It’s night time and for whatever reason you’re down. Or someone said or did something that hit a deep nerve. You’re hurt, angry, sad, embarrassed, you name it. If you’ve outwardly expressed these emotions, you’ve more than likely been told at least one time or another to “get out of your feelings”.
This past fall semester was emotionally the hardest semester I’d experienced in college since I arrived. It felt like I was in a constant state of being “in my feelings”. My grades were good, and on the outside I was looking good, feeling good, and making a lot of moves. (My “I’m fine” game was too strong y’all for real.) But inside, I was often feeling lonely and unhappy. Within a few short weeks my financial aid had a serious scare, and a lot of unexpected people were leaving my life for reasons I didn’t quite understand. Being hours away from my family and long-term friends, who were also dealing with their own problems, I felt like I had no one.
At least once a week after a long and draining day, I’d run to my remedy. No matter what time it was, I’d fill my bathtub with hot water and bubbles. I’d get my candles from my bathroom cabinet and my incense and my Bluetooth speaker. I’d shut the door behind me, turn off the lights and shut the world out. I was alone, but I felt comfortable in those moments. I could cry, I could write poetry, I could sing along to the songs I loved. For what felt like the first time, I felt safe within myself. I felt free to express my feelings and be me during my tub time. The deepest me. At night, in the dark, where no one could reach me.
A good deal of this time I also talked to God. I’d occasionally invite Him into my tub times as I was reading the Bible, or crying, or just needed someone to talk to. Not on that “Holy Father I approach your throne of grace in fervent…” type prayer, but just in genuine, open conversation with my Father. I began to verbalize the questions I’d had in my brain for so long but never gave voice to. I began to have the conversations with God that I probably should’ve had with a trusted friend or mentor or therapist. I let Him be there when I cried. I begged Him to love on me when I felt empty. I opened myself up completely to Him. And He began to talk back to me. I began to feel better going to bed. Not just tired out and feeling empty of the sadness I released, but I began to feel fuller of something. Something that was allowing me to sleep better. Something that stopped me from feeling the need to reach out so desperately for a man to fill my emptiness. Something that helped me push through every day even when I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it.
It’s easy to listen to R&B music when you’re down, but it’s only going to help you wallow (and queens don’t wallow). It’s easy to smoke your feelings, drink your feelings, eat your feelings, sex your feelings… But all those behaviors are doing is helping you momentarily replace your feelings with artificial happiness. We feel good in the moment when we do those things. But when the moment is gone, our problems and our feelings are still be there waiting to be dealt with. And depending on what you do under those influences you might inherit another problem or two on top of your initial issue.
Feelings are temporary. Typically you’re in your feelings at night, and you know in a few hours or the next morning you’ll be moving on to your next day’s agenda. So do something productive. Don’t make semi permanent choices in temporary feelings. If you’re stressing over the same thing for a long time with no let up, talk to someone you can trust about it. Don’t let it get you too down. And let God in. He can do more for you than you can do for yourself. Paul writes in Romans 8:18 that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us”. What you’re going through at this time is even worthy of being put beside the honor, the magnificence, the great beauty, that Christ will show you is inside of you.
And see the continuation of this post, check out ‘…The Feels’ Revisited!