Are Your Emotions Controlling You?
Let me set the scene for you. I am on my way to work and all of the sudden hit a piece of ice that sends me sliding off of the road and into snow. I am off the road and not moving. I am stuck. I throw my truck into four-wheel drive and try to get out. Nothing. One wheel is off the ground just spinning in the air and my truck is making a funny noise. So, I get out and look at my damage. I open my door and fall into snow that is up past my waist. I hoist myself up into my truck, crawl through to the other side of the cab and jump down to the road. I am stuck, late for work and alone in an area that has no cell phone service because I live out of town on a private road.
I can start freaking out (which I am really good at), laugh and think “Of course this would happen to me!” or understand that the world is not “working” against me and this is an opportunity to rely on God’s peace that surpasses all understanding in all situations (Philippians 4:7).
So, I trek home the half of a mile (thank the Lord I didn’t get farther) and start making phone calls. My first call is to work. Anyone who lives in an area dictated by weather knows, it happens to us all at one point or another and I am so thankful for the understanding. Second, I call my insurance to get a tow truck. I should also mention I am concerned I broke the axle on my truck because of the angle and how it looks (money is an easy trigger for me and the enemy knows that). After spending over 40 minutes on the phone, a tow truck promises to arrive in two or more hours.
Now, I wait… I come up with reasons and ways to be thankful. I am close to home, I am not hurt, I have insurance, etc. I am talking out loud telling God that no matter what He is still good. He didn’t do this to me, but I do get to choose how I respond in this situation. I have the free will to choose how I want to allow this situation to affect me. Am I going to sit and worry for the next two hours? No, I choose peace. Will worrying shorten the length of time? It makes the time seem to take even longer! Will it help me be productive? No, when I worry I just walk in circles. I also am unable to clearly communicate because my mind is going every which way at once. So, I open my Bible, throw on some worship music and just enjoy this extra time I have to let Jesus fill me up.
I have experienced the peace and rest of God and refuse to give it up. I remember when it really clicked for me that God was for me, with me, loves me, is always good and protects me no matter what. I found this peace and confidence that is so precious. I may not be able to control my surroundings, the actions or feelings of others but I can control how I feel and react to situations. I can respond as the world responds or respond as Jesus would.
Every decision is an opportunity to draw nearer to God. I choose God every time, no matter what. Has it been hard? Absolutely. Will it continue to be challenging at times? Yes. God evens says so himself but the joy, strength, contentment and peace are so worth it. I can either break down walls with God’s grace and get closer to the Father or build walls up that draw me away from Him, His presence, voice and will. The choice is up to me.
Because when I spend more time in the word, I feel more centered and less like I am on an emotional rollercoaster. Yes, I have ups and downs, but they are not as drastic as I grow and learn to bring those emotions to the cross and replace them with truth. Most of my rollercoasters are because of lies I believe from the enemy. I am not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough. I am too bold, a burden, people don’t like me, I have nothing to offer, I’ll always mess up, etc. The list goes on. And with this list my emotions and feelings go all over the place. It’s not fun to live this like this and it is concerning how easy it is for us to think bad thoughts rather than good ones.
Back to the story though, I got the call and went to my truck to get it towed. I laid hands on my truck and prayed, “Lord, my truck is perfect. There is no damage and will be no damage. I thank you for this situation and the choice of peace. Amen.”
The tow got my truck out and I was able to drive it away! I cheered my God on and thanked Him. I didn’t get to go to work that day, but I was able to talk to the tow driver and be reminded of how important it is to be interruptible for Jesus. This was not the day I had planned, but I was able to see God’s hand in an unfortunate situation. I was able to choose joy and not let my emotions take over. I was able to reflect and see how far God has brought me.
Normally, I would have freaked out and just lost it. I would have been a wreck. I would have worried about money and time, and the rest of my day, and possibly even the whole week, would have been ruined. Situations won’t change but the emotions we allow to happen can. Even if something had been wrong with my car, God is still good. He is still God and He is still in control, but worrying ahead of time would’ve only changed me, not the situation or God’s character.
