Sunday, November 5, 2017

Let's Talk About Emotional Health * A Little Series

I recently shared a late afternoon messy meltdown with you, how I held my speechless husband hostage with my torrent of ranting and raving, a long litany of deep disappointments loudly acknowledged and proclaimed with no holds barred.

{And for those of you who were left wondering ... no, it had nothing to do with our marriage!}

In the process, I demonstrated exactly what can easily happen when our emotions build up over time, swirl around unexamined and untended deep inside, and end up spewing out all over whoever might be around at any given moment.

You can read that unfortunate out-of-control saga right here just in case you missed it.

{ sigh }

Thank God for forgiveness.




Now, let's move ahead with that promised little series on emotional health.  I thought I'd come up with an easy-to-follow handy dandy plan, but honestly I have no idea where we're going with this.

That's right.  No 1-2-3's, no A-B-C's.

The ball's in your court, my friends.  

I'm going out on a limb and am choosing to write this series based on your responses to the posts.

We're going to forge ahead, inviting the Holy Spirit to take the lead on this for He specializes in guiding us into all truth {John 16:13}, even as He whispers, 'this is the way, walk ye in it' {Isaiah 30:21}.

Let's see what He is going to teach us together as we dialogue back and forth about emotional health, an essential aspect of who He's shaped us to be.




Meanwhile ...

Let's stop believing that emotions are a big bad word or an unpardonable sin.

Let's not ignore their reality or pretend that they don't exist.

Let's put an end to being afraid or shamed or daunted by their power.

Let's not keep shoving one after the other some place way down deep until they rise up unbidden and threaten to swallow us whole with out-of-control outbursts, terrifying anxiety, the heavy blanket of depression, or a wide range of life-altering addictive behaviors.

Let's not let our emotions call the shots, damage our relationships, or destroy our testimonies.




Instead ...

Let's pay attention as soon as our emotions come to call, and claim the time to look at these messengers that whisper the truth about what we're feeling.  And then choose right then and there to understand what the churning's all about.

Let's learn to make pro-active choices to thoughtfully respond in ways that tap into God's awesome power, show respect to others, and give grace and peace to ourselves.

Let's ask God to somehow redeem our emotions.

Let's stop saying, 'I'm angry.'  Because you are not your anger.

Instead let's give ourselves full permission to calmly say, 'Right now I feel ...' whatever the emotion is.

For we are not defined by our hurt, frustration, fear, sadness, disappointment, or whatever we happen to be feeling at that moment.

We are defined by our Savior.




Let's talk emotions -  where you're at, what you're struggling with, how you've been convicted, and what God has taught you along the way.   

You'll give hope to someone who'll read your words.  Your willingness to be transparent lets another reader breathe a huge sigh of relief, even as they whisper, 'oh, you, too?'

Email readers, go right here to jump into the discussion.

If you're not comfortable leaving a comment, please email me at lindastoll@juno.com and I'll add your thoughts into the online conversation, just using your first initial to protect your privacy.

Please share this series with your social media tribe!  I'm guessing you've got a few people around you who're feeling rather emotionally spent right about now.


you won't miss a single word

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sharing emotional health with

61 comments:

  1. As a parent, these are great points to impart to my children. Too often I have a tendency to paint emotions as "bad" instead of helping my children to learn how to handle them in a healthy way... this post made me think! - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Hey Gingi!

      I love that we can take what we're learning and live it out in front of the kiddos in our lives. I wish I had known all this back in the day.

      I think I would have been a better mama, for sure ...

      Blessings to you as your raise your sweet littles.

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  2. Whenever I think of the desperations in the human heart that occurr at any and all sundry times of our lives, I am reminded of King David who suffered greatly at the hands of his enemies and felt great anxiety and fears even in the midst of great courage and boldness. I find that reading the Psalms where David's spills out his concerns to the Lord and then turns his attention to praise as he realizes that his only hope is in the Lord. David doesn't bury his emotions but he takes them to the Lord and then in turn the Lord is able to help him to look beyond his fears and to HIM as his only help and source of strength. If we can channel our emotions in the same way that King David did, how much better off we would be I think. I pray the Lord blesses this series you are doing!

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    1. Marilyn, yes. I love the Psalms. I've found myself there so often. David was a man before his time, being able {usually, not always!} to identify his emotions, his situations, his passions, his sins.

      That God already knows all our stuff frees us to come to Him with complete honesty and abandon. He's waiting for us to turn to Him so that He can pour out His healing grace in our lives.

