Big Feelings (And What to do With Them)
We all have had that moment. That moment when something slips out of our mouth that should not. That moment when unexpected tears start flowing from our eyes. That moment when a burst of anger causes us to do something rash. That moment when laughter cannot be contained and comes bursting forth out of us.
Our emotions are complicated and messy, yet somehow they play such an important role in our lives. They are what sets us apart from the rest of creation, because as much as we think our pets have feelings… they really don’t compare to us.
So if emotions play such a huge role in our lives, why do they seem to be portrayed as negative so often? As young women, our emotions can often get the better of us (especially during *that* time of the month) and make it hard to sift out what are real feelings and what are hormonal reactions. Especially in the church, our emotions are often regarded as hindrances instead of the helpful tools God created them to be. So what do we do with the big feelings in life? If emotions are so complicated, why even have them at all?
First of all, let’s be reminded what the purpose of feelings are.
Emotions are a Gift From God
Emotions are a gift from God and serve to enhance the world around us. Just like a gift should not be either ignored or excluded from our lives, neither should our feelings. They are like the color to a black and white world at times, filling our lives with joy, sorrow, pain, happiness, confusion. Without emotions, relationships would be almost nonexistent. In order for a healthy relationship to survive there has to be some emotion in interest, enjoyment, closeness, vulnerability, kindness, and care. Without emotions, love would not be felt between two people who are in love, or a family or friends who love each other. Without emotions, the pain of losing a loved one or seeing someone hurt would not indicate the love we feel for others. Without emotions we would not feel the weight of our sin and the surrender that brings us to the feet of Jesus. Emotions are not only a gift, but they are a reflection of God’s heart as well. Did you know that God feels feelings?
Multiple times are in the bible where God was angry towards the Israelites, pleased and filled with joy towards obedience, filled towards joy and gladness over his people, and He is even grieved over the sin and brokenness of His creation. Jesus Himself was recorded having similar emotions throughout His ministry on earth. Not only does God have emotions, but he also commands us to have emotions. He tells His people to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. So if we are saying that emotions are a bad thing, that somehow that is not a part of a healthy walk with Christ… that is misleading. Being led by your emotions is glorifying and obedient to Christ. It is only when we are led by our emotion to sin, that the trouble begins.
Emotions are an Inward Indicator
So if emotions serve to enhance our lives and even our walk with Christ, what else do they do? Emotions are an indicator of what is going on in your heart. Kind of like when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste and toothpaste comes out, is how emotions are, they come out when pressure.. Whether positive or negative is applied to our lives.
In Proverbs 27:19 it says that “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”
Meaning that every time you feel something you are revealing something your heart is believing. You never are just angry about something, but your heart may be feeling deeper emotions of feeling excluded or embarrassed or unseen or some other value. Our emotions will not always be truthful, but they do always reveal what we are believing in that moment. Our emotions can mislead us to thinking lies about ourselves or our emotions can be led by the Holy Spirit to remember the truths about ourselves. Ultimately, our emotions are meant to be gauges of where our heart is at so that we can see our need for Christ. In the moments that we are joyful, sad, angry, confused, hurt… all give opportunities to seek the Lord’s comfort, joy, guidance, and trust in Him.
Lastly, our emotions are to be rooted in God’s word.
In Jeremiah 17:9 it says that “the heart is deceitful above all else” so if our heart is so prone to wander… why would we ever say that our emotions are a tool and a gift?
Emotions are incredibly powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility. We were never designed to have our feelings blindly leading us. Our emotions were designed to be paired and grounded in truth. For example, if you are having a day where you are feeling inadequate, envious, insecure about something someone does better than you… what does that reveal about your heart? It reveals a heart that needs reminded that the Lord has divinely created you with a purpose, that you are not meant to sit in comparison of those around you but to marvel in the fact that God adores you.
The world will try to guide our hearts out of our emotions by feeding us lies. The only way to combat this is the truth of God’s Word. Feelings come in a package, meant to be submitted and given over to the Lord and grounded in His Word alone.
2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” this is not something we can do on our own, it is a continual surrendering to the Lord through prayer, reading the truth, and surrounding yourself with people who will remind you of the truth. This sounds like A LOT of work, but it is worth it to not be ruled by the lies our hearts can tell us. It is worth fighting for.
Emotions are Hard to Have.
In a world that is constantly telling you to “follow your heart” and “do what you feel” we can be reminded that our emotions can easily mislead us to sin. But in a world that also tells us to “not let our feelings get the best of us” we can be reminded that our emotions are a gift that ultimately draws us to Christ, helps enhance the world around us, and keeps us aware of how to submit our struggles to the Lord.
You, my friend, even with big feelings… can use those feelings to enhance your world and draw people to JESUS! How crazy is that? What a joy to know that the Lord has given us such great tools to glorify Him more.