All Posts /

God Made You to Feel

God Made You to Feel

Editor’s note: Ladies, our next Online Bible Study is one you don’t want to miss! Untangle Your Emotions by Jennie Allen is for every single one of us. Join us as we dig into our emotions and learn how to manage them with Jesus! Grab a friend and sign up today.


One question I’ve never liked is, “How does that make you feel?” Truth is, often I just don’t know. Or I don’t want to know.

My feelings are tangled. They feel unknowable, out of control, and sometimes, alarmingly absent. Maybe yours do, too. Feelings! What are we supposed to do with them? And what even are they anyway?

A lot of us might answer, “Nothing I want to deal with, thank you very much.”

Why? I can tell you that personally, somewhere along the way, maybe from church, or just from growing up, I learned I wasn’t supposed to feel feelings. Or be sad or angry or scared. I was supposed to be okay. Or maybe I avoided feelings because I despise the feeling of being out of control; I believed these feelings were too scary, and sitting in the hard felt ... too hard.

Even now, as an adult, every time I experience sadness, fear, anger — emotions I’ve been conditioned to not want to feel — something deep within me automatically starts trying to fight off the feeling like it’s a virus. I go on attack, judging that feeling, condemning it, and telling myself why I shouldn’t feel it at all. My brain tells me how it is all going to be okay. It barks out all these orders about what I need to do so I can finally stop feeling the feeling.

Before we heal, though, we’re going to have to dump some unhelpful notions that are baked into a lot of our hearts and minds. Most of us from our earliest days were taught to not feel what we feel.

Regardless of the year you were born, the city you grew up in, and who raised you, I am confident you were conditioned right from the start regarding what to do when you felt a feeling.

Most often, it’s control yourself.

They might be embarrassed by our displays of emotion. They might feel judged by them. They might be emotionally unhealthy themselves.

For whatever reason, often accidentally, they shame us for feeling things. They dismiss the feelings we felt. They neglect or ignore altogether the emotions we are juggling. They shut down as we try to engage.

It’s not just our parents. The church often doesn’t know what to do with feelings either. And that can be deeply hurtful.

Listen: I so wish I could talk to you in person. What is your story here? Were you ever told by a parent or family member or some kind of spiritual authority not to feel something that you really and truly felt? Were you ever told to “calm down” because your natural reaction was too big?

We’re going to take steps toward uncovering and healing those wounds in our time together.

And a huge part of that is recasting some of the unhelpful things we’ve learned in church.

Your feelings, my feelings, are not evil things that need to be beat back.

In fact, feelings can’t be beat back. No matter how far down we stuff them, they pop out at funny times. And they get all over people — especially people we love.

Rage, fear of rejection, jealousy, bitterness, despair—if you’re like me, you might think you packed all those things safely away in a box, so you won’t have to see them again. But those things sneak back up on us when we least expect them.

And they’re not figments of our imaginations. Those feelings are tangled up with something very real in your past or present, something that absolutely IS a big deal to you, whether or not you’re ready to admit it.

  • Feelings can’t be beat back. They can’t be ignored or dismissed. They are trying to tell us something.

Look. I’m a fixer at heart. For so long, I’ve considered my fix-it nature a gift—a spiritual gift, in fact. But over the past few years, as I’ve been on a journey toward untangling my emotions, I’ve come to see things in a very different light.

The truth is that I’ve been so busy fixing stuff that I’ve neglected the “feeling” part of me.

I haven’t given myself permission to feel what I actually feel. I haven’t given the people in my life permission to feel what they actually feel. It turns out you can’t feel feelings while you’re preoccupied with fixing them.

Crazy, right?

I bet you can relate. In fact, I know it. I bet you tend to resist examining your feelings, too.

As we go through these six weeks together, learning to listen to what our emotions are trying to tell us, I hope you’ll discover this truth: Feelings were never meant to be fixed; feelings are meant to be felt.

I know what you may be thinking... Let me take a minute to put some of you at ease. The world has swung so far that emotions are everything. That’s not what I’m saying. We’re talking about emotion that is submitted to the will of God and the truth of God’s Word. We’re not talking about just feeling things and acting on them everywhere. We’re talking about using them for the purposes that God intended; our emotions connect us to each other and to God. But one reason that our feelings are coming out sideways everywhere is that we never learned how to do this right. And so, when we begin to heal, we begin to experience emotions how they’re meant to be experienced.

Then what happens? We start to regulate. It’s a great word. It’s a counseling word, but it’s a spiritual word. It’s what happens to our bodies. God built our nervous system.

Maybe you’re like me, and you don’t like what emotions do to you. If they are to blame for so much discomfort and pain, why would we give them license to come in and just do as they please?

I follow Jesus. And whether you follow Him too, or have no faith at all, or are still deciding what you believe, I’m glad you are here. If you don’t know Him, I’m guessing that as you keep reading, you’ll really like Him. Because as you will see, He is compassionate toward you, toward me. This matters because to be human is to long for compassion. We’re all starving for compassion, and Jesus wants to provide it.

When Jesus walked the earth, story after story of His ministry confirmed how He cared about each person He came across. He cared about their mind. He cared about their body. He cared about their soul. He even cared about their emotions, which is something we don’t hear too much about. You know, I’ve heard smart Bible people teach and preach on how important it is for us to believe certain things with our minds, behave certain ways with our bodies, and commit to certain things so that our souls will spend eternity in the right place, but I can’t think of a single time when I heard someone teach on how Jesus feels about the emotions we feel. Which is odd to me because all throughout Scripture, we see evidence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit feeling lots and lots of feelings.

  • How do you think God feels about your feelings?

Is He judging them? As I began my research on this, I had so many questions: When does feeling an emotion turn sinful?

Have all the emotions always existed?
Will they exist forever in Heaven?
What does God do with His emotions?
Wait, does God have emotions?
Does the Bible say we can control our emotions?
If we can, does that mean we should?
At the very least, I had to know, are my feelings sin?

Here’s the thing though: our feelings are trying to tell us something important, not trying to take over. In fact, God gave them to us for a reason. Not to be controlled or “managed” but to connect us, to Him and to others around us. Are you prepared to believe that our feelings are actually a gift meant to help us? And that all of them are good?

Excerpted with permission from Untangle Your Emotions Study Guide by Jennie Allen, copyright Jennie Allen.

* * *

Your Turn

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt like my emotions needed to be fixed, handled, shoved into an appropriate corner. What if God wants us to feel everything we feel and learn something from them with Him? What if naming our emotions are what we need to live this life God’s way? Come find out with us! Join the Untangle Your Emotions OBS starting June 10th! Sign up today! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full