Feelings - Elisabeth Klein
Question (from Facebook community): “I don’t know if I’m coming or going. How do you sort through all the feelings and acknowledge them?”
Several years ago, I asked my then ten-year-old son what he was feeling. His answer, “I don’t know.” I realized he may not even know how to identify his feelings, so I pulled together a list. I know this may seem totally rudimentary, but when you are feeling about a thousand feelings, it can be difficult to untangle them sometimes. So here’s the list I gave my son, tweaked a bit for those of us in hard marriages or divorced.
Happy
Definition: in high spirits; satisfied.
When you might feel this: When you get your way, when God answers a prayer, when you get a gift, when you handle yourself well in a confrontation, when you get to do something fun.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You smile, laugh, feel good inside, want to keep feeling that way.
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? Laugh, thank Jesus, thank the person who helped you feel this way, you can look up a verse about being happy (Psalm 68:3).

Angry
Definition: being mad, often extremely mad.
When you might feel this: when someone irritates you, makes you do something you don’t want to do or at a time you don’t want to do it, calls you a name, doesn’t follow through on a promise.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You might get hot, you might want to kick or punch something, you might want to yell.
How you shouldn’t express this feeling: Yell at the person, yell at someone else, slam doors, be disrespectful, hurt someone or yourself, keep it to yourself.
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? Calmly tell the person that you’re angry and why, tell Jesus about it and ask him to help you handle your anger well, talk to a friend about it, journal about it, punch your pillow, count to ten, breathe deeply for a few moments, take a quick walk up, you can look up a verse about what God wants us to do about our anger (Ephesians 4:26).
Bonus tidbit: I recently read that the physical response of anger lasts in our bodies for about twenty seconds. This means anything we’re still upset about beyond twenty seconds is us choosing to hold onto it; now that’s something to think about.

Sad
Definition:unhappy, depressed.
When you might feel this: when someone says something that hurts your feelings, when you’re left out at school, when you don’t do well at work, when you miss someone, when someone breaks a promise, when you’re lied to, betrayed, left.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You may cry, may feel tired, you may not want to talk to anyone, you may want to be left alone.
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? You can talk to Jesus and ask him to help you feel better, you can talk to a friend, you can journal about it, you can spend some time alone or doing something by yourself, you can lie down for a little while, you can cry, you can make a list of five things you’re thankful for, you can look up a verse about being sad (Psalm 42:11).Scared
Definition:frightened.
When you might feel this: doing something that is a phobia, doing something for the first time, realizing your reality for what it truly is, when your husband hurts you, asks for a divorce or leaves you.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You might feel butterflies in your stomach, you might feel hot, your hands might get sweaty, you might have trouble sleeping or concentrating, your heart races.
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? You can tell someone that you’re scared, tell Jesus and ask him to make you more brave, journal about it, hold someone’s hand, you can look up a verse about Jesus being with you when you’re scared (Joshua 10:25).

Lonely
Definition: feeling friendless, alone.
When you might feel this: when you go to sleep alone, when your kids are with your ex-husband, when you walk into church by yourself.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You feel like you’re missing someone.
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? You can call, email or write the person you’re missing, you can tell Jesus about it and ask him to remind you that he’s with you, you can ask a friend to do something together, you can journal about it, you can look up a verse about Jesus being your friend (I John 4:11).

Worried/Confused
Definition: anxious, troubled, don’t know what to think about something, don’t understand something.
When you might feel this: when you’re arguing with your spouse, when you’ve been left.
How can you know this is what you’re feeling? You might feel butterflies in your stomach, you might imagine things to turn out badly (for instance, you might think that if your parents’ fight, it might mean they’ll get a divorce).
What can you do to express this feeling in a healthy way? You can talk to Jesus about this, you can talk to your Mom or Dad about this, you can journal about this, you can list off five things you’re thankful for, you can look up a verse about worrying (Matthew 6:34).

Every feeling is a gift. Lysa Terkeurst says, “Every emotion is an indicator, not a dictator.” You can feel what you’re feeling. You can process each one. But you can choose what to do with it all.

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