A Prayer for the One with Big Feelings
By Alicia Searl
“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” - Psalm 26:2-3
I’m a big feeler. Just going to go ahead and lay that out there. As a child and going into my adolescent years, I oftentimes allowed strong feelings to rule over me. They basically dictated how I perceived a situation and how I responded. Due to some emotional breakdowns, I was made to believe that my feelings (or tapping into them) was a bad thing.
As I grew older and eventually became a Christ follower, I felt the need to stuff my feelings down, pacify them, or make excuses, especially if they came across as unnatural. Ultimately, I felt ashamed, and guilt crept in every time I “let my emotions go.”
Then I met my husband. He not only had a way of bringing a sense of calm to our relationship but insisted that he loved all of me, including my wide range of emotions. With him, I didn’t have to push my feeling aside and carry around guilt. In our twenty-year marriage, he has repeatedly extended grace and space in times I needed it most. He has never cast judgment and has helped me learn to embrace my big feelings. For that, I am ever so thankful.
Maybe you are a big feeler too? A sensitive soul? The one that loves fiercely but hurts deeply. Wearing your heart on your sleeve, always vulnerable, but expecting it in return. You’re seen as dependable, trustworthy, compassionate, and highly intuitive of others' needs. You’ll be the first to extend a hug, offer an invitation for coffee, and prove to be a good listener, especially when another needs a special dose of mercy.
However, when negative or strong emotions emerge, it can lead to a dismal place. Often feeling misunderstood causes a reaction done in haste or withdrawal from others. This is a lonely place to be and usually brings about many other emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or depression, all wrapped in guilt and shame. Big feelings carry a heavy weight and can be exhausting – emotionally, mentally, and physically.
David knew a little something about having big feelings. We see him cry out to the Lord repeatedly throughout Psalms. He was raw and intense with his emotions, handing them over to the Lord time and time again (Psalm 13, 61, 69, 77, 86, 119). David was not afraid of being in tune with his feelings nor vulnerable and sharing his heart with God.
We can take comfort when meeting David in the pages of Psalms, especially knowing that he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). We can also see that God also displays a wide range of emotions as well, including love, sorrow, joy, anger, among many other found throughout Scripture. While God’s multifaceted emotions are righteous and done so in His unfailing love, our emotions can tempt us and veer us off into sin. This is why David connected with God. As one with big feelings, we must do the same.
When feelings well up inside and cause inner turmoil, we can invite God into the creases of our hearts. By opening up and being vulnerable, we can seek discernment and wisdom on how to respond.
You created us as emotional beings, and there is a special role emotion plays in how we love and relate to You and others. Please help us remember that when our feelings get too much for us to understand and take hold, choking out any clarity. Grant us peace and reach out to us, offering Your love and guidance.
O God, You created us in Your image (Genesis 1:26) which includes our emotional makeup. We long to come to You with open and humble hearts seeking Your will and way when it comes to our emotions. Give us the strength and ability to manage our emotions in a healthy way and use them to show others (and ourselves) love, grace, and compassion. Provide us with Your wisdom and discernment on how to respond when our emotions try to get the best of us. And if it is Your will, please provide safe and trusted relationships that will bring us a sense of calm and help us grow emotionally.
Lord, we long to seek You in our darkest times and when our strong emotions emerge, but we may withdraw, even from You. Please forgive us when we fail and fall short in our vulnerability. When we want to cave into our big feelings and it leads way to a hasty response, or we get wrapped up in guilt or shame, we ask that You pull us in closely and help us “feel” the incredible love You have for us.
Lord, we rejoice in You and ask that You come in and examine our thoughts and hearts. Cleanse and purify us from within and help us see emotions as a beautiful gift that can be shared to show others Who You are!
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/AaronAmat
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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