God wired me up to feel things deeply, to be able to know what I’m feeling – even if it’s ten things at once, and to be able to – usually – express what I’m feeling and why. It’s a gift that I’m grateful for because I’ve seen people struggle with this.
And if you struggle with knowing what’s going on inside or sharing it with someone, let me give you a few reasons why it’s a good idea to try to grow in this area:
Because it’s hard on the people in your life if you leave them having to guess what you’re thinking and feeling all the time.
Because then when people have to guess what someone is thinking and feeling, they do one of two things: they make up stories and react to their made-up version, or they stop reacting altogether.
Because when you don’t share with someone, they stop sharing with you.
Because when you tell someone what you feel, they can respond to you and your current state accordingly, and hopefully do so with gentleness and encouragement, which hopefully in turn helps you feel a bit better.
Because when you share your heart, you are sharing your burden with someone.
Because when you share your pain appropriately, it then won’t come out later in inappropriate ways. (This one is huge, people.)
Because when you share your heart, others don’t have to wonder if and what you’re hiding from them.
Because when you tell someone what you feel, it builds trust.
Because when you express yourself, it frees others up to open themselves up to you.
Because it’s a sign of emotional health.
Because it’s a sign of healing and growth.
Because Jesus himself knew what he was feeling and expressed it, and we are to pattern our lives after his.
But what if you just read all those reasons and you want that but you have no idea where to even begin? A couple thoughts.
Ask Jesus. He wants you whole. He cares about every part of you, not just your soul, not just your church attendance or whether you had devotions this morning. He cares what you are feeling and he cares if you are living authentically and he cares if you are expressing your emotions in healthy ways. So ask Jesus to make you more aware of what you’re feeling and to give you the words to put to it.
Surround yourself with safe people. Do not just start sharing with anyone who saunters into your life. Make sure that your closest companions are fully trustworthy, that they will be gentle with your heart and keep your confidences. If you don’t have this in your life, ask Jesus to provide it.
Talk. Every friendship that is deep and lasting got to that point by one person tossing something out on the table that was maybe hard for them to say, wincing as they did it. You might need to be the first one. Just say it. A friend told me recently that she was sad and then she told me what she was sad about. And because she did that, I felt closer to her, and I was able to try to encourage her and I prayed for her right then. It might be kinda scary or maybe a bit foreign and uncomfortable, but once you begin to open up, it’ll start to change everything.
According to God’s word, our hearts can be brave, deep, enlarged, joyful, known by God, searched by God, tender and so much more. Open yours up wide, and Jesus will be there to catch you.
Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep. –Psalm 64:6b-
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