Emotions. You have them. I have them. Sometimes they serve us well. Sometimes they get us in trouble.
“I can’t control my emotions!”
“I am all over the place. One minute I am happy and next I fall into uncontrollable sobs.”
“I am not angry!”
“I don’t feel like laughing.”
“It’s that time of the month. I can’t control my feelings.”
“You’re so emotional,” we say, as if that were a bad thing
Emotions are not inherently sinful or wrong. It’s whether we can control them or not that is important.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines emotion as:
— a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
— a state of feeling
We experience something. The man I have been dating says he loves me. This produces an intense burst of happiness that causes me to cry and jump up and throw my arms around him.
My boyfriend says he doesn’t think we were meant to be together and he doesn’t want to see me anymore. All sorts of emotions could arise from this, but probably the predominate one will be anger or hurt or both and we will weep, our stomachs will churn, and we tell him to leave and slam the door.
Neither of these responses might be wrong, but taken to extremes and allowed to fester, they will become exceedingly sinful.
To some degree we can’t help the way we feel, but the truth is we don’t have to let our feelings run our lives.
Example: you may not be able to help feeling apprehensive about an upcoming event, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop worrying and fretting about the outcome.
Being created in the image of God means we have the capacity to experience and express a variety of emotions. God is an emotional being. He is joyful, delights, and sometimes He is angry, jealous, and sorrowful. But, of course, in His display of emotions He never sins.
Our design is that we feel and express many different emotions in a way that reflects His heart and brings Him glory.
The problem is we are sinful, flawed human beings. The problem is not that we have emotions, but that they have been damaged by the fall.
We need the Holy Spirit to sanctify our emotions so that we can express them in a godly way and not a sinful way.
A woman told Billy Sunday that she had a bad temper, but that it was over in a minute. He replied, “So is a shotgun, but it blows everything to pieces.”
It only takes a moment of out of control emotions to endanger relationships. How often have you said, after saying something in anger, “I really didn’t mean that. I was just angry.” But words once spoken are hard to take back. They are like bullets, once on their way, you can’t call them back.
Anger is not a fruit of the Spirit. But, I am not discussing anger management.
I am discussing emotion management.
First of all, the enemy uses several ways to snare our emotions. Some lies seem to be his favorites.
If I feel something, it must be true.
If I feel unloved, I am unloved.
If I feel my situation is hopeless, then it must be.
If I don’t feel saved, then I am not.
Because of our fallen condition, our emotions often don’t track with reality and Satan capitalizes on that.
We need to tie our emotions to God and His unchanging truth and word, not our changing emotions.
Our emotions can take us on a roller-costar ride. Up and down. Up and down. When this happens, we need to close our eyes, stop, take a deep breath and refocus on the truth.
This is truth dear daughter of God.
God is good. He loves me. I am forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God will never leave me nor forsake me. I am so valuable to Him, He died for me. He is with me all the time. Whatever I may feel –these are truths. If God is for me, who can be against me?
Is there something going on in my life God can’t handle? Don’t think so. He knows me.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
He knows when you are about to have an emotional melt down. He’s waiting for you to let go of the reigns and to call on Him to control you though the Spirit who dwells in you.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Keep in mind, our emotions are not trustworthy. We must filter everything through the Truth.
Paul gives a picture of mental sanity and emotional stability in Phil 4.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Be happy. God is good. Let the Light shine in all the dark places of your life.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.
Be gentle and considerate of people.
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
God, the Holy Spirit indwells us. Jesus is near us now and returning in glory one day. So, let it go. God’s for you. He has your back. Jesus said he would never leave us nor forsake us.
In middle school, I was a first class worrier. I learned this little ditty to ease my anxiety. “Worry is like a rocking chair, it never gets you anywhere.” Pathetic I know, but I didn’t know the Lord. What else did I have?
In middle school I rocked my worry. Now, I dispose of it by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Here is the result of the above verses. Here is the result of giving your emotions to God to deal with. A peace you can’t understand or explain becomes your’s and God stands guard over you.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”
Here is the follow-up. Now, that your emotional well-being is in hand, Paul gives us a maintenance plan. Watch what you see, hear, and think about and find a godly mentor. Find an older woman who will model self-control and teach you and walk with you.
Emotions are not your master if you are a child of God and walk in the Spirit. That is freedom!
Be free, sisters. Lay it all down at the Cross.
You are loved