Emotions. Sometimes they feel like a girl’s best friend, but often they feel like a girl’s worst enemy. Much as we might want to escape them at times, we can’t. So how are we to think about them, and what on earth are we to do with them?
I have much more to learn when it comes to these unruly feelings, but here are thirty things I do know about emotions (in no particular order):
30 Things I’ve Learned About Emotions
- Our emotions affect our health (Prov. 17:22).
- Surprisingly, letting others “in” when you’re feeling sad seems to forge friendships much faster than if you appear to have everything “together.”
- Let a few trusted friends know when you’re struggling. Ask for prayer. It will help!
- Your emotions don’t have to control you.
- Don’t make any big decisions when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. That’s the time to HALT. (I think I learned this acronym from you, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Thanks for that.)
- PMS is real, but it’s not an excuse to sin. Prepare for it by tracking your cycle so you know what to expect, and pray accordingly.
- Joy isn’t simply an emotion; it’s a fruit of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22).
- It’s a beautiful thing when a guy is willing to show emotion from time to time.
- God acknowledges that there are things that are truly frightening, and then He tells us not to fear them but to hope in Him (1 Peter 3:6).
- Tears are not a weakness.
- It is better to cry than to hold it all in.
- It’s okay to be angry . . . if you don’t sin (Eph. 4:26).
- That being said, anger is rarely righteous (James 1:20).
- Examine your emotions often. They’re excellent indicators of what you’re believing, which—if you’re like me—you’ll often need to repent of and replace with truth.
- Other times, ignore your emotions. Sometimes it’s best NOT to listen to them or give them even an inch.
- Just because you’re a “feeler” doesn’t mean you can’t also be a “thinker.” Don’t let people pigeon-hole you.
- There is only one reason we can “not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6). The answer lies in the verse just before this: “The Lord is near.” (Thanks for this insight, Paul David Tripp.)
- True joy is found in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11). Therefore, you can be happy anywhere, even in a nursing home! (I’ve never forgotten you telling me this at Applebee’s years ago, Maria Johnson.)
- There’s time to have fun, but it’s also important to be serious (1 Peter 5:8).
- Sadness won’t kill you. It is okay to feel sad this side of heaven. In fact, good can even come from it.
- Once you’ve suffered and been comforted, you’ll be better equipped to encourage others in similar situations (2 Cor. 1:3–5).
- Emotions change nearly as often as the nighttime sky; God’s truth never changes.
- Cutting or harming yourself in any way is not the answer to the inner pain you feel.
- Piano keys are a great, safe way to express your emotions. If you don’t play the piano, find another safe, healthy way to process your emotions.
- Know yourself well enough to know whether you need to be with people when you’re feeling emotional or whether time alone would help.
- Sugar only makes you feel more crazy.
- It’s wise to keep your mouth shut when you’re feeling especially emotional (Prov. 29:11).
- At the same time, if you’re struggling with your emotions, let those around you know that if they “see” anything on your face, it’s not them; you’re just having a rough day. (Thanks for this, Wes Ward.)
- Those who don’t feel deeply often wish they could. Don’t despise your emotions; God can use them for good.
- There is no Comforter like God (2 Cor. 1:3, John 14:16). Pour out your heart to Him.
What else have you learned over the years about emotions? And what questions do you have about emotions?