Untangle Your Emotions

Untangle Your Emotions

Waterbrook/Multnomah recently published Jennifer Allen’s latest book.  Jennifer titled it Untangle Your Emotions: Naming What Your Feel and Knowing What to Do About It (2024).  Jennifer, the founder and visionary for IF:Gathering, earned her master’s degree in biblical studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.  First, the author underscores, you can’t beat back, ignore, or dismiss your feelings.  Because emotions seldom play rationally.  In addition, they show up in a blaze of glory, asking for something.  Yet, part of being human involves the temptation to solve problems.  Rather than sit with them.  Because feelings are meant to be felt.  They’re never meant to be fixed.  So, as you work to untangle your emotions, note that your feelings are trying to tell you something.  Not control you.

Most significantly, God designed us to feel.  Hence, emotions are a facet of being made in the image of God.  As a result, our emotions inform, alert, and connect us.  Yet, to avoid crumbling, we turn to what Jennifer calls the Three C’s: Control, Cope, Conceal.  However, these mechanisms only provide temporary relief.  In contrast, everything that God’s placed inside us serves to draw us near to Him.  To trust Him and feel safe enough with Him to wrestle it all out as we untangle our emotions.  Above all, God’s actually waiting for us to come to Him and fall apart.  Not for us to pull ourselves together.  Therefore, feel every feeling and take it to Scripture to chart a path out of your pain.  Once your brain and hear realize you’re not alone, you heart opens back up.

Thus, the first step of connection through feeling is to notice how you feel.  Start with two basic categories of feelings: Okay and Not Okay.  Slow down enough to listen to your heart.  Furthermore, your body constantly feeds you information about how it’s doing.  So, you must pay attention to learn.  Consequently, it’s essential to honestly name what you’re feeling to untangle your insides.  Also, develop flexibility in the face of an emotion as you specifically describe what’s going on.  Hence, Jennifer lists four parts of a simple approach to feeling a feeling: pause, give yourself permission to feel, look back, and persist with that feeling.  For God wants to replace your shame and exhaustion with His delight and strength.

In conclusion, Jennifer stresses, we move toward healing when we address the wounds of feeling unsafe, unloved, and unseen.  Feelings heal when we’re wrapped up by people we love in the midst of those feelings.  Faith grows because of your relationship with Jesus.  You can’t summon faith with sheer willpower.  Hence, the authority you possess over your emotions exists because of Christ Jesus.  That means your emotions have no authority over you.  Instead of trying to make sense of your emotions, bring them to Jesus.  As you untangle your emotions and make your way to emotional wellness, you gain an increased capacity to serve, give, and care.  Our faith in Jesus is big enough to hold hope in the midst of joy, sadness, anger, and fear.

About the author

Dave Henning

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