What do we do with our feelings?
I’m grateful to welcome my friend, Jill Smith, to Sit Still with us today.
In our weekly Bible Journal Group, Jill gently nudges us to vulnerability and encourages our next step. I believe you’ll be blessed by her words.
Emotions can be confusing and difficult to bear. Sometimes our feelings can be overwhelming.
Last week Clarice wrote about feeling lonely. What do we do with our feelings?
Because we may not have learned how to be still in our emotions, we tend to push them down, or they control us and we explode on those we love. Or maybe we distract ourselves with staying really busy.
If you were raised in a home where parents didn’t know what to do with feelings, you might have heard, “Stop acting that way. You’re fine.” Sometimes we are encouraged toward happiness. “Just be happy.” But these are ways to push aside the feelings that are there.
The Bible talks about anger. It is okay to be angry, just don’t sin in your anger. What does THAT mean? What do I do with my anger and how do I not sin in it?
My name is Jill Smith, I'm a Mental Health Counselor, (as well as a friend of Clarice's) and I‘ve had to learn about feelings personally and professionally.
First of all, feelings are not good or bad. There is no judgment on having any feeling. They are all acceptable. Feelings tell us something about ourselves. They tell us what is going on inside.
After we figure out what we are feeling, we need to label it or name it. Once we know what it is we are feeling, It is good to take a deep breath. Part of the struggle is accepting what I am feeling.
Often we believe that God wants us to be happy. We say to ourselves, “If I am a Christian, things should be going well for me. I need to act like I am fine.” We do this subconsciously.
This is a myth.
God sees us with our emotions. He wants to have a relationship. Jesus is saying to you, “Come here and sit with me. I see your sadness. I see your pain. I see your anger.”
Jesus says in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” And in Romans, Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
We are being told that our emotions are okay and to be with others and share their emotions with them.
If we have not allowed our feelings to be felt, it can be terrifying and lonely. Like the verses above say, we need to share our feelings with others. We don’t need to feel big feelings alone. If you have a safe friend, share with him or her. If you don’t, reach out to a therapist. That is their job to walk with you through the difficult feelings.
Feelings are not thoughts. We cannot control our feelings, they just are. But we can control our thoughts and behaviors. Thoughts and behaviors can influence our feelings just like feelings can influence our thoughts and behaviors. This is where the Bible talks about anger.
It is okay to be angry, feel that angry emotion. But our behavior often gets us into trouble when we are feeling angry. This is the next step in working through our feelings. What do I want to do about this feeling?
Journaling about my feelings or talking to a friend or therapist is a way to process what is going on inside. After you have taken time to process it, then it takes practice to act in a new way. Old habits tend to rule and we have to be very intentional to replace them with new ones.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Come to the Lord God Almighty. He loves you and accepts you with all your emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. God has feelings and He gave us feelings. He knows all your ways and wants a relationship with you.
I invite you to find time to sit with God and share your feelings with Him. He is not surprised. He loves you.
For more information from Jill about managing the difficult areas of life, visit her website and listen to her podcast at stillwaterscc.com.