So I go to a therapist. Actually, in this season, I currently see three.
I promise I'm not insane.
Like all of you, 2020 wasn't my best year. I entered into it being diagnosed with anxiety and depression disorder and from there it was all downhill. It climaxed in September with a failed suicide attempt and an overnight stay in a crisis center.
Throughout that year I had a lot of people give me their opinions on my feelings. I remember thinking if one more person tells me that they also get "sad" I was going to personally drive my car through their house.
Just so we are clear, depression isn't being sad. (Insert rolling eye emoji)
There were Sunday's I would drive to church and sit in my car and cry, because I felt angry, sad, and insecure while feeling completely empty. I believed if I disappeared no one would notice. It was like a I was trapped in an emotional blender that no one could see.
I learned a lot last year and, honestly, I'm still learning.
Here's something I need you to know.
Don't demonize what you are feeling. What you feel at any given time is valid and real. It may be misplaced. It may be unhealthy, but at the end of the day, they are real. Churches for a long time have told you to ignore your feelings because they are misguiding.
That's a load of crap. Here's why.
No matter who you are, you have feelings at any given moment of any day. You are an emotional being. To ignore those emotions is like trying to ignore a 40-foot wave by closing your eyes. Eventually, you are going to get hit and you're not going to be ready.
If you still don't believe me, then let's look at the Bible.
Jesus was mad.
Jesus was sad.
Jesus was anxious.
Jesus was emotionally hurt.
Jesus was socially betrayed.
God felt anger.
God felt regret.
God felt sadness.
God felt hatred.
To ignore your emotions is to ignore your uniqueness.
So your emotions are real and valid, but here are some things to help you use your emotions in a positive way.
1. Ask yourself, "Why am I feeling this way?"
Taking inventory of your feelings and identifying why you feel that way can be a game-changer for your life. You may realize you're sad when you go to work or that your angry when you are around certain people. From there you can assess and make changes. These feelings can help you grow as a person and help you learn more about yourself.
2. Let your feelings be a measure of your situation, not the master of your situation.
It okay to have feelings, we've said that and I'm not about to juke you. The problem is when we allow our feelings to decide our next move. This can be detrimental because what you feel now may not be what you feel later. Here's an example from yours truly.
I'm super emotional. Very. Very. Emotional. I will make life-altering decisions while brushing my teeth. I'm working on it. For instance, I have snapped my phone in half a few times after a surprising text or frustrating conversation. I felt anger that could only be compared to the fires of hell at that moment and I unleashed my wrath on a Motorola Razr (I miss those) and an iPhone. However, a few hours later, I felt like I giant fool who's only desire was to use my now broken phone.
My anger was a good measure for my situation and I should have taken time to understand it. However, it was a bad decision-maker at that moment. If I waited a few hours later or had a conversation with a trusted friend, then my phones would have survived and I would have saved money.
3. Pray an Emotional Prayer.
This is my favorite. At least once a week I will scream, yell, cry, and argue with God about everything in my life. I use to think this was "irreverent" (Insert another eye-rolling emoji). God knows what you're feeling, so you might as well tell him. I choose to believe if God can overlook all my other ridiculous stunts, then he can deal with my emotional breakdowns. In these moments, I share everything. Seriously, everything. Sometimes I quote the different Psalms like this:
"And in Your loving kindness, cut off my enemies
And destroy all those who afflict my soul"
Mmmm. Speaks to my soul.
I challenge you to be honest about your situation and yell at God or cry if you need to. It's okay. I promise you won't get hit by lightning.
God gave you emotions, so don't hide them. Feel them and gain understanding about yourself! God wants that for you.
Three Questions to Answer:
What emotions have you been avoiding and why?
What steps can you take to control your emotions in a healthy manner?
If you could be honest with God, what would you say?