Expressing Your Feelings
December 15, 2018
Michele sat rigidly on the edge of her bed, wanting to cry but somehow finding that tears wouldn’t come. The whole day seemed like a blur. The funeral home, the church, the graveyard. All day she had stood numbly by her mother’s side, not able to unlock the feelings that were tumbling around inside her.
From downstairs she could hear the murmur of hushed voices. Her aunt and uncle were down in the kitchen with Mom. Michele stared at her dad’s picture on the desk. His death had changed everything, yet nobody was talking about it.
The long months while he’d been sick had been horrible—all those hours in the hospital, watching as Dad wasted away. Michele remembered him coaching her soccer team just last summer, swinging her high in the air when she scored the winning goal.
She heard her aunt’s soft footsteps on the stairs. “Your mom’s going to bed a little early, honey, trying to get some rest,” Aunt Sylvia said. She sat down beside Michele and patted her hand. “I know you must be feeling terrible, sweetie,” she said. “But you’ll try to be a brave girl for your mom and help her out all you can, won’t you?”
How do you cope with feelings of loss, or sadness, or grief? What does the Bible teach about how to deal with our emotions? How does it make you feel knowing that Jesus Himself wept? (see Luke 19:41; John 11:35).
Memory Text: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14).
Our Beliefs, no. 26, Death and Resurrection: “The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 9-13
“Grow up! Big kids don’t cry!”
“Christians are happy all the time.” »» “Just because you’re happy, you don’t have to act all excited. Be mature. Calm down.”
Ever get any of these messages? What do you hear about expressing feelings? How do you think a Christian should express his or her feelings, especially when experiencing unpleasant emotions, such as loss, grief, or sadness?
Read John 5:28; John 11:25; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.
How can you find comfort in the promise of resurrection when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one?
Jesus longs to fill our hearts with hope and meaning. What are some practical examples of how you can bring your burdens to Jesus when you feel overwhelmed with feelings of sadness or disappointment?
“Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. . . . Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode” (Ellen White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 11).
Read Matthew 7:12.
Read Hebrews 4:15, 16. What a great promise we have in this Bible text! Jesus as our high priest can sympathize with us because He faced some of the same perplexities that are common to human existence. The Bible guides us to be careful in how we express emotions. For example, it’s natural to be angry, but not to let our anger rule us in such a way that we lose control and hurt others. It’s OK to mourn and express sorrow when we’ve lost someone we love, but even as we do so we should be aware that we have hope in Jesus’ soon return, when He will resurrect those righteous people who believed in Him.
So if you feel like shouting for joy when you get an A+ on your final exam, go ahead and do it! And when someone has truly hurt your feelings, try telling them honestly: “That really hurt me. I felt bad when you did that.” It’s OK to express your feelings—but not OK to use them as an excuse to hurt others.
Match the phrase with the Bible text. Texts are from the New International Version of the Bible.
1. John 15:11 2.
2 Samuel 6:14
3. Ephesians 4:26, 27
4. John 2:15
5. Matthew 26:38
6. Psalm 6:7
7. Psalm 66:1
|A||“ Shout for joy . . . “|
|B||“. . . that my joy may be in you . . .”|
|C||“My eyes grow weak with sorrow . . .”|
|D||“Wearing a linen ephod, David . . .”|
|E||“Stay here and keep watch with me.“|
|F||“. . . Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry . . .”|
|G||“So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts . . .”|
Review the Bible memory text.
Where’s God when you’re feeling hurt, or angry, or sad? Sometimes you may feel as if God has disappeared and left you to deal with your life alone. One of the bad things about bad feelings is that they can get in the way of our relationship with God. He’s there, like the sun on a cloudy day, but sometimes we can’t see or feel Him.
That’s when you need to hold on to God by faith and trust His providential leading. Make it a habit to talk to God, even when you don’t feel good. He’s there, and He’s listening. He can help you find positive ways to deal with distressing situations that leave you hurt and discouraged. Remember God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13. His desire for you is to give you a hope-filled future not only in His glorious kingdom but already here on earth. Would you trust your life in His loving care? In doing so, you will make the best decision of your life! God always has a positive solution, a way to deal with any situation. Talk to Him in bad times—and in good times, too.
Write a card or letter to a friend or family member. You can write a thank-you to someone who’s made you really happy and explain how they have made your life brighter. If you feel hurt or disappointed, it will help to get those feelings out on paper too.
Be sure to send or deliver a positive letter right away; you would do wisely not to send the letter expressing negative feelings (just getting the words down on paper will do you good even if the other person never reads it). As you have learned in the previous lesson, being tactful and keeping silence about certain unpleasant situations will spare you from pain and help restore your relationship with others.
After you write your letter, take a moment to pray for that person and for your relationship with him or her.