We all have feelings and our feelings are important. The tell us what is going on inside and can indicate well-being or a warning. Feelings are important for understanding our relationships. Feelings motivate us to react to our surroundings.
Sometimes our feelings are difficult for us. We can be trapped by painful feelings. They can keep us from doing what we need to do. Our feelings can affect our health.
From earliest childhood both parents and society endeavor to teach us how to express feelings in a responsible way. Most of us, at times, express our feelings in an irresponsible way and this damages both us and others. Consequentially, many people bottle up their feelings and it can be dangerous for anyone to internalize their feelings rather than express them irresponsibly. However, we can learn responsible ways of expressing how we feel.
Expressing our feelings in the right way can be healing and peace as Psalm 32:3-5 tells us:
When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long. . . . Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins.
We are responsible for what we do with feelings. They are not right or wrong; they are neutral. Feelings are not under our conscious control. However, we can choose what we do with our feelings: deny them, bury them, feed them, or control them. Being in control of your feelings, instead of them con trolling us, if difficult, but it is satisfying and worthwhile.
Feelings do and can change, and we can choose to change our feelings toward others and toward ourselves. To do this takes much discipline and willpower. Trying to change feelings can make us aware of how much we need God’s help. So, follow the example of our psalmist and take our concerns to God in prayer and ask for his constant presence and support: Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God [Psalm 42:5]
If you are struggling with feelings you cannot control and you find it difficult to pray, try this prayer as a starting point. Make the prayer your own by telling God what is dark in you, what is broken, what you are sick of.
Enlighten what’s dark in me;
Strengthen what’s weak in me;
Mend what’s broken in me;
Bind what’s wounded in me;
Heal what’s sick in me;
Revive whatever peace and love has
Died in me.