      Amen.

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  3. I am glad you were able to walk through your emotions.. never bottle it up buh learn yo speak and thrash it out that instant there's an issue it helps alot.
    It looks good on you and the fitting seems right... i will check them out.

    Glowyshoes's blog

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    1. Well, Glowy, it's good to have you here! I love how you put it, that ability to 'walk through' our emotions. Not deny them or wish they weren't there.

      But walk straight on through to responding in a way that's healthy and Christ-honoring.

      It looks good on all of us, doesn't it ...

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  4. God created us with emotions - anger, fear, hate, love, patience, courage etc ... etc ... The alternative would have been to create a race of robots all pre-programmed to do His will. But then ... where's the love in that?

    In His love for us, He created us with the freedom to choose how we live and to control our emotions. What a responsibility for us.

    God bless.

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    1. The Bible speaks often of God's anger against injustice and sin and evil. Sadly, most of our anger isn't at all righteous like His.

      It's usually self-focused and self-sabotaging, isn't it.

      We wanted freedom and yes, He's given that liberty to us. What we do with it is up to us.

      I hope this series will help us live out our emotions in a way that's sane and wise and Christ-honoring.

      Thanks for jumping in to the conversation, Victor. Bless you.

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  5. I love Marilyn's comment about the Psalms and how David was able to express his emotions to God. It is so important. As a child I learned to hide my emotions and that they didn't matter, but it was through journaling and praying that I gradually got better at acknowledging them and dealing with them, and eventually being able to talk about them with others. It still doesn't exactly come naturally- I sometimes have to stop and think to be able to name the emotion- but I am more intentional about trying to do that. I liked your point about saying "I feel angry" rather than "I am angry"- I hadn't really thought about that distinction.

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    1. Lesley, you've hit on an important point. Most of us have learned how to do emotions as children ... either in healthy ways or not. As we look back and see what was wise teaching and modeling and what wasn't, we're able to choose anew how to live out our feelings instead of bottling them up inside where they end up exploding sooner or later.

      I love the wholeness God has brought into your life. And yes, yes, stopping and naming the emotion as soon as it hits us ... I've found that to be incredibly helpful in my own life.

      Naming it, owning it, and choosing what to do with it. Now THAT'S wisdom.

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story here, friend.

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  6. I am becoming passionate about emotional health! I think we talked about the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Our small group is studying it now but I found it a few years ago and I believe I was looking for that book for 20 years! It's been so important for my own spiritual growth.

    Although I didn't comment on your page, I can TOTALLY RELATE to your overflowing words and emotions (and your gentle husband's comfort -- I experience the same). It's that overflowing, hot emotion that drove me to counseling in the first place...where did all that anger come from? My counselor gently led me through all of that.

    I continue to learn what to do with emotions, how to deal with them in a healthy fashion. Thank the Lord there are more resources today than decades ago, like Leslie Vernick (excellent stuff, right?) and Kim Fredrickson (Give Yourself a Break).

    I look forward to reading any and all of what you write about this topic!

    Thanks, Linda...for your honesty and vulnerability -- it's blessing me a lot.

    {via email}

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    1. Good point ... maybe we do become more passionate about emotional health as well as our spiritual health as we get older! I love that book, too, and will be including it in a resources post at the end of the series.

      It was a game changer for me.

      Thanks for the shout out for counseling, too, friend! Obviously, I couldn't agree with you more. I've lost count of how many angry women I've had the honor of working with.

      There is healing by the strength of Jesus.

      Thanks for all your support. Love that you've taken the time to write!

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  7. This will be a fantastic series, Linda! I'm excited to read what you will share. Dealing with emotions can be a difficult journey, but such an important one.

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    1. Thanks for cheering me on, friend. For some reason, this series was hard to jump into.

      I'm guessing that the enemy doesn't want us freed.

      He knows the power of Christ living in us ...

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  8. Always a joy to jump in here and see what you're writing about. You never disappoint. Thankful for the wisdom of your words.

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    1. Hey, welcome back, Alecia! Hope all is well in your world ...

      ;-}

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  9. Interesting coincidence, as over the weekend I was devastated by a chance to see myself 'as others saw me'...that although I'm far past the ability to hold down any job, I deserve to be abandoned to my fate, be it homelessness or death.