This reminds me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, in Daniel 3, who were told to either bow down to the gold statue or get thrown in to a fiery furnace. They refused to defend themselves and said that God would save them, but even if He did not, they still would not worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar made. Even if God doesn’t save them, He is still good. No matter what, God is and always will be God. He is so much bigger than any feeling or situation.
Do I still worry? Yes. I grew up with a bulldozer and an avoider. Each parent was at opposite ends of the spectrum. My mom is the biggest avoider that I have ever met. If there was something she could avoid, she would do it. My dad, on the other hand, is a bulldozer that does it to just get it done, he doesn’t think or feel. I tend to jump back and forth, but God is teaching me how to find a happy medium.
He created emotions, and He created me with these emotions to glorify and honor Him, but I am not called to be ruled by them. I can’t avoid the emotions, but it is also not good to be numb. God also has emotions. He is love. He gets angry, hurts, cries, celebrates, has joy, and so much more for and with us, His children. How much more powerful His emotions must be for us!
Yet, God’s anger is a righteous anger. We see it a lot in the old Testament when the Israelites would not following His commandments and worship other gods. God gets angry at sin in the world, but we are called to not act out and sin because of our anger (Psalm 4:4 and Ephesians 4:26). I spent a lot of years filled with anger, hatred, frustration, confusion and constant turmoil. I was bitter, mean, self-centered and thought the world owed me something for everything I had been through. But God got a hold of my heart. He changed me from the inside out.
Do I still get angry? Yes but I quickly reflect and ask the Lord to examine my heart (Psalm 26:2, 139:23). What am I holding on to that is not of Him? How can I allow the Holy Spirit to fill that space and shine the light and love of Jesus into that area? Anytime I have ever asked God for something, He has always answered. It may not be the way I want Him to answer, but He always answers.
I want to be an imitator of Christ (Ephesians 5:1). Jesus wasn’t anxious, worried, mean, bitter or self-centered. Confusion, worry, anxiety, bitterness and hatred are not of the Lord. If Jesus went off alone with God to pray, how much more do we need that? Before His crucification, Jesus goes to pray to the Father knowing what must happen. In Mark 14 and Luke 22, both gospels mentioned that Jesus was deeply distressed and in anguish to the point of sweating blood because He is about to be tortured, crucified and then rise again! Even in His pain and anguish, Jesus went to the Father.
We get to do the same because of what Jesus did on the cross for each of us. We are not stuck in our emotions, because God is bigger and knows more than we could ever imagine. We get to step outside of the emotions we are feeling and have a conversation with the God who sees and knows everything! We get to go to the One who has the answers! He knows exactly what you are thinking and feeling and is with you. Emotions and feelings are beautiful, but if we continue to be led by them we leave the door wide open for the enemy to use and sway us.
When we live by our emotions, we are controlled by them. There was a season of my life when I did and said whatever I wanted, not caring about anyone or anything that came in my way. I hurt people and have had to make amends to many. But God has called us for more. We have emotions and feel them but we also rise above them to follow Jesus. God created each of us with emotions to be able to live and experience the world more beautifully, as we share and relate to one another.
I continue to make the choice to have feelings but not be bound by them. To realize when I am run by my emotions and allow Jesus into those times to speak and show me peace. I asked trusted friends and family to hold me accountable when they start to see or feel my emotions are getting the better of me. I spend more time reading the Bible and talking with God to get to know more of who He is. In my time with Jesus, I ask God to examine my heart because, “[I] am supposed to guard my heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). What is or has been growing in my heart that moved to my heart and came out my mouth? Proverbs 18:21 states the tongue has the power of life and death, so what am I saying that’s bringing death? I want all that I say and think to be pleasing to the Lord (Psalm 19:14) and that includes my emotions.
How do you control your emotions? Are there any Scriptures or tips that help you? Share below in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kendra currently resides in Northern Idaho after just coming home from a year spent traveling the world for Jesus to 11 different countries! She loves adventures, traveling, spending time with family and friends, taking her dogs on walks, is currently training for a half marathon, laughing and using her essential oils. Her heart is to show the love of Jesus to each and every person she encounters, to let them know they are loved, respected and heard. Her passion is to awaken the warrior that God has created each of us to be, growing in deeper love and connection with God and the life He has given us! Kendra is excited to be H.O.T (honest, open and transparent) with y'all in her walk with God.