  But it is good for us to unpack our hearts and unload as we are to the Lover of our souls–our safest person.


God invites us to acknowledge, identify, and pour out our emotions to Him, like a child to a father, like a friend to a friend. #emotions #integrity #Christianliving Share on X

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How to Praise God with Emotional Integrity

Directing the River of Our Emotions

Imagine our emotions as a big, mighty river with many currents. On some days and hours, the river is calm and peaceful, the water bubbling gently and glistening with joy. And then there are these days or even seasons when the river is overflowing with mighty, dark, dangerous waves, threatening to drown us.

How can we calm down the river? We do this by directing the different currents of our emotions in the ocean of God’s love and sovereignty.

Our rivers can find their safe home in the incomprehensible depths of God’s love. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

The conflicting and tormenting rivers of doubt and disillusionment can find healing and peace in the far-reaching depths of God’s sovereignty.  God is good at being a god; He is the wisest and most powerful being. He knows the beginning and the end; in fact, He is the Beginning and the End, Alpha and Omega. Nothing can thwart His purposes and plans. We can let these truths quiet down our doubts and limited understanding.

Our souls rest when we direct the different currents of our emotions in the ocean of God’s love and sovereignty.  #emotions #mentalhealth #encouragement Share on X

Two Ways to Praise God with Emotional Integrity

We worship God with emotional integrity when we are transparent with Him and learn to deal properly with our emotions. This means not numbing them or venting, but acknowledging and expressing them in a healthy way.

We need to give Him access to all aspects of our life and all the corners of our hearts. No secrets between us. This is difficult and quite painful at first. However, it is God’s way of purifying, healing, renewing, and constantly refreshing us. The hidden must be consciously revealed so it can be changed. And since we have free will, which God respects, our desire, permission, and invitation trigger God’s transformational work in our hearts.

The second way to worship God with emotional integrity is to check up on our expectations. Often we are too hard on ourselves refusing to give ourselves permission to feel, name, and express certain emotions that we label as “negative”.  Nevertheless, emotions are the primary language of our souls.  It will help us if we learn to adjust our expectations of ourselves, and others.

The Role of the Psalms for Expressing and Directing Emotions

In my quest to praise God with my whole self, I found the psalms incredibly helpful in identifying and expressing different, (often conflicting emotions) and directing them towards God. These beautiful poems cover a wide range of naming and expressing emotions, clothing them with words, and sending them up to the throne of God.

Approximately one-third of the psalms are lament psalmsthe expression of sorrow, deep pain, complaint, anguish, and mourning.  But even they strike a deeper note: one of unshakable hope, deep faith, and joyful gratitude. When our souls play all these melodies conducted in a beautiful symphony written by the Master Composer, they become whole and holy again. And we can wholeheartedly declare: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5)

More Encouragement for You

If you need more resources and encouragement to strengthen your faith and help you praise God in seasons of grief and pain, I highly recommend these books. Check them out.


Draw Near: How Painful Experiences Become the Birthplace of Blessings by Hadassah Treu

Life Changing Stories compiled by Mary Armand (my story about passing through the storm of betrayal is included)

Hope for the Hard Days by Sarah Geringer

Mining for God’s Gold in Life’s Dark Valleys by Margaret E. Head

Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear: 30 Devotions to Battle Fear and Anxiety by Devotable

Before You Quit: Everyday Endurance, Moral Courage, and the Quest for Purpose by Doug Gehman

Trusting God in All the Things: 90 Devotions for Finding Peace in Your Every Day by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

Women of Courage: A 40-Day Devotional by (In)Courage

Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life by Denise Dubois Pass and Michelle Nietert

Life Can Be Good Again by Lisa Appelo

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lisa Terkeurst

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Your Turn

When is it the most difficult for you to come to God? In which situations do you tend to hide from Him? If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media. Thanks!

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The psalms are very helpful in identifying and expressing a wide range of emotions such as anger, disappointment, sorrow, and doubt, and directing them toward God. #psalms #emotions #mentalhealth Share on X

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13 Replies to “How to Praise God with Emotional Integrity”

    1. Thank you, Bethany! Yes, expectations play a huge role in triggering our emotions. I am glad that you found this article helpful.

  1. Thank you so much for this post. It’ s so good to pay attention to our emotions and know that Jesus understands each one. God created us with emotions and we don’t need to be afraid to feel them. I love how you remind us about being transparent.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Leslie! Yes, we need to give ourselves permission to feel our emotions, even the ones we find uncomfortable and painful.

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