by Ryan Martin
Emotions are crazy.
And sometimes both, for no apparent reason!
Emotions can be so confusing.
It can feel like no one understands, especially when your emotions don’t even make sense to you.
Of course, that makes you feel even worse, like something is wrong with you.
Adults can unknowingly add to the pressure. “I’m just glad I’m not a teenager anymore” is not helpful advice when you are the one struggling.
Emotions can be irrational. You can't reason through them.
Emotions can be inexplicable. You can't explain the why or how.
Emotions can feel inescapable. You can't get away from them.
Dealing with emotions is not only a teenage problem. In fact, the patterns that practice now will help or hinder you as an adult. Still, recent studies have shown that part of the reason emotions are such a big deal to teens is due to biological changes.
Simply expressing your feelings won’t change anything.
Throughout our lives we mature physically (and hopefully in other ways too). As teens, our brains are gearing up for adulthood. Both in toddlers and adolescents, the brain develops at a more rapid rate than at other times of development. Teenage brains are changing so fast that some of the parts of the brain that temper emotions with more mature reasoning haven’t caught up.
So, part of the reason emotions feel so out of control in adolescence is because they are!
Some would use this as an excuse for inappropriate behavior. I can just hear someone saying to his or her mom and dad, “I can‘t help it!” or “God made me this way.” I can also hear your parents counter by saying “You don’t have to tell me your brain isn’t fully developed!” (Yeah, don’t try that one!)
Actually, one article on the web was titled, “Could teenage rebellion really be a sign of maturity?”
I’m shocked by the lack of understanding many secular establishments encourage when trying to help youth with emotions. Simply expressing your feelings won’t change anything. In fact, it may even fuel more negative feelings. Anger expressed only breeds more anger. Giving in to lustful feelings only fuels more lust.
“Is there anything that can stabilize a teenager, so they don’t have major regrets?”
First, remember that Jesus has “been there, done that.”
Hebrews 7:14 is an excellent source of encouragement. Jesus went through adolescence, too. He had the whole, weird “brain-growing-faster-than-mature-reasoning-abilities” thing! He was “in all points tempted like we are” and never sinned. (Which is cool, because He knows how to help us in our struggles and temptations!)
His teen years were “full of grace and truth”! (John 1:14) So, yeah, it's possible! (And He’s the Only One who can help us do it, too!)
Second, STOP and THINK about your emotions.
So many of us "stuff ‘em" or "dump ‘em" before we ever really think through our emotions and bring them to God for help. Emotions in themselves aren’t sinful. However, when you sinfully act based on your emotions, you’re in trouble.
Realize that emotions can actually be warnings that something is wrong. As you take them to God, He can heal hurting parts of your heart or correct areas that need to improve. Also, realize that your brain could just be in a growth spurt. This, too, will pass. One emotion doesn’t last forever.
Third, don’t forget to sleep!
It's the most helpful ingredient no one thinks about! Sleep allows your brain the rest it needs to react better when emotions get crazy.
Finally, turn your whole person over to God — body, emotions, and spirit.
Most importantly, one beautiful truth that we embrace is that God can have full control of our lives, including our emotions. That means, regardless of what your brain is doing, you can rely on the God who made it to help you through this in a way that will honor Him.
Emotions can be a powerful driving force that God uses to accomplish His purpose in us!
You don’t have to be afraid of your emotions, if you are taking them to Him. If He has complete authority, He can mold or channel them in a direction that is healthy and wholesome. Emotions can be a powerful driving force that God uses to accomplish His purpose in us!
We do not have emotions just to make our lives difficult. Emotions are wonderful! They enhance our worship, relationships, and experiences. They inspire us to show compassion. They influence change as our will gets involved to help.
God created your emotions. They’ll work best when He’s in control.
Assistant Editor, Content Strategist
Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
Fact Checker, Accountability Editor