Break the Habit of Saying “I’m Fine”

Break the Habit of Saying “I’m Fine”

Emotions are meant to be felt 

Let’s set up a little scene. 

You’ve had a long day. You’ve jumped from one task to another without a moment to breathe. You’re feeling so swarmed with emotions you fear they could unleash at any moment. But you HAVE to do one final errand before heading home. 

A close friend spots you while you’re out. She gently calls your name, smiles, and asks how you’re doing. 

You feel like you could scream or cry or do both simultaneously. You want to let her in. You want to share how you’re really feeling. But how do you choose to answer? 

“I’m fine” 

Have you experienced something like this? 

If so, I’m right there with you.


A few months back, a  friend of mine gifted me the book “Untangle Your Emotions” by Jennie Allen. 

If you’re anything like me, emotions are NOT my favorite topic. I prefer to only share positive emotions with people. The moment I sense some anger or sadness creeping in, I either pretend it’s not there or hide myself away so no one sees me feeling that way. 

So I politely thanked her and popped it on the bookshelf (with ZERO intention of opening it anytime soon). 

A few days ago, though, I was feeling a lot all at once. Discouraged about navigating through a career change. Excited for an upcoming vacation. Overwhelmed with work and family tasks. Irritated at a neighbor who had made noisy, weekly poker nights a thing. Frustrated. Suffocated. That’s when it caught my eye on the bookshelf and I finally opened it up. 

And, after a few pages, I thanked the Lord for encouraging me to do so. 

The book offers great insight into why we experience emotions, and even provides a 5-step process for how to best handle them. There is SO much you can get from this book, but one of the main takeaways is that emotions impact every part of our lives. The effect of emotions on our bodies and relationships is what struck me most. 

 

Emotions and our bodies

Our feelings show up in our bodies. So, when something is “off” with our emotions, our bodies let us know. 

Think of the last time you experienced a strong emotion. I bet that if you go back to that moment, you’ll be able to see that your body was also experiencing it. 

For example, let’s look at stress - It often shows up through muscle tension, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. Or sadness - it can cause a change in appetite, physical aches and pains, and decreased energy levels. Or, for a more positive example, excitement - you’ll likely undergo a release of endorphins, dilated pupils, and those “butterflies” in the stomach. 

Our bodies are CONSTANTLY communicating to us. If we practice listening to what they’re telling us, we can practice responding in a healthy way. 

 

Emotions and our relationships

There are 3 main defense mechanisms we fall into when faced with powerful emotions. Some try to control them, some try to conceal them, and some try to cope with them. 

Admittedly, I am a concealer. I convince myself that my emotions will go away if I hide them away. BUT…as we’ve all experienced…stuffed away emotions inevitably find their way out (often in the form of an emotional tornado released upon a loved one. Not cool.)

So, what’s the best way to respond to emotions? Connection! 

Emotions are meant to connect us to God, to others, and to ourselves. 

We can live FAR more fulfilling lives by feeling our emotions. Satan doesn’t want us to understand what we’re feeling, and DEFINITELY doesn’t want us to draw closer to others through our emotions. 

The Lord, similar to a good friend, never gets tired of hearing us share our true feelings. God alone can put us back together. God uses every emotion - the good, bad, beautiful and ugly - to draw us into further relationship with Him. 


Remember, by God’s grace, we can become healthier in body, soul and spirit. 

This week, I challenge you to lean into your emotions. Avoid the instinct to answer “I’m fine.” Feel your emotions, share them with the people you love, and let them draw you closer to God, who wants to carry your every burden.

 

Abbey holds a degree in journalism from Indiana University Bloomington. Her favorite topics to cover are spiritual growth and development, holistic health, and human interest stories. Currently, she and her husband live in Michigan where she works in active ministry. In her free time you'll likely find her nose deep in a book, leading group fitness classes, or experimenting in the kitchen. 

 

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