#BreakingTheCycle: Those Sneaky Emotions!
After finishing graduate school, I had the most amazing opportunity to be a children’s therapist for a school system nearby. Even though I serviced kindergarten through 12th grade, there was always something about by elementary kids that I loved so much. It was probably because no matter how much of a fake adult I thought I was being that day, to a six-year-old I was as real of an adult as it could get. I also loved how creative (or not creative) I could be with them and they just seemed to roll with the process. It gave me a chance to learn as I worked without feeling overwhelmed and unqualified.
My favorite part of my office was the “feelings wall.” It wasn’t anything extravagant. The feelings wall was merely an oversized piece of colored paper (also known as butcher paper to teachers) with pictures of different emotions all around. Now, I’m not much of a decorator (because I’m convinced my mom stole all those genes from me), so the most eye catching thing about my office was this wall and few student drawings. But the idea of the feelings wall was that at the beginning of every meeting together, each child had to go pick out which feeling or feelings matched them that day. Because they were so young, they may not know the word to describe their feelings, but they surely knew the picture that did!
After a while, picking their feelings became their favorite part as well and they would run to the wall as soon as they came in my door. But if we’re honest, not being able to say how we feel isn’t just a child thing; it’s very much so an adult thing.
Have you ever asked someone how they felt about a situation and their immediate answer began with “I just think…”? Well, chances are those next words were a thought not a feeling. And not only that, we often ask “how do you feel about that” and expect a thought-filled, logical answer; still dismissing that whole feeling thing.
Why do we do that?!
My best guess is that we want logical answers because we need things to make sense. And if we’ve been living long enough, we know good and well that our feelings (and other people’s feelings) don’t always make sense. Which I’m cool with, but there’s still one problem. We have feelings for a reason (because God didn’t place anything in us by accident) and we should probably pay attention to them. Our emotions are probably trying to tell us something about us, not about other people.
Now, please don’t hit me with that “we shouldn’t be led by our emotions” sermon that you watched last year around this time, because I already agree with that part. We shouldn’t be led by our emotions, but we also shouldn’t ignore them either. The acknowledgement of feelings in the Bible isn’t exactly a rare occurrence (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Romans 12:15, Proverbs 15:13, Ephesians 4:26, just to name a few). So, the problem doesn’t lie in recognizing the emotion, the problem lies in letting the emotion run free or trying to cover it up completely.
Over the next several days, we’ll seek God more in this area to see what He’s saying about our emotions.
Chat with God
What are your current thoughts about the role emotions play in your life?
How did you come to believe the above answer?
What is your one sentence prayer in this situation?
Please invite a friend to this series who you think would like to join this journey!
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