A conversation with a friend over creamy muesli and green salad has kept me awake thinking last night.
I came home from that dinner appointment feeling nothing less like what we ate: good and light.
Sometimes, in moments like that, I count it a blessing to sit across a friend and find out in the course of conversations said and stories shared that you are not alone. That you are not the only one going through what you’re going through.
At that dinner table, we tackled some of the challenges and struggles we go through when dealing with our emotions and the things we learned along the way.
There were three things that became solid to me last night. Three things I still try to chew and process and ponder and I thought it helps to write it.
Also, please note that nothing of what I’m writing here comes from some expert girl who knows how to handle her emotions well cause clearly I’m not but I’m writing it from a perspective of someone who is just also learning her way through it.
Here we go.
It is okay to acknowledge your emotions. You need it.
I didn’t appreciate until recently the fact that I grew up in a home where we are free to express our feelings and emotions – where it is valid to feel hurt or upset or sad; where you are welcome to laugh your lungs out; where family gatherings are not complete without a relative or two tearing up over a memory reminisced or sight of kids growing up.
I realize that being in an environment where emotions are acknowledged and not suppressed has taught me growing up to welcome my emotions as they come and be honest with it.
I like what my friend once told me when I was too prideful to admit the way I feel towards a certain situation. I was concealing my feelings and having struggles dealing with the situation.
She asked me once and for all how I honestly feel and once I gave in she said, “There you go. Just admit it. You need to admit it so you stop struggling. Admitting how you feel allows the grace of God to work in that area of your life.”
I thought that was liberating.
Don’t give your emotions the control. Be the one in control.
While acknowledging our emotions helps, allowing ourselves to sulk into our emotions is a different story.
Cry when you’re sad. Hurt if you’re hurting. Grieve if you need to. But don’t stay there.
It is a choice we make for ourselves. We can either let our emotions have control over us or give ourselves the authority to have control over our emotions.
I am a very emotional person, you see. Many times in the past I have allowed my emotions to cloud my decisions and I can say those weren’t the best and the most sound decisions I’ve made in my life.
Also, I thought I might side note this. The more I am trying to understand what emotions really are, the more I’m also understanding what love is NOT.
Emotions feel. Love decides.
Emotions are selfish. Love is not.
Emotions think about yourself. Love thinks about others.
Emotions go away. Love stays.
Be careful to distinguish if you are doing something out of emotions or out of love.
Always do it based on love. It’s harder. But better.
You can submit your emotions to God. He is the Lord over it.
This truth became so real to me few weeks ago when I had a day with a roller coaster kind of emotions. What does a roller coaster kind of emotions look like? Don’t ask a girl. She also doesn’t know.
On the way home that day, I got off the cab considerably far from my doorstep so I could take some time to walk. Walking always helps me clear my mind.
I won’t forget that walk because that was the time I realized that this is the area of my life where I am still ashamed to come to God for because I feel like it’s such a petty thing to talk to God about compared to other cares of this world.
“It’s just my emotions, God. I JUST feel this way. Nothing so important.”
But in that moment of me trying to downplay my emotions, I felt God wanting to be involved.
I realized that even in this seemingly shallow concern I have that which is my feelings and emotions, He is still the Lord over it.
And because He is the Lord even in this area of my life, I can submit my emotions to Him. Make it obedient to Him.
It could be sadness because of a failed exam.
Grief over a lost loved one.
Excitement for a new season of your life.
Or that nice growing feelings for a guy.
It’s okay. He understands.
Come to Him with those and receive His grace for you.