Emotions. Sometimes they feel like a girl’s best friend, but often they feel like a girl’s worst enemy. Much as we might want to escape them at times, we can’t. So how are we to think about them, and what on earth are we to do with them?
I have much more to learn when it comes to these unruly feelings, but here are thirty things I do know about emotions (in no particular order):
Surprisingly, letting others “in” when you’re feeling sad seems to forge friendships much faster than if you appear to have everything “together.”
Let a few trusted friends know when you’re struggling. Ask for prayer. It will help!
Your emotions don’t have to control you.
Don’t make any big decisions when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. That’s the time to HALT. (I think I learned this acronym from you, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Thanks for that.)
PMS is real, but it’s not an excuse to sin. Prepare for it by tracking your cycle so you know what to expect, and pray accordingly.
Joy isn’t simply an emotion; it’s a fruit of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22).
It’s a beautiful thing when a guy is willing to show emotion from time to time.
God acknowledges that there are things that are truly frightening, and then He tells us not to fear them but to hope in Him (1 Peter 3:6).
Tears are not a weakness.
It is better to cry than to hold it all in.
It’s okay to be angry . . . if you don’t sin (Eph. 4:26).
That being said, anger is rarely righteous (James 1:20).
Examine your emotions often. They’re excellent indicators of what you’re believing, which—if you’re like me—you’ll often need to repent of and replace with truth.
Other times, ignore your emotions. Sometimes it’s best NOT to listen to them or give them even an inch.
Just because you’re a “feeler” doesn’t mean you can’t also be a “thinker.” Don’t let people pigeon-hole you.
There is only one reason we can “not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6). The answer lies in the verse just before this: “The Lord is near.” (Thanks for this insight, Paul David Tripp.)
True joy is found in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11). Therefore, you can be happy anywhere, even in a nursing home! (I’ve never forgotten you telling me this at Applebee’s years ago, Maria Johnson.)
There’s time to have fun, but it’s also important to be serious (1 Peter 5:8).
Sadness won’t kill you. It is okay to feel sad this side of heaven. In fact, good can even come from it.
Once you’ve suffered and been comforted, you’ll be better equipped to encourage others in similar situations (2 Cor. 1:3–5).
Emotions change nearly as often as the nighttime sky; God’s truth never changes.
Cutting or harming yourself in any way is not the answer to the inner pain you feel.
Piano keys are a great, safe way to express your emotions. If you don’t play the piano, find another safe, healthy way to process your emotions.
Know yourself well enough to know whether you need to be with people when you’re feeling emotional or whether time alone would help.
Sugar only makes you feel more crazy.
It’s wise to keep your mouth shut when you’re feeling especially emotional (Prov. 29:11).
At the same time, if you’re struggling with your emotions, let those around you know that if they “see” anything on your face, it’s not them; you’re just having a rough day. (Thanks for this, Wes Ward.)
Those who don’t feel deeply often wish they could. Don’t despise your emotions; God can use them for good.
What are some things you do to boost your trust in God? I’m having issues with stepping back and simply saying “You’re in charge.” I just can’t get myself to do it. I’m too stubborn. What should I do to humble myself and step back? It’s really weird. I want to, but I feel like I can’t.
First off, you’re not alone. Human beings have struggled to trust their Creator ever since . . . Genesis 3!
But if you’re ready to get serious, here are five ways you can boost your trust in God today.
1. Get to know God.
Ever since you were a little girl, you’ve been trained not to trust strangers. It’s only been as you’ve gotten to know someone that you’ve learned that they could be trusted.
As you get to know Him through His Word, you will begin to see that He is absolutely trustworthy.
The same is true of God. He is a Person who has let you know what He’s like by writing a Book about Himself. As you get to know Him through His Word, you will begin to see that He is absolutely trustworthy, and your trust in Him will grow (Rom. 10:17).
2. Learn from those who have walked with God longer than you have.
Rather than having to learn everything the hard way, grab onto the wisdom of those who have gone before. It will save you a whole lotta pain!
In Numbers 20:2, we learn that the people of Israel had no water. The thing is, forty years earlier, the previous generation had experienced the same thing (Ex. 17:1). In that case, God had provided water from a rock. How do you think this knowledge could have helped the younger generation as they faced the same test?
3. Remember God’s trustworthiness in the past.
All through Scripture God commands us to “remember,” “remember,” “remember” His faithfulness. In Joshua 4:6, the people were commanded to set up twelve stones for this reason:
“These stones will remind the people of what the Lord has done.”
What can you do today to keep track of and remember the many times God has proved Himself trustworthy? Maybe it’s journaling about the experience or framing a picture of it or . . .
4. Surround yourself with people who trust God and encourage you to trust Him as well.
Proverbs 12:26 is just one of many verses that shows us the importance of who we do life with: “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
5. Choose to trust God, even when you feel like you can’t. Just do it.
It is exactly these tough moments that will teach and strengthen you to believe and trust God. This is the perfect opportunity to grow your trust in Him! But first you’ll have to just . . . trust.
When nothing in you wants to trust God, that’s precisely when faith steps in.
Trust, or faith, is a simple (okay, not necessarily easy, but definitely doable) act of the will. When nothing in you wants to trust God, that’s precisely when faith steps in. Faith chooses to trust God’s promises rather than trusting one’s own feelings. It’s your choice: trust yourself, or trust God. Who do you think is more trustworthy?
I’d love to hear from you. How else can we all boost our trust in God?
One of you recently asked, “How do you live 1 Peter 3:3–4? I have an idea, but I’m not sure.”
You’ve probably heard these verses before, but here’s a refresher:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
How do you live these verses?
Not without 1 Peter 3:1–2 or 1 Peter 3:5–6. Context is critical to understanding what the Bible means. So let’s check out the surrounding verses. The chapter begins:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
Ah! So Peter is writing to married women.
Sweet! So I don’t have to listen to and apply this passage yet because I’m not married, right?
But before we apply it to ourselves, let’s make sure we understand the original meaning of this text.
First Peter 3:3–4 is followed by these verses:
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
Yowza. This passage is all about . . . submission! Before you start sending me hate mail, let me point out some good news:
In the context of marriage, we are only commanded to submit to one man, our own husband. You don’t have to submit to other women’s husbands (re-read the first part of verse 1 to see this for yourself), although part of being a Christian is respecting and considering the needs of all people.
God isn’t asking us to do anything He hasn’t already done. Did you notice the way 1 Peter 3 started with the word “Likewise”? Peter is comparing our submission to someone else’s. But whose? Flip the page in your Bible to the end of chapter two for the answer.
We are all called to submit to the authorities over us. Not only to those who are “good and gentle,” but also to those who are “unjust.”
Because Christ, our Lord, did so for you and me:
Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21–23).
Obviously there’s a whole lot more to get out of this text, but let me stop and try to answer this girl’s question about how to live out 1 Peter 3:3–4 as a single. I’d suggest starting with this:
Submit to the authorities who are currently in your life while ultimately entrusting yourself to your heavenly Father. Make your dad and mom’s job easy. Seek to be easy to lead.
Remember that your beautiful face will eventually go, but your character will remain. Don’t trust in your outer beauty to capture and keep a man.
Ask God to help you not fear anything that’s frightening. Seek to grow your trust in Him so you don’t have to trust in yourself during frightening times, but can throw yourself on Him.
Now that you know a bit more of the context of 1 Peter 3:3–4, how else do you think you can begin to become this kind of reverent, fearless, God-trusting woman?