When Big Feelings Overwhelm Kids and Teens, What Can Be Done? By Lynn Cowell

Today, author Lynn Cowell shares her heart about a journal entry she found she made while growing up; she and her co-author Michelle Nietert have a new title available now targeted at tweens: Managing Your Emojis: 100 Devotions for Navigating Your Feelings

When I’m writing a book for kids, I pull out my old journals and read what I wrote when I was young. Sometimes what I find there makes me feel sad.

In one journal entry, right across the top in black bold ink are two words. These two words might mean little to you, but as soon as I read them my heart breaks. I remember. I remember that I wasn’t just writing down a couple of facts about my day—I wrote down the things that I believed. I wrote down two things that determined how I felt about myself that day. The bold numbers, telling my weight and how far I had run that day, were powerful. They had the power to make me happy or sad.

Some days I still struggle, focusing on what I do and how I look, elevating my looks and appearance to places more important than they should be. But I have grown to know this for sure: I am more than what I do and how I look.

King David from the Old Testament was also a writer and wrote in Psalm 139:13–14, “You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.” (NIV)

When David looked in a mirror, he saw good! He saw himself as created in the image of God, his reflection a reflection of God. (Genesis 1:27) David’s feelings about himself were influenced by what he knew to be true. He was made in the image of His perfect God.

Feeling sad because we’ve judged ourselves based on what we’ve done or what we’ve seen in a mirror is not uncommon. It’s a struggle we can all face; something we all do at times. But take it from me, or better yet, take it from David. You may not see who you are or what you do as amazing, but you are. You are marvelously made! When we believe we are made in the image of our perfect Father, our words and actions will reflect this belief. Belief in this truth will begin to impact our emotions. Our emotions impact our daily well-being.

When we as adults understand this process that moves us toward being emotionally healthy, we can impact the children in our lives to be mentally and emotionally healthy as well. This is when we have the power to influence kids; they will see that our emotions are not controlled by negative thoughts. We are led by truth and the power of the Spirit living within us and they can be as well!

So, let’s start right now! So much of how we feel has to do with what we think and therefore what we say. Give this a try. (I know it might feel weird, but go ahead!) Read this truth out loud: I am marvelously made! (It’s a tongue twister!) Say it again. Write it in your phone notes or on a slip of paper, helping you to own this important truth, influence your own feelings and influence a child as well today.

—Lynn Cowell

Managing Your Emojis, written by licensed counselor Michelle Nietert and Lynn Cowell, will empower your child to find acceptance and approval from God as they come to know that God made them just as they are; intense emotions and all.

Lynn Cowell is a part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries team, speaking and writing for women of all ages empowering them to find confidence in Christ. In addition to speaking on the national level, Lynn reaches many through her writing as an author of eight books and devotion writer. Lynn and her husband, Greg, of over 35 years reside in North Carolina where they enjoy the mountains, sweatshirts and anything combining chocolate and peanut butter.

More about Co-author Michelle Nietert be found at www.YourMentalHealthCoach.com