I talked to a coworker recently when she shared that her back hurt, but as strange as it might sound, she thought it hurt because she was stressed about her divorce. More specifically she was having a hard time filing her divorce paperwork due to issues converting scanned files into appropriate electronic format to file and this was causing her great stress. I told her I didn’t think it was strange at all, and began to explain about the emotional roots of physical disease and how our bodies store emotions.
For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, emotions are a somewhat ethereal in nature, and are somewhere between spiritual and physical in nature. As such, while they get stored in various organs and tissues, they don’t have an obvious physical form like the natural elements do. This is true of both positive and negative emotions, and the book of Proverbs has a number of verses that speak on how various emotions affect different parts of the body.
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” A heart that is filled with joy is good for the complexion. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” A cheerful heart helps keep us healthy, but our bones are negatively influenced when the world weighs us down. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Peace brings life to the body, but envy is harmful to the skeletal system as well–because envy is stored in our bones! The end result of emotions stored in organs will vary based on the emotions stored there. For example, someone who is bitter may very well get arthritis because they have chosen to lock in on their negativity, so their joints become locked and deformed. There have been stories of people who, upon forgiving someone and releasing the bitterness and judgments, were instantly healed of their arthritis. Likewise, many other negative emotions can be stored in the body and cause health problems. Interestingly, when someone cries because they are sad, the chemical composition of their tears are actually different than when their eyes are simply watering because actual emotions are being released through the salts in the tears.
In my coworker’s case, she felt, and probably accurately so, that the emotional burden she was carrying was making her back hurt, which isn’t surprising from a prophetic or interpretive perspective if we figure that the lumbar spine is designed for load-bearing–although not for emotional weight. If we don’t deal with our emotions, they WILL express themselves, but will trickle down from the emotional realm into the physical body, and will manifest accordingly. There are a number of different books that talk about this heart-body connection, but my wife and I use two books when we are looking up what emotions might be connected with physical ailments we are experiencing, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol Truman, and Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. These are not “guaranteed” to be correct, but oftentimes resonate with us and help us process through the emotions.
In the case of my coworker, we had some time to talk privately, so I took the time to share some things I felt like God was showing me about how she was feeling, and conversationally prophesy over her the message of life and hope that God had for her, helping remove the burden of guilt and shame that she had been carrying. Given what I have shared above about releasing negative emotions, I was pleased to see that she began to cry as I spoke words of encouragement and strengthening to her, knowing that God was helping heal the very problems that had been troubling her heart and causing her pain. While I did not ask whether her back pain improved at that time or not, I was heartened to see the goodness of God in action, as it was said of Jesus “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Matthew 12:20a).
It is important that we understand God’s nature when it comes to dealing with emotions. Jesus’s solution to problems was to “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30). When we take upon ourselves his ability to rest our souls, our problems can heal and we are set free. I usually use a short prayer, adapted from Praying Medic, to help swiftly resolve negative emotions. One of the books I mentioned earlier, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, also has some really good formula-prayers to help work through and resolve negative emotions and are a good place to start when struggling with difficult emotions or when seeking physical healing for any malady.
Below are the books I referenced in the article that have useful information to help with emotional healing.
A More Excellent Way is a book by Pastor Henry Wright that deals with this subject matter as well. His book explains systematically how our beliefs and feelings influence our health.
You can also try flower and gemstone essences which are designed to assist with bringing up and resolving unhealthy emotional patterns. Freedom Flowers is the brand I use, as I have known the owner for years and trust the quality of the brand.