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Permission to Feel

Being left off the invitation list was the worst thing that could happen to a middle school girl. My first experience with real rejection sent me home wailing.

Adults told me not to feel that way. I interpreted my reaction as sinful. A good Jesus girl should never feel angry, sad or jealous. Never indulge in hurt feelings. God wouldn’t like that.

Unfortunately, painful emotions took me down a dark hole many times, magnifying the situation and my insecurities. The enemy of my soul whispered I wasn’t good enough. That’s the problem when we don’t deal with our feelings. We believe lies which shape the way we think, feel and act.

Years later the unthinkable turned my world upside down. It was then I realized I needed help dealing with emotional turmoil. Engaging in Godly counsel gave me permission to feel. To sit in my anger. To embrace the wounds. To tattle to Jesus. I stopped pushing the hurts away and immersed myself in them. Jesus by my side.

I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all may troubles. Psalm 142:2

As I learned to admit how I felt to my counselor and the Lord, I realized it was okay not to be okay. Because Jesus endured painful emotions, He understood what I was going through. While picturing Him listening to my complaints, I also envisioned Him wrapping His arms around me. I was comforted by the Only One who truly understood.

It was my journey toward healing. Not being afraid to tell Jesus how I felt was life-giving. We know from scripture that Jesus wept, got angry and felt the pain of rejection. He was divine, yet completely human when He walked this earth. Jesus knew I’d also be angry, disturbed, and wounded in life. And because He understood, I could go to Him with my ugly, pain-filled emotions without fear of punishment that I was being sinful.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses but one who has been tempted knowing exactly how it feels to be human. Hebrews 4:15

While we can’t camp out in a state of emotional despair, we do need to work through painful emotions. A counselor gave me permission to feel instead of pretending it didn’t matter. I learned to be honest with her and with Jesus, addressing what was going on inside of my head and heart. Once I learned to bring all of of what I felt to Jesus, I could face the future with confidence and hope.

So if you find yourself enraged or wounded, don’t repress your emotions. Press into God. If you want to heal from the pain, you must deal with the pain. Jesus by your side.

Jesus gives you permission to feel. And when you’re honest and open with Him about how you feel, you just might hear Him say, “I know. Me too.”

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