Skip to main content

Have you ever experienced emotional bipolarity?

You probably have and didn’t know what it was called. You might have told someone you had “mixed feelings” or felt “bittersweet” about what happened.

A son or daughter gets a promotion which requires moving out of state. At the same time, you feel both happy and sad. You are happy for their success and sad about the decreased amount of face time you’ll have with them.

You are experiencing emotional bipolarity.

On the surface, the feelings appear to be contradictory but we know they’re not. We can be genuinely happy for someone and still feel a deep sadness over the changing circumstances. Fortunately, we don’t live every minute of every waking hour in emotional bipolarity. That would be exhausting.

In Acts 2, the crowd that has gathered to hear the apostles speak experiences a moment of emotional bipolarity. The apostles have received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised and they began doing something extraordinary. They began speaking in languages they had never spoken before.

In other words, the Holy Spirit had enabled them to miraculously and instantly become bilingual. The people in the crowd who represented areas as far apart as Rome, Egypt, and Turkey, began hearing the same message but in their own language.

What was their reaction? It was an expression of emotional bipolarity:

“Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12).

Amazed and perplexed. At the same time.

As I’ve reflected on my journey with Jesus, I’ve found that this is a very common reaction.  We are both amazed and perplexed by Jesus — by what he does and what he asks us to do. We marvel at a miracle and also wonder (perhaps even doubt) that it can be replicated today.

We are often like the father who asked Jesus to heal his son: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).

[bctt tweet=”I do believe. I do have faith. Yet, at the same time, I also doubt. I also have questions. I live with spiritual bipolarity.” username=”kenhensley”]

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you have conflicting feels — don’t assume that there’s something wrong with you. Mostly likely the problem is one that you can’t fix — you’re human.