Validate Your Feelings
Today we start the process of finding hope for healing and happiness to replace your holiday hurts.
Before we get started let me encourage you to make room to become aware of what you are sensing and thinking.
Get alone. Get quiet. Turn off the music. Turn off the phone or put it where you won’t be tempted to let it interrupt.
Take out a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.
If you need more time to prepare, take it. Come back when you are ready.
Let’s go to work.
Philippians 4:6-9 is our core curriculum. If you’re thinking, “Oh! I know that already. I prayed and it didn’t help.” Before you bail on me, let me tell you, I know and I know why prayer didn’t help. That’s why we are here. We need to look at the passage again. For now, let’s skip the part on prayer.
Step one: Validate your feelings
How do you validate your feelings?
- Acknowledge what you feel.
Your hurt is real.
The first words of verse 6: “Do not be anxious…”
Anxiety is a feeling.
“But wait!”, you say, “Doesn’t the passage says, ‘Don’t be anxious'”? Yes, but that isn’t the same as “Stop it! Stop being anxious.”
I will make a case that we aren’t used to feeling. If we rush past this we will miss the cure.
Anxiety, sadness, anger, frustration, are all feelings. Hurt and fear are feelings.
What do you feel right now?
Feeling is difficult for most of us.
We’ve not been taught to feel. We’ve been taught to ignore our feelings.
What a shame. Feeling is part of being human. Feeling is a reminder that we bear God’s image. Did you know that God feels? We are told, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” And, “Jesus wept.” Grief and sadness are feelings.
- Write three to five words that capture what you’re feeling.
Don’t get hung up trying to use exactly the right word. Just write down what you feel, what you’re sensing.
Use words that make sense to you. This exercise is just for you. This is for your eyes only. Use words you understand. “I feel sad.” “I feel down.” “I feel blue.” “I feel like I am in a funk.” “I feel cheated.” “I feel like I was kicked to the curb.” “I feel alone.” “I feel hopeless.” “I feel an angst.” “I feel depressed.” “I feel uneasy.”
- Don’t attempt to justify your feelings.
You don’t need to. To justify is to think. We aren’t there yet. Take your time—one step at a time. Just acknowledge how you feel.
- Don’t deny or stuff your feelings.
Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are those who deny what they feel for they will be comforted.” No! He said, “Blessed are those who mourn…” Acknowledging your feelings precedes God’s healing.
- Don’t try to feel or not to feel anything.
Has anyone ever told you how to or not to feel? “You should be happy…” “You shouldn’t be angry…” That’s like telling a person whose hand is on a hot iron, “You shouldn’t feel heat.” Don’t try to feel anything. Write down what YOU really feel.
- Don’t scold yourself.
“I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but…” Here’s great news. Your feelings are not sinful. Let it go. Just acknowledge how you feel.
So, what do you feel? Do you need more time. Take a break. Come back later or tomorrow.
Did you write down what you feel? If you didn’t, do it now.
Congratulate yourself! You’ve taken the first step towards opening the door for the God of peace to enter in.