There is a great epidemic plaguing Christian women everywhere. It’s very contagious and can be passed to each other before we even know what’s happened. What’s worse is that we are all carriers, the contagion lying deep within us. I know we’ve all heard it; we’ve probably even said it before:
“I’m just an emotional person. God made me that way. I can’t help it.”
or. . .
“I just can’t get control of these emotions.”
or any number of statements made to pass the buck and say we are not to blame for our bad attitudes, bitter spirits, and even sometimes our acting out and childish tantrums.
I know that is harsh; please know my intention is not be be harsh. I struggle with these things too! And if you are honest (and can put your emotions aside for the next 500 words or so!) I think you would admit to it as well.
Let me preface the rest of the article by sharing that emotions are not the enemy. God made us to be emotional beings, to respond to our husbands, to sense things that the men in our lives might not pick up on. They are good. They are necessary. They are even a gift.
But like most gifts God has given us, we can turn something good into something sinful and dishonoring to God. I am convinced we have done just that with our emotions; we have given them the reins in our lives and now they run wild. We have allowed them to control us and to control our thinking so much so that we have at times impaired our ability to learn God’s truth.
It’s not that we can’t control our emotions; it’s that we can’t control our thinking. Our emotions are only controlled by our mind. The key to controlling our emotions to to fill our minds with God’s truth. And we find that truth in His word.
I am sure you are aware that your emotions can respond to whatever your mind thinks–even if it isn’t true!! Have you ever been jolted awake from sleep because you dreamt you were falling? Our emotions work in the same way. You weren’t really falling, were you? But your mind at the time perceived it to be true and your body responding emotionally by jerking you awake.
Ladies, we should never trust our emotions. We can make them do anything if we just make our mind think it. I dealt with this just a few days ago. I was away at a marriage retreat. Great times, right? Well not for the first 12 hours or so. I was struggling with some thoughts I made up entirely in my head–things which were completely untrue–and as a result I spent the first portion of the retreat discouraged and downtrodden. And I was on a marriage retreat!!! The time when I should have been most focused on my husband and enjoying time away with him was completely unenjoyable for me (and for him!) because I had convinced myself of something that wasn’t at all true.
The only way to control your emotions is to make sure your mind is controlled by truth. You control them by receiving with meekness the engrafted Word (James 1:21). Feed your mind God’s truth and you will find it easier to control those emotions.
Psalms and Proverbs is full of verses telling us to guard our hearts–to guard our minds. We are also told to guide our hearts and minds. Guard your heart by checking your emotional responses and your thinking against God’s Word. Use Phil. 4:8 as a checklist! Guide your heart by stuffing your thoughts with God’s truth and following what He says in His Word! Ask God to help protect your thoughts knowing that our emotions are simply responses to what we think.
In doing so you will be able to train yourself to hear and perceive truth and then respond to that truth. It won’t happen overnight; that’s why you have to train yourself. And we will all mess up from time to time. That’s where God’s grace can step in and help us. God has given the answer to help us, ladies. The answer is His Word. He has given us grace and will continue to do so to help us. If we are His children, He has already given us everything we need to be able to do what He wants–even the daunting task of getting a grip on our emotions. And remember, it’s okay to be emotional–just be emotional about true and right things!!