If I’m totally honest, I loathe the phrase “all the feels”. I don’t know why it bothers me so much. Maybe it’s because I don’t like feeling the feelings. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to break.
For a long time, I felt that it was weak to cry. There were days in middle school and high school when I cried all the time. Bad grade? Tears. Bad hair day? Tears. Someone looked at me funny? Tears. I couldn’t help it, and I hated it. For a few months of my life when I was growing humans, I cried over things like when my husband made dinner and didn’t let me prove what a good wife I was- I really pled my case there, huh?
Later in life I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I did everything I could to avoid tears. I was applauded for my strength, and I developed a stigma. At my job in the hospital, we deal with the difficult. I tell students all the time that it’s okay to cry, as long as the family isn’t supporting us. But I don’t really feel like it’s okay when I cry. I nonchalantly escape to a safe place. I retreat to my office and put a cold juice box on my face til the splotches go away. I fan my face and wipe my eyes and walk out with a fresh smile. All is well. I don’t want to be in my feelings.
Lately, the feelings have been flowing. I joked that I’m sympathy pregnant for my friend who is actually expecting and feeling ALL. THE. FEELS. I wanted an excuse for the highs and lows. I’m out of my comfort zone. So, what gives?
A few things:
God is teaching me not to judge the cryers. Because I’m quickly becoming one of them. Also, Jesus cried, and I’m just trying to be more like Him, okay? (John 11:35)
God is showing me that in my weakness, He is strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
God is shifting my perspective from one of pride to one of compassion. Ezekiel 36:26 tells us that God is giving us a new heart and putting a new spirit within us. He’s giving us hearts of flesh for our hearts of stone.
My dear friend says that feelings are real, but they aren’t reliable. My tears do not define me. My exhaustion does not define me. My anger does not define me. My feelings are not an accurate portrayal of me. Today I may cry because I’m genuinely sad, but I might also cry because I’m hungry. I may yell at my son because he didn’t pick up his clothes, but I’m selfishly more upset because my pride is hurt when he doesn’t obey me. My week on the emotional roller coaster could be attributed to a number of things, but it doesn’t make me fragile. It doesn’t make me less-than. It means I probably need more rest, more Jesus, more water, and I need to release my emotions.
It most definitely means I need to pray and open my Bible. And I mean really open my Bible. Not just read the daily devotional passage of the day. I mean pray for wisdom and guidance. I mean search the Word for answers. I mean journal my prayers and focus my thoughts on God, rather than my momentary problem.
I need to accept that God created emotions when He created us. He made our eyes to cry, He made our hearts to break, He made our cups to runneth over. But He also made our mouths to smile, He made our souls to be grateful, He made our cups to runneth over.
What I want to say is that it’s okay to feel. In fact, it’s encouraged. It’s healthy. But don’t be controlled by the emotions. Romans 12:5 says we should rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. In context, the chapter is talking about getting along with others. Don’t be proud. Don’t be evil because someone else is. Don’t seek revenge. The weeping is temporary and frustration is fleeting; elation isn’t a permanent feeling either. On a deeper level, humble yourself. The world isn’t focused on you. It doesn’t, or shouldn’t, really matter if I cry or I don’t cry. I can be free to release my feelings and move on. I can spend my time meeting the needs of others or being productive in what God has called me to do.
Feel what you feel. Learn from what you feel. And help others as they feel. Enjoy the roller coaster and enjoy the solid ground. Both can help you grow if you seek wisdom in the mean time.
All the feels,