    I may have done my best, but 'my best' doesn't fit in with the rest of the world...this from a source I did and do respect and was completely unexpected. Too many dogs, too much PTSD, too sick to really be worthwhile.

    I can take a lot, and have taken a lot, but there's a limit. You can reach a point where you are not the same person; you can reach a point where you can't recover, not with the best will and strongest faith in the world.

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    1. I call guys like that, 'Job's comforters,' named after the companions that rallied 'round Job when his world caved in. These are people you wish far from you, that offer not a listening ear or kind consolation, but words that do nothing but tear down.

      Instead, please consider the impact you're having on untold readers and fans, those that follow you, learn from your journey, cheer you on, and wish you well.

      That's my prayer for you today, Andrew.

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  10. Hi Linda! I've been starting to do the Examen of St. Ignatius, and he definitely wants attention given to emotions. They point to our problem places, and those are the growth potential places. When I review the day, I usually think about the events, but he asks to review the feelings that came from the events. A small change, but it makes all the difference in learning new ways to live health-fully.
    Blessings!
    Ceil

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    1. I'm so with you, Ceil. Those daily, weekly, monthly examens let us keep clean slates with God, help us look deep in our souls, deal with anything disturbing that we find there, and rejoice in all the goodness God has brought into our lives.

      Some people get a bit freaked out when asked to review their feelings, for they realize that they don't even know what they are, and are afraid of what they'll find if they go there.

      But the Holy Spirit is faithful and kind and very much present in those scary places. His desire is to bring healing and wholeness and joy. And when we follow His lead, that's what we find.

      I'm so grateful you've added this to the conversation today, my friend. I wish I could do one of those silent retreats with you.

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  11. Emotions, other than laughter and anger, weren't expressed much in my childhood home. Once again, I've learned so much through personal reading and from our particular ministry. As others have mentioned the Psalms, I've found a comforting connection to David's sanguine/melancholy personality. I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads too, Linda. I know you'll guide us well.

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    1. Amen, Debby. There's nothing like working with the broken, the wounded, the victorious to help us tap into the depth of our own hunkered down emotions, and also to be able to celebrate God's powerful redemption and healing touch.

      My years leading Celebrate Recovery opened me up to the healthiest community I've ever been a part of. No masks, no petty and small stuff, only raw, real, vibrant, and exuberant. I miss them so ...

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  12. Hi Linda!
    You're saying it all exactly as we need to hear and remember. I think (know) it seems especially easy for believers to start setting aside what appear to be negative emotions as something akin to sin. You're right. It only gets us into trouble...not only emotionally and cognitively, but also spiritually because these things shoved into the basement can become resentment and bitterness. Our emotions don't knock God off His throne!

    Love and hugs!
    Pam

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    1. Yes, I've had people tell me that they believe emotions are sinful. The enemy knows how to drag us down into the pit of hopelessness and despair, doesn't he.

      A bitter root yields bitter fruit. Unacknowledged, untended emotions end up with some kind of weird subterranean hold that latches onto the essence of who we are.

      Praise God He is on the throne, His plans for us are not thwarted by our feelings or our challenges in walking through them.

      It's for freedom we've been set free, yes?!

      ;-}

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  13. Oh goodness, how timely this is, Linda. Rejection reared its head just last week and into the weekend. It's a battle I've waged for years, but until the Holy Spirit identified it a few years ago, I had zero clue rejection proved an issue in my life. It used to drive me all over the place. Now, it attempts to take keys and sometimes we tussle outside the driver's door a bit, but it ain't driving me nowhere. :-) I'm so thankful for the truth offered from the Holy Spirit. I'm still working my way through things a bit, that much seems evident, but I'm miles from where I was just a handful of years ago.

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    1. Oh, I'm so sorry, Kristi. Any of us who've been there know the bruising of the soul that results.

      After reading about your loss and abandonment, I began thinking of how Jesus was despised and rejected {Isaiah 53:3} ... even by those closest to Him right when He needed them most at the crucifixion.

      All that to say, He gets it. He fully understands where you are, friend. I'm praying for you even as I type ...

