ep.06 | Relating to Your Emotions
with Amy Waters
On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast I’m interviewing Amy Waters, a Licensed Professional Counselor, Women’s Bible Study leader, disciple maker, and self-proclaimed theology junkie. Amy spent nearly 10 years on staff at Pine Cove as a Conference Director and it was there that God gave her a passion for ministering to women and families. She earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011 and is currently counseling at the Alethia Counseling Center in Tyler, TX.
Amy is married to Neil Waters and mommy to 4 year old Sam and 2 year old Elle (pronounced EL, like the letter). Amy and Neil love to spend time working on home projects, camping, playing Frisbee, reading out loud to each other, and these days trying to catch sleep wherever they can find it. When she’s not doing that, Amy can be found posting ridiculously cute pictures of their children on social media or pretending like she’s a chef in the Chopped kitchen. Both things I can attest to!
Amy and I are discussing how we as women can relate to our emotions. I’ve been planning this interview since the idea for the Journeywomen podcast was born many months ago. To be honest, I felt really awkward coming off of this recording, but I listened to Amy and I’s conversation while editing I realized that my own discomfort stemmed from the fact that I personally struggle to relate to my emotions. Brooks and I live in a culture where emotion isn’t admonished and I think I’m a little out of touch with my emotions these days. My chat with Amy was enlightening, helpful, and challenging. I hope it’s as helpful for you as it was for me!
I want to say a few thank you’s: first of all, thank you for all of your positive reviews! I’ve been reading every single DM, email, and text from ya’ll and I so appreciate the feedback. At one point last week Journeywomen was the third podcast in the Christian category on iTunes! The only explanation is that God’s showing off AND ya’ll are super gracious. Thanks for sharing it with friends! If you haven’t taken time to leave a review, please do!
Last but not least, a huge thanks to Jake Scott of Tossing Copper for letting me use the tunes you hear in the intro background! Download Dancing in the Dawn on iTunes for your perfect windows-down, hair blowing in the wind, summer jam.
Amy and I cover the following questions in our conversation on relating to your emotions:
1. What are emotions? Why do you think God gave them to us?
2. Is there any distinction between good/bad emotions? Would there ever be a reason to try not to feel a certain way?
3. Why is it important for us to learn to appropriately relate to our emotions?
4. Scripture says the heart is deceitful above all else. Does that mean we can't ever trust our emotions? When can we trust them??
5. How can we process through emotions when they feel overwhelming?
6. How can we be gracious with those who feel more intensely than we might feel?
7. If you could give someone steps by which to process through emotions, what would it be??
8. What if we're struggling to feel? Like, we don't feel at all? Is that bad?
9. What are good boundaries regarding sharing and processing emotions with our spouses and friends? What indications might we look for when we’ve crossed over the line and encouraged our brothers or sisters to sin?
10. How can we help our kids relate to their emotions?
Three questions I ask every guest
1. What are your top 3 resources for those learning to relate to their emotions?
2. What are your three simple joys?
3. Who is the most influential person in your own journey with Jesus?
Note Worthy Quotes
“Being emotional doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. As in all things that God’s given us, what we do with emotions is where it becomes a matter of sin or not sin.”
“Emotions are a relational vehicle. When we have emotions it has to do with how we experience something: our body’s response to something and how we express that. It’s almost always connected to how we’re relating to ourself, to God, or to other people. So, emotions can cause a lot of relational trouble for people. Especially when you have two people experiencing the same event in different ways. Finding a way to have unity there can be very difficult. For the person who is more deeply driven by emotion, they can find themselves being on a ride. And the people who love that person may feel like they’re being taken on a ride too.”
“The heart is deceitful. And part of that is because we are selfish creatures. When we experience the world and the way we respond to that and how we express that is often going to be completely connected to the self. It’s very easy to be selfish with our emotions, but they can’t be 100% bad. God emotes. We are made in his image we are made made to reflect back to him and even God himself emotes and using emotional language to relate to us.”
“Emotion is morally neutral. In fact, God gives them to us and they can be a vehicle for reflecting God’s image back to him. This is a little bit of what God is like. But we’re sinful, so we don’t do that perfectly. It can also become a place where we’re selfish, sinful, misunderstanding, or abusive. As believers, we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water saying, ‘Because I’ve entered into sin through the vehicle of emotion, I’m not going to emote anymore.’ Rather, we have to say, ‘God gave me emotion and he also feels emotions, so how can I use emotion to glorify God and how can I relate to my emotions in such a way that exercises faith?’”
“We have to remember, there’s not a revolution or revival or anything that hasn’t happened with great passion. People don’t lay down their lives where they feel nothing.”
“We live out the world in relationship to ourselves, in relationship to other people, and in relationship to God. To think our emotions are only in isolation is very naive. The way we feel is going to come into play when we relate to God and it’s going to come into play when we relate to other people. All my married girls say, ‘Amen?!’”
“I need to learn to relate to my emotions because I can’t worship without them. That’s part of what worship is. Of course we worship in Truth; we don’t check our brains at the door, but how could I worship without some level of emotion?”
“To not express emotions doesn’t mean I don’t have them.”
“Give yourself time to contemplate and identify your emotions. Confess them, pour out your heart out to God and to trusted, believing friends. There is an element of confession with our emotions that is healthy and good. We also need to make sure our emotions are being led by the Truth. When you read through 1 Peter you see the idea of being sober-minded… How do I let Truth lead my emotions rather than letting my emotions lead the Truth?”
Amy’s ABC’s of emotions:
A - Activator: an event
B - Belief: what you believe about the event
C - Consequence: what do I feel and what is the behavioral response
D - Dealing —> rather than dealing search out whether or not the belief is true
“There seems to be this idea that I can tell my heart what to feel. That takes discipline and work, especially for the person just by wiring that is more emotional than logical.”
“We want to be very careful to not let even a righteous anger be a vehicle for sin.”
Regarding parenting: “Listen first, hear first, empathize first, then we have permission to teach, guide, and train. As parents we’re so worried about teaching and training them that we often forget to empathize with them. We don’t want to do one at the exclusion of the other. We don’t want to become the parent who only relates and doesn’t teach, train, or guide. This is another area where grace must abound. If I have a hard time knowing how to engage with my own emotions, how can I expect my four, five or six year old to know how to do that?”
Regarding parenting:“Empathy doesn’t mean we need to change our direction.”
“Allow grace and truth to infiltrate even this area (relating to your emotions) of your life. And to remember too that this is a journey. You’re not the same woman today that you were ten years ago. And ten years from now you’ll look back and see where God has brought you. So, you don’t have to fix all the things right now.”
Amy’s Simple Joys
Cooking in the her exceptionally well crafted kitchen (shout out to Neil!)
A cup of coffee with a good friend
Playing with her babies