Listen to this devotional
What is a DIY Study?
DIY studies are interactive Bible studies designed to help you build an engaging relationship with God. These studies will teach you to use various tools like podcasts and videos to engage with the Bible in a way that best fits your learning style. These studies were originally created for teens, but can be helpful for anyone. Click here for a printable version of this study.
This study is meant to help us know how to work through our emotions when we are overwhelmed or confused.
Sometimes we can get stuck in our feelings, and it can feel impossible to understand and move past them. But God can help us work through them and move forward.
Listen to the song “Not Today” by Alessia Cara. Pay attention to the lyrics and think about how you relate to them.
Someday I won’t be afraid of my head
Someday I will not be chained to my bed
Someday I’ll forget the day he left
But surely not today
One day I won’t need a PhD
To sit me down and tell me what it all means
Maybe one day it’ll be a breeze, ah
But surely not today, but surely not today
Think About It
- In “Not Today,” Alessia Cara expresses her struggle to understand and work through overwhelming and negative emotions. She sees that someday she will be able to understand and handle what she feels, but she doesn’t feel capable of that today.
- How have you felt this? How have you felt overwhelmed or hopeless when it comes to working through your emotions?
- God can help us understand what we feel. He doesn’t want to force us to be happy when we don’t feel it, but wants to help us work through what we do feel so that we can become truly happy. But first, we have to let him help us figure out what we are going through and feeling now.
I cry out to God for help. I cry out to you, God; listen to me!  My Lord, in my time of trouble I came to you. I reached out for you all night long. My soul refused to be comforted.  I thought about you, God, and tried to tell you how I felt, but I could not. You would not let me sleep. I tried to say something, but I was too upset.Psalm 77:1-4 ERV
Think About It
- Have you ever felt so much that you didn’t even know where to start? That was how this psalmist felt. He felt distressed and overwhelmed and didn’t feel like any amount of comfort would make him feel better. He tried to express what he felt to God, but nothing was coming out because he was too upset.
- The Book of Psalms is a great place to help us work through what we feel. The people who wrote Psalms didn’t always understand why they felt what they felt, but they always talked to God about it.
- We don’t always have to understand or know what we feel. The first step is acknowledging with God that we feel something, rather than getting angry or shutting down.
- What do you do when you are overwhelmed?
- Do you shut down, cry, get angry?
- What do you think it means to take your emotions to God?
Watch This: Riley Argues with Her Parents
- In the movie, Inside Out, Riley moves to a new city with her parents, and has a hard time processing how she feels about it. In this scene, Riley has an argument with her parents because she is overwhelmed and confused by all the emotions she feels. Her “Joy” is nowhere to be found, so she gets sarcastic, nervous, and angry. Rather than acknowledge and express these emotions, she lashes out and shuts down.
- How do you react when you’re not sure what you feel?
During the night, I thought about my songs. I talked to myself, trying to understand what is happening.  I wondered, “Has our Lord rejected us forever? Will he ever accept us again?  Is his love gone forever? Will he never again speak to us?  Has God forgotten what mercy is? Has his compassion changed to anger?”  Then I said to myself, “What bothers me most is the thought that God Most High has lost his power.”Psalm 77:6-10 ERV
Think About It
- When we get stuck in our emotions and can’t understand why we feel or act the way we do, it can be easy to become unbelieving and doubt God. The psalmist tried to understand what was happening, and this led him to question God’s love and power to help him get through it.
- If we are going to figure out what is going on with us, we need to be honest about our doubts and unbelief about God.
- What doubts do you have about God? About yourself?
- How do these doubts affect your view of God and his ability/willingness to help you?
Why am I so overwrought? Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me and is my life.Psalm 42:5 VOICE
He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.Psalm 40:2 VOICE
Think About It
- Though we need to be honest about the doubts and unbelief we have with God, it is ultimately our choice to believe that he will pull through for us. Even when we feel upset, overwhelmed, or confused over what we feel and are going through, we can choose to turn to God despite these emotions.
- Once we choose to believe God will pull through for us, he does! He can pull us out of the “deep, dark hole” that felt impossible to get out of on our own, and gently walks us through understanding where we are at and how we can move forward.
- He doesn’t expect us to have it all figured out, but rather wants to help us along the way.
Then Jesus went with his followers to a place called Gethsemane. He said to them, “Sit here while I go there and pray.” 37 He told Peter and the two sons of Zebedee to come with him. Then he began to be very sad and troubled. 38 Jesus said to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My heart is so heavy with grief, I feel as if I am dying. Wait here and stay awake with me.”Matthew 26:36-38 ERV
Think About It
- God helps you figure out what’s going on with you when you are overwhelmed, and he gives us friends so we don’t have to figure out our emotions alone! Even Jesus needed friends with him while he was overwhelmed with emotion.
- Do you go to friends when you feel stuck in what you feel?
- What 2-3 friends can you talk to when you are feeling a lot?
Write About It
What emotions do you feel overwhelmed by? What are areas of your life that you’re not sure what you feel about? You can write a poem, song, spoken word, or even just use bullet points. Use this emotions chart to help you when you feel stuck. If writing is difficult for you, you can draw out what you feel instead.
Review or Reflect
How can you talk to God today about those emotions and areas? How has he been trying to connect with you? You can write a poem, song, spoken word, or even just use bullet points. Use this emotions chart to help you when you feel stuck. If writing is difficult for you, you can draw out what you feel instead.
Sometimes it can feel difficult to use words to express what we feel, and we need help. Music is a great way to understand and express our emotions. Listen to our “Insecure” and “frozen to chosen” playlists to help you work through what you feel.
frozen to chosen:
How to Start Praying
T.R.U.E. Prayer is an acronym that can help you start learning to pray.
- T = Thanksgiving
- R = Requests/Needs
- U = Uncovering Sin
- E = Emotions
For Further Study
- Take an emotions chart and pray about which emotions you tend to feel the most.
- You can pray about what emotions you feel in the moment, or which emotions you feel about certain areas in your life (family, friends, school, dating, etc.)
- Find Scriptures about how God can comfort you and help you figure out what you feel.
- You can look up keywords in BibleGateway or other Bible search sites to find these Scriptures. (some keywords – comfort, sad, feeling, honest, confused)
- Talk to a friend or family member about the emotions you see you have been feeling and ask for help on how to move forward