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  14. I don't know that I have any questions, but I look forward to reading your answers. :-) They will probably answer questions I didn't know I had. Those times when emotions run high, I've learned to examine them to see if I can figure out what the root problem is that triggered them, "take captive" my thoughts and try to counteract them with truth, and sometimes go on and ignore them and wait for them to catch up. By ignore, I don't mean stuff them or fail to acknowledge them, but I have realized that, after doing all the other things, sometimes the feelings still linger and I can't turn them off like a light switch, but they'll fade out eventually. An example: recently I had a morning when a number of little things went wrong and added up to my being particularly irritable. On top of that, my husband had to go out of town, leaving me with the care of his mom. I get into periods of frustration over his mom's situation and wonder why God leaves her here, why He doesn't release her from this contracted and uncooperative body and dimmed mind. I go back to the truth I know - I don't know why He leaves her here, but I know He has a purpose, and one purpose is to show me my selfishness and to teach me to serve others. But I still get frustrated and have to go back over that all again. So that morning everything just piled up, and I was near tears with frustration all morning. I couldn't do anything about any of it except commit it all to the Lord, and went on with my errands, and eventually everything was back on an even keel.

    But that doesn't mean I have everything all together. Like I said, these emotions do keep coming up, and that frustrates me. It seems like once I work through them, they would STAY worked through! :-) But I guess that's part of our humanity and sinful nature.

    I like the distinction you made between "I am..." and "I feel.." Something that I also tell myself often is "Don't feed the flame" - I have a tendency to keep going over and over whatever has me stirred up, especially if I feel wronged.

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    1. 'Don't feed the flame.' Oh yes, that's a good one, Barbara. I'm so prone to go in that direction. It's so much easier to keep the wrong front and center than to release all the angst, to put the situation in its proper perspective, to forgive, to move ahead.

      And you're right, feelings of hurt or disappointment or rejection or whatever do linger on, even when we've forgiven or moved ahead ourselves. It's a tender spot, sore to the touch.

      Thanks for being so vulnerable around here. It's readers like you that make me love blogging like crazy!

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  15. With Barbara, I love how you differentiated between "I am" and "I feel." So crucial when we are attempting to recognize our emotions, process them and deal with them. No, our emotions certainly don't define us - our loving God does.
    Linda, this looks like a marvelous series you've started. This week, I'm on vacation without a computer, so if I don't chime in this week, you'll know why.
    Blessings to you!

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    1. For sure, we are not defined by all our stuff, we are defined by all who God says we are in His Word.

      Our emotions are so random and fleeting, but our Savior stands solid, strong, and unshakeable. That's who I want to lean in to!

      Enjoy your vacation ... we'll be here when you return!

      ;-}

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  16. This will be a good, much needed series. Being an emotional person, everything was always super high or super low - until I learned that in my life it all had to do with control. Wanting to be the one to control what was happening in my life and everyone elses! Wanting to know the answers to life's issues and why things were happening, in my timing, not God's. I used to equate how I felt with where my faith was. I finally realized that faith and feelings are totally different. I might doubt, question, despair, but that doesn't make my faith in God any less real. Those are the times when He becomes more real to me and I just have to turn those situations over to Him to be in control of - but it isn't easy!

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    1. Yeah, for all us control freaks, your words resonate, Marilyn. We seem to lean into that mode thinking that if we can control every thing and every body that it will keep us from experiencing pain yet one more time.

      But it doesn't work that way and leaves us frazzled, exhausted, and obnoxious to be around. Those closest to us feel disrespected, like they're never enough ... and everyone loses.

      These are hard lessons for us to learn, but the more we find God to be faithful and ever present, the better likelihood we can give Him the reins in every area.

      I'm glad you're here. Always.

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  17. What a powerful distinction: "I am angry." vs "Right now I feel angry." This is so good, Linda. I'm looking forward to your series.

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    1. Subtle distinctions can make a world of difference, can't they ...

      ;-}

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  18. My emotional safe guard is a wise and trusted friend to talk things over with. When we begin to roll thing around in our head without airing them, they become distorted and we are more likely to believe a distortion or outright lie. When I verbalize what I am feeling to a trusted friend, the truth is often reflected back to me by their expressions and comments. Emotional health is as important as physical and spiritual. It takes the entire ball of wax to make us who we are.

    Great Subject, My Friend!
    Blessings!

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    1. Oh how blessed you are, Lulu! Instead of throngs of companions, we all need a kindred spirit or two who knows all about us ... and loves us anyway. Even when truth needs to be spoken.

      Iron sharpening iron. Yep, that's what we're yearning for. And when we find it, we know we've hit gold!

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  19. Linda, I love the "go-with-the-flow" approach you're taking to this series and can't wait to see where the Spirit leads!

