30 Things I’ve Learned About Emotions

Emotions. Sometimes they feel like a girl’s best friend, but often they feel like a girl’s worst enemy. Much as we might want to escape them at times, we can’t. So how are we to think about them, and what on earth are we to do with them?

Your emotions don’t have to control you.

I have much more to learn when it comes to these unruly feelings, but here are thirty things I do know about emotions (in no particular order):

30 Things I’ve Learned About Emotions

  1. Our emotions affect our health (Prov. 17:22).
  2. Surprisingly, letting others “in” when you’re feeling sad seems to forge friendships much faster than if you appear to have everything “together.”
  3. Let a few trusted friends know when you’re struggling. Ask for prayer. It will help!
  4. Your emotions don’t have to control you.
  5. Don’t make any big decisions when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. That’s the time to HALT. (I think I learned this acronym from you, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Thanks for that.)
  6. PMS is real, but it’s not an excuse to sin. Prepare for it by tracking your cycle so you know what to expect, and pray accordingly.
  7. Joy isn’t simply an emotion; it’s a fruit of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22).
  8. It’s a beautiful thing when a guy is willing to show emotion from time to time.
  9. God acknowledges that there are things that are truly frightening, and then He tells us not to fear them but to hope in Him (1 Peter 3:6).
  10. Tears are not a weakness.
  11. It is better to cry than to hold it all in.
  12. It’s okay to be angry . . . if you don’t sin (Eph. 4:26).
  13. That being said, anger is rarely righteous (James 1:20).
  14. Examine your emotions often. They’re excellent indicators of what you’re believing, which—if you’re like me—you’ll often need to repent of and replace with truth.
  15. Other times, ignore your emotions. Sometimes it’s best NOT to listen to them or give them even an inch.
  16. Just because you’re a “feeler” doesn’t mean you can’t also be a “thinker.” Don’t let people pigeon-hole you.
  17. There is only one reason we can “not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6).The answer lies in the verse just before this: “The Lord is near.” (Thanks for this insight, Paul David Tripp.)
  18. True joy is found in God’s presence (Ps. 16:11). Therefore, you can be happy anywhere, even in a nursing home! (I’ve never forgotten you telling me this at Applebee’s years ago, Maria Johnson.)
  19. There’s time to have fun, but it’s also important to be serious (1 Peter 5:8).
  20. Sadness won’t kill you. It is okay to feel sad this side of heaven. In fact, good can even come from it.
  21. Once you’ve suffered and been comforted, you’ll be better equipped to encourage others in similar situations (2 Cor. 1:3–5).
  22. Emotions change nearly as often as the nighttime sky; God’s truth never changes.
  23. Cutting or harming yourself in any way is not the answer to the inner pain you feel.
  24. Piano keys are a great, safe way to express your emotions. If you don’t play the piano, find another safe, healthy way to process your emotions.
  25. Know yourself well enough to know whether you need to be with people when you’re feeling emotional or whether time alone would help.
  26. Sugar only makes you feel more crazy.
  27. It’s wise to keep your mouth shut when you’re feeling especially emotional (Prov. 29:11).
  28. At the same time, if you’re struggling with your emotions, let those around you know that if they “see” anything on your face, it’s not them; you’re just having a rough day. (Thanks for this, Wes Ward.)
  29. Those who don’t feel deeply often wish they could. Don’t despise your emotions; God can use them for good.
  30. There is no Comforter like God (2 Cor. 1:3, John 14:16). Pour out your heart to Him.

Emotions change nearly as often as the nighttime sky; God’s truth never changes.

What else have you learned over the years about emotions? And what questions do you have about emotions?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • Laura Giersz

    Love this list: full of truth and insight … plan to share with my 10 year old daughter. Thank you!

  • Lily

    This list is splendid! The one that strikes me the most on this list is number 4 as I seem to have trouble controlling my emotions sometimes as well as whether or not to hold it all in. God is showing me one step at a time that though my emotions are very real, He can bring me a sense of quietness and serenity when I place my trust in Him rather than in my present circumstances (Isaiah 26:3).

  • Elisabeth

    Wow!!I needed this!!Thanks SOO MUCH 😀This Is Awesome😃

  • SharonAlfred

    God bless you, this was so timely and so right

  • Belle

    Looooooove this I so needed this this week day month lol !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Valerie Adjei – Brown

    You are vessel God is using to spread the truth. This was so timely! God bless you for the word!!

  • Gabrielle

    AMEN!! #25, 26, 27 – SO, SO VERY TRUE!!!

    When you’re emotional and hormonal it’s not best to talk with guy friends!! You know?

