Purposeful Faith

When Feelings are Overwhelming

Feelings can be frightening, overwhelming a heart to the point of desperation and misery. Or prisons, entrapping one to past experiences, traumas or memories.  Often they become future proclamations, declaring over us, “What was, always will be. You’ll never escape this emotion.” Feelings, on the other hand, can be amazing, liberating and soul-rejuvenating. Just think of the best day of your life!

What do we do with them?

Up, down and all around – they move like the wind. Like a hurricane or an underground rocking that shakes the foundation of who you are. I get all this. I know how anger has made me act, in days of old. I remember getting all up into my sisters face. And the feelings of self-annoyance I perpetually lived with. The depression that made me feel like there was no good way out of life.

Feelings can be fun, or no fun. They can be old and then haunt us again.

Yet, just because they show up on our doorstep doesn’t mean we have to answer the door so they stay forever. We are not obligated to say, “Come on in and make yourself at home.”

I fear some of you have done this. Sadly, now old feelings are cramping your good style. They’ve spread out all over the space of your soul, heart and mind, stealing your attention on God, negating God’s good plan for your life and telling you that there’s no way you can be enough.

People ask me what to do with “feelings”?

Well, I think when we see them at our doorstep, we peep out the side window and first acknowledge them. We allow them and we even bring them to God. There he is again, “Mr. Disappointment” I see him there, trying to get in. God, what do you think about this? What does your word say about hanging out with this emotion for too long?

Then, with wisdom, we decide whether or not they can sit in our house for long periods of time.

We can do this by asking ourselves a few questions:

1. Are these feelings going to cause me to dwell on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely,  admirable, excellent, praiseworthy” or lesser things? (Phil. 4:8)  Are they leading me to life or death?

2. Are they reinforcing God’s truth or are they backed by lies?

Example: If God says he is “for us”, we would not be wise to dwell in hopelessness that believes, “God is not for me.”

3. Are they helping me to love God (and others) with all my heart or do they cause me to pull away from this?

If we’re called to do all things in love, anything contending against it should be heart-checked.

Friends, we don’t have to declare our initial feelings as “bad”,  ignore them or hate ourselves for them. However, we do need to see them for what they are, quickly, and make moves to let Godly-facts take precedence over wavering-feelings.

Why? Because sadness soon turns into isolation. Rejection soon turns into depression. Anger soon turns into a division. Loneliness soon turns a bottle. You get the picture.

Don’t make a long-term resident of a feeling that should only be seen as a passing-by door-to-door salesman. Yep, Kelly sees you there wanting to sell a whole bunch of stuff, but God’s got a better word than you. She’s listening to truth, over feelings. And letting that be her guide…

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Great post, Kelly. I’ve been the one who lets feelings come into my heart, overtake my thoughts, and then grow so big I couldn’t see beyond them. Yes, we definitely need to bring our feelings to God. To ask for His help when they try to overtake us. I think we need to acknowledge them, but then we need to let Jesus help us deal with them.

  • Great advice. I especially love your next-to-last paragraph “Because sadness soon turns into isolation. Rejection soon turns into depression. Anger soon turns into a division. Loneliness soon turns a bottle.” Good reasons not to dwell on negative, destructive emotions.

  • I love this: “Don’t make a long-term resident of a feeling that should only be seen as a passing-by door-to-door salesman. ”

    Thanks for continuing to host this linkup, sweet Kelly. I appreciate you!

  • Thank you for this today! I’ve been dealing with up and down emotions, brought on by circumstances, stress and hormones! They can be so strong and as you so well explained, seem like there is nothing else, they just take over, I end up anxious or in tears. I prayed held tight to Gods word and just like you said, I didn’t have to let them in to stay. The next time they come knocking I’m going to use your questions to help me hear and focus on God’s voice. Bless you!

  • Great thoughts here on the right place of emotions in our lives. God definitely gave them to us, and we should allow ourselves to “feel all the feels,” but our emotions are not the boss of us.

  • Hi Kelly—I read recently that we should allow our yucky feelings to just pass. Like clouds passing over. Notice them, take note of them, but watch them pass. Your illustration of a door to door salesman helps reinforce that thought! This was great! Thanks…

  • Interesting idea about not letting some feelings come in and make themselves at home. I like your door-to-door salesman illustration. I’ve also written about feelings today, and about how we can take them honestly to God rather than trying to manage them via comparison.

    Thanks so much for giving us a place to share! Every blessing to you.

  • Hi Kelly,
    Just like the door to door salesman sales tactics, we need to ask ourselves, do we really need it in our lives & what will be the overall cost of this!
    The payment plan may seem enticing…just a little at a time… but it always costs way more than we realize & builds with interest!
    Best to really look at it & see what it is at the time & if that means saying an assertive ” No thank you” then we need to say it & gently close the door…

  • One thing I learned years ago is feelings are real, but they aren’t facts. It is so important to know the difference. We can give too much power to our feelings. Great post.

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