Growing Emotionally and Spiritually With Jesus –  Encouragement for Today – September 18, 2023

Proverbs 31 Ministries banner

Bill and Kristi GaultiereSeptember 18, 2023

Growing Emotionally and Spiritually With Jesus

Lee en español

"... Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NLT) 

Growing up, my parents and older sisters were strong thinkers and had control over their emotions. However, I experienced strong emotions; I could not help but feel my feelings.

I felt tremendous shame about being so emotional. How were my parents and sisters able to be so logical all the time? How could they be so even keeled? Why couldn't I be like them?

Over time, I began to hate myself for my strong feelings. To cope with all my emotions and the stress they caused for me and those around me, I put my energy into being sensitive to the desires and needs of others so I could help them and secure their love. I thought I had found a way to secure myself in my relationships, feel better about myself, and earn people's love.

This seemed to work for me until I hit a wall in my late 30s. I suddenly realized how unloved I felt, even by God. I had been taught that the Lord was good and loving but no longer really trusted this to be true. Deep down, I was angry at God for allowing me and the people I loved to suffer.

Due to repressing my emotions, I found myself buried in shame, horrified by the pride and hypocrisy in my soul, questioning my faith, dissatisfied with my life and relationships, and suffering from depression.

Many of us hit a similar wall in our spiritual journeys. To move past that wall, we need to get emotionally honest with ourselves, God and others. As we do, we grow into deeper intimacy with God and greater spiritual and emotional health to be formed in Christlikeness.

One tool that has helped me get emotionally honest is the Enneagram. God used this model of personality to uncover the hidden pride that drove me to try to secure myself rather than depend on the love of Jesus Christ. The Enneagram teaches us helpful truths about human personality.

Of course, the theory and its teachers are not perfect, so we chew the meat and spit out the bones. And in our use of the Enneagram, we still put our confidence in Jesus Christ, the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). We look to His perfect life, His loving Father, His ever-present Spirit, His true Word and His Church.

Whatever you are feeling in your life and personality, Jesus of Nazareth understands. He was tempted to react by securing Himself in pride (Matthew 4:1-11), but He chose to trust God instead. In fact, the New Testament specifically names 39 different emotions that Jesus felt. Our Savior felt deeply and intelligently. When the Son of God took on human flesh, He stepped into human personality to empathize with us (Hebrews 4:15). He shows us that healthy feelings go with a thriving faith.

In some way, each of us is like the man with a deformed hand whom Jesus encountered at the synagogue on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6). The man may have felt ashamed as he hid in the shadows, anxious about how to provide for his family and angry for being judged and boxed out by the haughty priests. Jesus had compassion on him and felt anger and sadness toward those who didn’t want the man to be healed.

On another occasion, we're told that when Jesus encountered a certain rich man, "Jesus looked at him and loved him" (Mark 10:21a, NIV).

Both the rich man and the man who needed healing felt sad. The rich man walked away sad and clinging to his wealth instead of to Christ; the man in Mark 3 started out sad but then became hopeful. He kept his eyes on Jesus, took Jesus at His word, reached out his hand, and was made whole! Our opportunity is to stretch out our hurting hearts and our personalities to Jesus and be made whole in God's love.

Jesus explained, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We all have hurts in our souls that we want to fix. But your soul is not like a broken car that can be fixed by a mechanic. The cure for a hurt soul is care.

Over the 30 years that my husband, Bill, and I have been therapists and spiritual directors, we've found that the key to emotional and spiritual growth is to bring our broken personalities to Jesus and reach out for His loving touch. As we absorb more of Jesus' grace in our personalities, it enables us to better care for and guide others.

Dear God, shine Your light and love on my hurting personality patterns, and help me enjoy the fullness of Jesus' life and share this life with others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


For an inspiring and practical guide to a deeper experience of God's love in your personality, get your copy of Drs. Kristi and Bill Gaultiere's new book, Healthy Feelings, Thriving Faith: Growing Emotionally and Spiritually through the Enneagram.

Visit to take their FREE "Enneagram & Emotions Assessment," which includes immediate results and recommendations!


Connect with Kristi and Bill Gaultiere @SoulShepherding on social media and by listening to their Soul Talks podcast.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Healthy Feelings, Thriving Faith by Kristi Gaultiere. To celebrate this book, Kristi's publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, September 25, 2023.}


Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (NIV).

What hurting personality pattern do you need help with so you can enjoy the fullness of life that Jesus offers?

© 2023 by Kristi Gaultiere. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106