    The thing that comes to mind as I read your words was how helpful it was for me to realize (finally) that the way I often felt during certain tumultuous years was not because I was a bad Christian who was unable to "take every thought captive" but was, instead, directly tied to crazy hormones and even medications I was taking to help with those hormones. Understanding that there might be a biological or chemical cause wasn't an excuse to act badly (though I sometimes did), but it did help me deal with things a little better.

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    1. Oh, amen, Lois!! I want everyone to read your words, to understand that many of our emotional health issues have strong physical components to them that are medical issues that must be diagnosed and treated.

      And yes, while they might have spiritual ramifications, they can not be prayed away nor does having someone lob Scripture verses at us help one bit.

      This is a subject I am passionate about ... having been there in my own peri-menopausal years and now with clients that I see.

      Sadly, Christian women are harsh on themselves in this area, rather than giving themselves grace ... and finding a good doctor to treat their symptoms.

      Bless you, girl, for putting this topic on the table.

      Amen.

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  20. I loved reading this post and the comments, Linda. I'm looking forward to more about this topic. May God give you wisdom! It's a difficult subject. Thank you for doing this. I love your advice in saying "I feel..." instead of "I am..." I have a hard time with feeling angry. My counselor once told me that instead of feeling anger towards the injustice of abuse, I take it out on myself. It's better than it used to be, but... I have also learned to not only allow myself to feel sadness, but to allow it in others. I can't always "fix" things. I love this powerful truth - "We are defined by our Savior." Amen! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. You're in good company, sweet lady ... so many women who love the Lord deal with anger and all the emotions that kick it off. Your counselor was spot on in encouraging you to aim your anger at the injustice, the sin, the ungodliness of abuse.

      God often revealed His wrath against sin in all its forms. We should allow ourselves the strength to call abuse what it is. Abuse ... and not to take the blame or shame when it has been inflicted on us.

      Good for you for allowing yourself those times of sadness ... and being strong enough to allow others to feel the same. It's all too easy to want to swoop in and fix everyone around us ... especially if we've gone through the pain that they are currently struggling with.

      Thank you for expanding our conversation today. You continue to show yourself brave and courageous, friend ...

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  21. wow look at all these comments. I would say you hit a nerve. I love this post. "Let's not let our emotions call the shots, damage our relationships, or destroy our testimonies." stirred me the most. I think I am slowly learning to know some of my feelings are part of me, may be part protecting my ego, arise from long ago hurts that are part of my story - BUT they are not in the driver seat and not the one and only way to go. like you said they don't call the shots. great. Thanks

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    1. Jean, I love the way you put this -->'some of my feelings are part of me, may be part protecting my ego, arise from long ago hurts that are part of my story - BUT they are not in the driver seat.'

      You sound wise and healthy. How good to understand what's going on inside but choose not to let feelings control our lives and direct our path forward.

      Superb!

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  22. Great series idea, Linda. I would say for me right now, working through unforgiveness and looking at the hidden toll grudges take on my emotional health. Blessings to you!

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    1. Oh Sarah, unforgiveness is a huge issue for so many of us and the toll it takes on our bodies, minds and souls can be immense. I hope you'll find something in this series that will help you take a few steps ahead toward release and freedom.

      Bless you, girl, for your honesty here today.

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  23. Linda,
    First of all, don't feel bad. I've had many a midlife temper-tantrum and they aren't pretty. It's usually when stress, lack of sleep, and circumstances come to a volcanic head. Thankful for my husband's forgiveness. To answer your query: I am a very emotional person, so for me the challenge has been to not be guided or driven by my emotions. Emotions and feelings lie. The enemy is great at twisting them to our demise. For me being in the Truth and holding my feelings and emotions up against the Truth and if they don't match up...then I need to try to throw out the false feelings. God, however, did give us emotions for a reason, so I don't believe that being stoic and never showing our emotions is what God intended. Look at Jesus...at the tomb of Lazarus, He wept. Emotions can be cathartic, but we want to be driven by God and not by our emotions. That, at least, is what this emotional girl has been learning. And yes, I have been known to tear up at Hallmark commercials lol.
    Blessings friend,
    Bev xx

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    1. 'The enemy is great at twisting them to our demise.'

      Amen, Bev. Amen. The most powerful weapon we have is the Word of God, using His wisdom as our guideline and measuring stick.

      Our emotions may inform us, but His Word is truth. And that's where we stand.

      Thanks for putting Him front and center in this dialogue. Without His grace and strength we'd be forever in the mire and the muck ...

