Most of us have some degree of trouble admitting our true feelings or being able to express them, especially if we are struggling with life-interfering problems. But throughout the Bible, God encourages us to be in touch with our feelings and to know them. Then He doesn’t want us to keep them hidden inside. Jesus set an example for us: He had emotions and he expressed them. He cried. He got angry. He was sad. He was concerned and sweated blood in the garden.
We often hide the way we feel behind a defense to keep our real selves from showing through. Inside we may feel angry, or fearful or sad, but we hide those feelings by joking…or acting superior or looking important…using sarcastic comments…being silent…deflecting attention to something else…anesthetizing it with substances or food…isolating or employing some other defense. We may try to cover our sadness with laughter, but when the laughter ends, the hurt or loss remains. Hidden shame and sadness are roadblocks to hope and healing.
Hiding our feelings gives them control over our lives. Unexpressed anger, fear, unforgiveness, or guilt will have a destructive influence on everything we do. We only have a small box inside to keep these feelings in…it overflows quickly. And when it overflows, those feelings will come out into our real everyday functioning…that is a fact.
Your choice is very simple. Express your feelings as they happen in ways that are controllable, functional, measured, healthy, respectful, and useful to you while they match the situation. Or instead, while you are trying to hold in your feelings they will start to overflow from that little container inside and ooze out in ways that are uncontrollable, dysfunctional, random, sabotaging your efforts to deal with the situation at hand and move forward. This is what usually happens and why we are so afraid of our feelings or other people’s feelings.
Today, ask yourself this question: has your “cover-up” helped? Or have you learned first-hand that when the laughter ends, the grief remains? Your suppressed feelings are coming back to undermine your happiness and relationships. Admitting your feelings can be a turning point. Be honest with yourself…and with God…and then with a friend. Being real will open the door for healing. Journaling your feelings as they come up is a good step towards better commanding your emotions.
Dear Father God, I’ve been hiding my feelings for a long time, but I know now it’s time to be honest. Help me to be real. Help me to have better awareness of my feelings and more control in expressing them. Set me free from their grip. Soothe me and increase my awareness of Your soothing. Help me to share my real feelings with my loved ones. I pray in the name of the One whom You sent to be my perfect emotional role model, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children said AMEN!
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when laughter ends, the grief remains.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil.