One of the number one phrases I hear from the women I work with is this: “I am feeling {fill-in-the-blank}…is that normal?”

I don’t care what emotion or feeling they have just confessed to having, I ALWAYS answer, “Whatever you are feeling is normal. Seriously, whatever.”

Here’s why:

One, we’re human. And God created us with emotions (thank you, Jesus!…can you imagine how BORING life would be if we never FELT ANYTHING???). So because I believe that all emotions are from God, we can assume that they are all a normal part of our human experience. Some – happiness, joy, accomplishment, love, etc. – “feel” better to have than others, sure. But even the ones we wish we didn’t have – sadness, anger, loneliness, rejection – have something to offer us. They can be little red flags to us that something isn’t right in our world, sort of our very own indicator light that we should get checked out.

Two, we’re female (well, 98% of my audience at least).  And females are wired to have our emotions run the gamut. And I don’t just mean cyclically either. I can feel twenty emotions in one day. Okay, who am I kidding? I can feel twenty emotions in one hour.  I don’t know about you, but my feelings sort of live just below the surface and they can bubble up at a moment’s notice.

Three, if you’re reading my blog, you pretty much fall into one of two categories: you are either in some kind of relational pain or you are navigating some kind of life transition.  This makes EVERYTHING more raw. You are feeling all the feelings times ten. Any change, any pain, any stressor can make us feel off, can leave us feeling like strangers in our own lives. So, please, sweet girl, show yourself the grace and compassion you would show a precious friend walking through whatever you’re walking through.

Here’s what I can suggest if you wish to handle your emotions a bit better.

First, you have to know what you’re feeling before you can do anything about it. Ask the Spirit to give you discernment then journal it out daily…heck, hourly if you have to. Start becoming aware of what you’re feeling and when and why. This is a sign of emotional maturity, by the way. This isn’t New-Agey mumbo jumbo. (Little tip: Google “feelings chart” if you feel at a loss to name what you’re feeling.)

Secondly, talk with someone. But not just anyone. Try a counselor, a mentor, an empathetic pastor or a trusted friend. If you hold in what you’re feeling – trust me on this – it WILL come out eventually, and usually in inappropriate ways at inappropriate times at inappropriate people. So, get it out.

Thirdly, ask yourself:
How am I sleeping?
How am I eating?
When was the last time I went for a check-up with my doctor?
Taking care of yourself physically has a profound effect on our emotions. We are mind/body/spirit, all intertwined.

Fourthly, ask yourself, gently:
Do I have any unconfessed sin in my life?
Are you doing something that you know you shouldn’t be, that is leaving you feeling guilty, something that you feel you have to hide? If so, you’re not living the free, abundant life God wants for you. Be brave. Tell God and tell a trusted friend. The relief you will feel will be unmatched.

Fifthly, one of my best tricks for working through how I’m feeling is to write out every situation in my life that isn’t going the way I wish it would (think family, work, health, friends, relationships, school, etc.). Everything. Get it all out on paper.

Then, I read through the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can.

Then I run each of my not-so-rosey life situations through that filter, asking myself, “Is there anything I can do about such-and-such?” If I actually can do something, I brainstorm small steps I can take to remedy that issue. If my hands are tied, then I ask God to please fix the situation and to help me be transformed in the meantime.

This isn’t a magic step. But I will tell you this, every single time I’ve done this, I feel less overwhelmed and more even-keeled. I am able to focus on doing the next right thing, which keeps my mind occupied and makes me feel a bit less out-of-control, and I am reminding myself that God is truly lovingly in charge of my life.

Finally, make a gratitude list. Again, this isn’t magic, but something beautiful happens inside of me every single time I choose to list off everything in my life that I am grateful for. And then, actually take a moment to thank God for each of those gifts.

So, finally, here is what I want you to know:

YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

I’VE BEEN WHERE YOU ARE.

EVERYTHING YOU’RE FEELING IS NORMAL.

I’M SO SORRY FOR YOUR PAIN.

YOU WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS, and

YOU ARE LOVED COMPLETELY.

If you are feeling far away from God, here is a resource I’ve put together to encourage you: www.elisabethklein.com/5-ways.

Also, if you’d like to find support from other women in your shoes, I have created private Facebook groups for women who are in difficult marriages, those who are separated/divorced, single moms, those who are dating post divorce, and those who are remarried. Email me at elisabeth@elisabethklein.com.