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  24. Overwhelmed is how I feel. There is a lot going on in my life as well as in the world. It is enough to make me want to curl up with a book and not deal with any of it sometimes.

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    1. I hear you, Sarah.

      And the holidays only make it worse, don't they. What a cryin' shame.

      I encourage you to figure out what's essential for you and your family right about now and then say 'no thanks' to the rest.

      http://www.lindastoll.net/2016/11/1-essential-question-to-ask-yourself.html

      Maybe this will help?

      Praying even as I type away ...

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  25. I love this post, Linda, for a variety of reasons. And one thought in particular is your admonition to say "I am feeling angry" instead of "I am angry." I need to do more of this and the message it sends to me and those I'm interacting with will be so much better and healthier. Great thoughts, my friend!

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    1. Yeah, it DOES send a message, doesn't it! Maybe more to ourselves than others and it may be subtle, but I think it can help us turn a healthy corner.

      We are not our emotions. It's for freedom Christ's set us free!

      I'm glad you're here.

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  26. My friend just texted and answer to my post and said "you need to be kinder and gentler on yourself and stop beating yourself up" which brought me back to your blog post. I'm thinking I know what I need to pay more attention to now. And thank goodness for great lifelong friends who tell it like it is!!!

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    1. Hi Valerie! Yes and amen to those lifelong friends who've got our number, who speak truth laden with grace, who give us a kick in the pants when we've gone a bit off kilter.

      They're rare, aren't they ... and worth their weight in gold!

      ;-}

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  27. Lots to think about. I realized while reading this blog, I have never had the “luxury” of a good, rantful tirade. Do not have anyone who can handle it. So frustration builds up as I overthink and muse on the details that frustrate. My life has been framed by unresolved conflict so I guess I default to inner conflict which goes into problems unresolved.

    Right now I can get myself into a frenzy of thinking while I try to figure out why I have been accused of offending another. Those offended never get specific so I am left with my own assumptions ... thus great frustration. Is frustration an emotion?

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    1. Well, it's been quite a while since you and I shared a good, 'rantful' tirade, my friend! Few people know me as well as you, yet you've always been safe and kind and terribly wise.

      I miss you.

      * sigh *

      And as far as that one who says you've offended her but refuses to tell you why? Chances are it's more about her than you. As Tim always used to say, 'consider the source.'

      'Nuff said.

      And yes, frustration is what I call a primary emotion. We'll be talking about it in the next post.

      {I think!}

      ;-}

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  28. This is going to be a wonderful series. I am someone who tends to keep the deepest parts of me just that - deep and hidden. I am learning to be more vulnerable and to open up. For so many years I needed to be "strong" or at least I thought I did. There is so much I can say about all of this but your series comes at the perfect time for me.

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    1. I'm glad that this series is meeting you right at the perfect time, Mary. Interesting about thinking we need to be strong ... and then wondering later if that really was the case.

      Would love to hear your wisdom on that ...

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  29. Wow, Linda, it looks like you've struck on a sticking point in the human experience (no surprise there!). I hadn't really thought, before, about how saying, "I'm angry...." can be a way we define ourselves. Adding that one word, "I FEEL angry . . . " I'm thinking on this. And, I am definitely looking forward to this series!

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    1. I'm glad you're here, Jeanne. Would love to hear your take on how this whole subject impacts teenagers, who certainly are bombarded with all kinds of social media that is altering who they are, wrecking havoc with their emotions, and leaving their parents feeling increasingly powerless and scared.

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    2. I don't know how most parents are walking out the teen years with their kids. We are trying to help our boys understand that they are not defined by what their "friends" say to or about them. But, that's a tough concept to grasp in a season of life where friends mean almost everything.

      But, we also try to encourage the boys to feel and talk about what they're feeling. Sometimes, it gets ugly, but there's something that happens when we take the time to listen without commenting. To let our boys say the ugly things in their minds and hearts, to say the things that are hard for us as parents to hear, and not respond. At least not right away. There seems to be something about being heard that helps them feel safe in sharing their emotions. And then, when the tirade simmers down, we have the opportunity to talk about things, to address emotions and thoughts, and to shine the light of truth on their thoughts. Not sure if this makes sense or not. ;)

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  30. Nothing defines us best than the love of God. Our identity is with Him. Thank you for this beautiful sharing!

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    1. Ah, yes. We are safe and whole in His gracious care, aren't we ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda