Straight from a Feeling Heart
By Lisa Elliott
I always enjoy any time I get to spend with my daughter and her family, especially given the miles between us that don’t allow for it to happen as often as I’d like. Inevitably during my stay, the Lord gifts me with moments to treasure for years to come. My most recent visit was no exception; other than the exception of being in quarantine for two weeks due to Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, I almost missed the treasured moment when it came.
One day, in our pent-up quarantine state, we decided some fresh air would do us all some good. What started out as a fun event became a huge emotional meltdown that left us all in a puddle of frustration—particularly between my grandson and me. Boots weren’t fitting right, mittens couldn’t be found, and thermal wear was producing unwarranted sweat. You know how it goes. Recognizing that we all needed space and time to calm down, I quietly removed myself from the hub of excitement and went to my room—giving myself a time-out. After a while I heard a soft knock at my door before my grandson, Seth timidly entered the room. Head hung he apologized for speaking to me the way he’d spoken. Then he enveloped me in one of his unforgettable, heart-absorbing hugs. Just to make sure we were back on track, I suggested we take a walk—just the two of us. Or at least I thought it was just the two of us. We’d barely started out when I sensed the Lord keeping step with us.
“Lisa, Seth apologized to you. Don’t you think you owe him an apology, too?” I knew immediately that’s what I needed to do. But how do you do that with a five-year-old? “Simply and honestly,” came the Lord’s unprompted response.
So, in humble obedience, putting myself into a childlike frame of mind I said, “Seth, thank you for apologizing to me earlier. But I think Nana needs to apologize, too. I’m sorry for frustrating you. Will you forgive me?” He nodded his little head without hesitation. With the air cleared between us, the Lord gave me an idea for a new game called, “What are you feeling?”
As we walked along hand-in-hand I asked, “What makes you feel sad?” He told me that what had happened earlier between us made him sad. Then he immediately asked me the same question back. I shared that the situation made me sad too. Furthermore, it made me sad to think that I made him sad. Then I asked him, “What makes you feel frustrated?” He told me it frustrated him when he tries to say something but nobody understands him. Then again, turned to me and asked for my answer. I told him, “Same.” We went on like this in back and forth manner for the next half-an-hour or more asking each other what made us scared, worried, angry, etc. sharing our feelings honestly with one another.
“What makes you happy?” was our final question. When it was my turn I told him, “It makes me happy when we can go for walks like this together.” I thanked him for being such a great walking partner. And told him it made me happy that we could be friends. Then, with the most childlike faith expression on his face and with genuine sincerity he said, “Nana, you’re my best friend.” His words melted my heart, not to mention the snow beneath our feet.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all recognizing feelings we don’t quite know what to do with in these Covid-days. Emotions are running rampant. Frustrations are high. Anger is simmering. Grief is amplified. Sadness is everywhere. And we don’t always have words to express those feelings. None of us have ever been this way before. So, I have an idea. Let’s play a game called, “What are you feeling?”
What makes you sad? What makes you frustrated or angry or anxious? What makes you happy? More importantly, what are you doing with your feelings? You see, it’s not wrong to feel what we’re feeling. But we need to handle our feelings with care and find a healthy outlet for them. Here are a few suggestions:
- Give yourself permission to feel your feelings. If you don’t, they get pent up inside you and end up causing inner turmoil or relational conflict.
- Seek out a healthy outlet for your feelings. Write them out, walk them out, or talk them out with someone who’s safe.
- Read the Psalms. If you need some good examples of real, raw emotion, the Psalms are where I suggest you turn. They often help us put feelings into words that we have difficulty expressing on our own.
- Find someone who loves you to walk alongside you to help you express your feelings—maybe even a child!
- Express your feelings and pent up emotions to the One who created them. Thankfully, He allows us to feel them. Go for a walk with Him today. Let Him take your hand. Then be honest with Him about your feelings. He understands.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org