  • Kristy Parks

    I also agree that this could come at no better a time than now. I just started college, and I am already stressed out by the work load. I just felt so alone for a time because I don’t have a roommate. I eventually opened up and talked with some of the girls near me. I felt so much better afterwards.

  • Jeannie

    Sugar AND caffeine makes pms worse.
    Deepest, most emotional thoughts,
    I have found–are best taken to the Lord
    in prayer, and/or immersing myself in the
    Word—especially the Psalms and Proverbs.
    And people…I share first with my husband and
    then, sometimes, with one of three close friends.

    Super helpful books-Taming Tension by P. Keller,
    In Pursuit of Peace by J. Meyer, Let Not Your Heart
    Be Troubled by M.Lloyd Jones,.

  • Neeka Johnson

    I’m still confused with #4… Everyone says that and I pray about it but it seems to still take control of me.

  • Jordan

    Thank you for this! I feel spoken to. Needed it, will hopefully read it often!

  • Jordan

    I am conflicted though because we are supposed to keep our mouth shut when we are emotional but shouldn’t we also be able to vent to people and let it all out?

    • phendricks

      Dear Jordan,

      Sorry I’m just now responding!

      I’m curious, can you think of any verses in the Bible that tell us we should be able to vent to people and let it all out?

      Here’s a verse that comes to my mind right away:

      A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back (Prov. 29:11).

      Thanks for letting me encourage you to dig into God’s Word,

      paula

  • Dana Joy

    I really like this and would definitely be interested in more articles about emotions and depression as well because it so often just gets pushed to the side in the Christian community.

  • Ronnie

    http://youtu.be/FkUg_RCohpc

    Here’s a sermon my pastor did on depression. It’s either this video or the one before.

  • Lela Cherry

    I can’t always trust my emotions. ..they could be based on false perceptions.
    Thanks for a great post with truth! ♡

  • Lela Cherry

    When I’m emotional about MY hurts, my pity party, or even victories, I’m more likely to say and do things I later regret. My emotions are better used when I mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice!♡

  • Hannah

    What I have learnt over the past year is God can, and so wants to heal that inner pain (number 23). God can handle you emotions, He sees you pain and struggles He KNOWS you inside and out. But He is not going to force Himself into your life, He is patient and waiting for you to let Him in on the pain to tell Him everything that hurts and even the things that don’t hurt no more and are just numb. Let God into your pain and He heals 🙂 There is HOPE

  • Elizabeth Williams

    This is a great list! I love #24!

    • Sarah @ Revive Our Hearts

      Your love of #24 makes me smile! Yes, isn’t it SO true! 🙂 So glad you like the list!

      • Elizabeth Williams

        I’m a pianist, so absolutely!

  • Olivia Chambers

    I love this. 🙂

  • Kate

    I’ve seen Inside Out. I liked it, it was funny, but I noticed the maim character, Riley, didn’t have all emotions like confusion or jealousy, not that she should feel jealous, but yea that’s just something I noticed

  • Becky Masson

    I can attest to #29, having been like that once myself. I thank God that He healed me and returned me to humanity.

  • Tiana

    #24 is so true! I have a piano and when I’m feeling sad or angry I often go to my room and put my headphones on and start playing. It’s a good way to calm yourself down.

  • Crochettabby

    Thank you so much for this! I was struggle with my emotions so much yesterday. It was to the point that I just didn’t want to do anything anymore other than just flop over on my bed. I felt so counter-productive because of my emotional state.

  • Oluwaseun

    Awww girlie this is so very sweet!!! It touched me because I am an emotional person❤️🤗 thank for speaking such sweet truth into my life and at the perfect time! Thank you for telling me that it is a strength when used in the right way ! Thank you so much also thank you for number 16 because I am a feeler 😂! Awww but thank you so much this is very sweet ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Rachelle Martin

    Thank you for this list of wise words <3

  • Rachel

    Wow, this was great! All of these are things I’ve heard at one time or another, but today especially needed to review. This summer, I’ve been praying about this one certain guy. We’re thinking about maybe starting to date, but for the first time, I’m letting God control my emotions. I’ve given them over to Him. Like, i told God, “If you want me to like ______, then let me feel like that. But if not, then please don’t.” And it’s super cool, because I know God is working in me.
    Also, your comment about sadness (#20) really helped, because just a couple days ago, I sat on my bedroom floor sobbing, because I missed someone SO MUCH!
    And #21 too…I was actually talking about this with a Christian coworker recently. I was explaining that even though it hurt to go through some really hard things a year and a half ago, I can tell hurting people now, “I understand,” because I actually DO. I wish I hadn’t gone through what I did, but I can help others now, so that’s a good thing. 🙂

    • Hannah grace

      same on #20

  • Hannah grace

    great post very timely and encouraging!