Youth Group Lesson on Emotions
Bible: Various Psalms
Bottom Line: Emotions are normal and God wants to hear how you feel.
Pre-filled water balloons
Grocery bags for each youth
Print out the Psalm verses listed in this lesson using the Message (this is an easy-to-read translation that will help students to connect with the verses).
Leaders: Emotions can be tough for all of us.
Take some time before you begin to read this lesson or to prepare and tell God how you are feeling.
Maybe you are tired.
Whatever it is: tell God.
It can be a real temptation, as a leader, not to face how we are really feeling or to take it out on those that we are called to serve because we haven’t spent time with God.
Model for your students what it looks like to go to God with your emotions.
We all have those days when we go to youth group and we are tired or just raw….but know that just as you remind the youth to go to God: you also need to go to God.
He wants to hear from you.
Take some time today to let God care for you and your emotions.
OPENING GAME: An Emotional Water Balloon Fight
Give each person 5 water balloons and a grocery bag or bucket to hold their balloons and say:
We are going to have an emotional water balloon fight today.
Each person will write a different emotion on each of their water balloons.
If you write an emotion that no one else has written down – you get 2 extra water balloons to keep until the final battle.
After students have written their emotions on the their balloons, collect the sharpies
Explain that you will give each person a turn to come to the center and read the emotion written on their balloon.
Anyone who wrote this same emotion comes to the center with that balloon and on the count of “3” they throw that “emotion” at each other.
Then, call on the next person to do the same thing until every person has had a chance to go.
If you call on someone and they read an emotion that only they have, they get two extra water balloons to keep.
Keep going around the circle until everyone has read every emotion they wrote and then have a massive water balloon free for all.
TEACH – EMOTIONS
Everyone has emotions.
Some emotions are more difficult to handle than others.
Which emotions do you think are the hardest to deal with?
Share a personal but funny story about a time you struggled with your emotions.
Every single one of us, unless we are a robot, have struggled with emotions, and yet how many of us feel crazy, ashamed, or even apologize when we show emotions?
There’s nothing wrong with emotions….it’s just what you do with them that makes the difference, and no one knows more about emotions than God.
It’s how he ‘wired’ us.
God created us to feel.
The Book of Psalms expresses strong emotions ranging from sadness to overwhelming joy and most of these chapters were written by King David.
Today, we are going to experience these emotions and you are going to help bring these Psalms to life.
Divide students into groups of 3-4:
Give each group a different psalm (verses) to read
Ask students to create a modern day ‘scene’ in which the emotions expressed in the Psalm can be lived out.
Give each group a chance to act out their psalm and have one of the members of the group them read their psalm.
Which emotions surprised you the most from these Psalms?
Think to yourself: When was a time that you were really feeling down?
For some of you, it is probably right now.
Maybe you came here today and have had just a terrible day.
Some of you may have had friends betray you this week.
Some of you may be on top of the world and everything seems to be going great.
Wherever you are, whatever you are feeling, realize that what you hear in these Psalms is that you are not alone.
There are some people who read a Psalm everyday just because of the ‘realness’ in those words.
One thing that you might notice is that the writer has some pretty strong emotions.
David wrote some of these psalms during the hardest times in his life: his son was turning against him, or people were trying to kill him, or even when he sinned in terrible ways against God.
But what is also amazing to see is that David didn’t just stay in his anger, fear, guilt, or shame…if you keep on reading you will hear David always seem to turn to God and realize that God is with him.
God doesn’t just tell David to “get over it” but you get the feeling that David knows that God is there with him in these tough feelings.
And the same is true for you.
Whatever you are feeling, God is with you.
He cares, and he really does want you to tell him how you are: good, bad, and ugly.
Yeah, he already knows, but think about this:
Have you ever gone to a good friend, told them how you are feeling, and even though you know that they probably already know…it’s good for you to get it off of your chest?
Well, that’s how it is when we got to God with how we truly feel.
No judgement or easy answers, but know that you always have a listening ear.
One thing that I challenge you to do this week is to pick a Psalm and read one each day this week.
Maybe write it in your own words or think of a situation in your life where you felt the same way.
Let these words be real to you and use them to get real with God this week.
Close in Prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Which emotions are the most difficult for you to express and why?
Who do you share your toughest emotions with and why do you choose them?
Which emotions that you feel do you try to hide from others and why?
What does holding in your emotions do to you?
How do you think sharing your emotions with God could help you?
How are you going to work on expressing your emotions to God this week?
What emotions are you struggling with right now in your life?
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