If you ask any of your friends what their number one problem is, they might mention insecurity, anxiety, boys, school stress, friend problems, family issues, or worries about college and the future. Guess what all those problems have in common? They all deal with feelings.
If you’re anything like me, some days your feelings fluctuate so dramatically that you almost get whiplash. You can go from feeling giddy to anxious to insecure to in love—oops, wait, just kidding, not in love at all; what was I thinking?—all in a span of hours . . . sometimes minutes.
During middle and high school, I usually felt like my emotions were controlling me rather than the other way around. I wanted to be happy and at peace, I wanted to feel close to God and be a strong Christian, I wanted to be an unselfish daughter and sister and friend . . . but it often felt like my feelings were getting in the way, making me do and say things I didn’t want to. Sometimes I felt out of control, overwhelmed, and frustrated. I felt stuck. I had this picture in my mind of the kind of Christian—and person—I wanted to be, but the real me didn’t always match that picture. I wanted to be different, to feel different, but I didn’t know how to.
I dug into my Bible and discovered good news, but the Bible has a lot to say about our feelings. It tells us which feelings are godly and good for us, and gives us ideas for how to encourage those feelings to grow. The Bible also tells us which emotions to watch out for—which ones can hurt us if they get out of control—and gives us ideas for limiting or avoiding them. The Bible can help us learn how to work on our feelings—to take charge of them, instead of letting them push us around.
You may be thinking, take charge of my feelings? What does that even mean? We can’t do anything to change our feelings. Feelings are just . . . there. We don’t have any control over what we feel, when we feel it, and how strongly we feel it . . . right?
Actually, with God’s help, you and I can learn how to keep our feelings from jerking us around all the time. No matter what we feel, God understands, and he has put his counsel in his Word to help us. He “created our inmost being,” emotions and all (Psalm 139:13), and he can help our hearts to thrive.
I’m not promising that reading these devotions will make you feel like you’re cartwheeling through fields of flowers all the time or anything, but I do promise that you can grow. You can learn to handle stress better. You can work through anxious thoughts and sad times with God’s help. You can make wise decisions using your heart and your head—and your Bible. You can find more happiness and become more holy. You can feel closer to God.
Like me, maybe you feel excited about the journey to come, nervous about the need to grow, hopeful about making changes, insecure, understood, comforted, intimidated, encouraged. . . well, you know . . . all the feels.