If you are anything like me, you find it hard sometimes to connect with yourself when your emotions are all over the place. I find it extremely difficult to explain my feelings, especially the feelings that are of any form haha. There are things that need to be expressed that can only come from the seeking out of our emotions. I often find it hard to express them because I am worried about what the other person hearing them may feel after I have shared them. As a result, I often decide not to share them and go as far as not even thinking about them. I stop myself almost every time, and for what? At the thought that I am doing more good than harm if I keep them to myself.

Over the course of my life I have found that to be false. First and foremost, I am doing myself more harm than good by not sharing them. Feelings good and bad, they deserve to be shared and expressed. Secondly, I am not doing any good for the people I call friends and family by keeping my feelings to myself. In the moment it may sound like the best option but as I mentioned, it is ultimately not the better option. Some of the things I have learned from keeping my feelings and emotions to myself are as follows:

1. I let things fester

2. Things happen that I could prevent

3. I am overlooked

4. I hold people to expectations they are unaware of

5. I repress which leads to shutting down (even more)

6. Others don't know me fully

7. Others miss out on a different perspective

I have been blessed to find myself in a relationship with a very handsome man of God. In this relationship I am required to express my feelings and emotions that I am not overlooked, that I may help him know me (that is an ongoing thing), that he may know how I think and many other things. I have had many opportunities to express myself and share what has been on my heart and mind, yet failed to do so because how I have thought to be with my feelings (I should also note, I have struggled to believe my thoughts, feelings and emotions are worth voicing and hearing). As I have grown to trust him and to be with him, I have realized the importance, that much more, of sharing my feelings and emotions.

There are points of view that can never be seen if I keep my voice to myself. There are ways I think that he will never know if I keep my voice to myself, I want to offer some freedom to those of you who feel your voice is not worth hearing and using. We all have feelings and emotions, they need to be expressed and voiced. The question becomes when should I speak and when should I keep quiet. Here is what I feel is the right answer, share your feelings always, so long as you share them with love (feelings of anger and of hurt or pain can be expressed in a loving manner), keep quiet when there is no love in your heart and your feelings are motivated by the anger, hurt or pain you are feeling.

If we look in scripture we find Paul writing in Ephesians 4:15, that we are to speak truth in love. Your feelings and emotions are true, they are true to you, speak those truths to how you are feeling with love and they will be received a lot better than speaking from your hurt or pain.

If we continue to look in scripture we find Paul writing later in Ephesians 4 (4:29) telling us it is not good for us to speak to others out of our anger because it tears down more than it uplifts. Speaking from our anger can make it hard for people to truly see and understand what we are feeling, some would argue, anger is a secondary feelings/emotion. Taking time to think about what is causing us to feel as we do is very important. It helps us see what extra things were attached to the root of the emotion we have given a name to.

The Lord has given me many opportunities to share my feelings and emotions, in my relationship with my handsome boyfriend, and in the relationships I have with my friends. More presently, in my relationship I have had to share some hard feelings while also hearing him share hard feelings. In the moment it did not feel great but at the end of the day I am okay with knowing he spoke to me about his feelings with love and I took my time, and parsed out what I feeling, instead of speaking from the instant feeling, and made sure to communicate my feelings to him out of love. That is not easy but it was worth it.

After praying, lamenting and confessing, I asked the Lord what He is trying to show me in all of this. I feel these were His words, "Jas, I am trying to grow you in having and showing unconditional love." This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted Him to tell me that I wasn't supposed to be going through the current struggle I have been going through and that He would make it better. Instead I feel He essentially told me, "This is going to refine you, the heat from the fire is hot but have you been burned?" That is when I began to thank Him for what I am going through and decided I no longer wanted to feel the hurt or pain I was feeling but instead find joy in it all.

To you my friends, I offer that some sentiment. Share what you feel in a loving way and not out of anger and you will be free every time. Also, take a look at what you are currently going through that is really tugging at your feelings and emotions then examine yourself, are you in the fire and if so, have you been burned? If you are in the fire and without a burn mark, thank God and ask what He wants you to see. If you are in the fire and have a burn mark, seek God and ask if the fire was started by you or by Him. Whatever He answers, respond even to Him with love.

I will leave us with a prayer,

Father I thank you for Your love. I thank You for Your grace that You give freely. I pray that You would begin to let us see how Your son Jesus expressed His feelings while He was here on earth. Would we be open to sharing how we feel with love. Would those of us who feel we have no thoughts or feelings worth sharing know that You always
want to hear what we have to say. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that You care for us, would we learn, know and believe that to be true. I pray Your love would fill our heart when we are charged to share things that hurt us
with those who have hurt us. When we are angry and in pain, would we be filled with Your love before we speak?

I pray and ask all of these things, in Jesus' name,

                                                                                  Amen