Dealing with Emotions
How can we deal with intense emotions?
There's no reason to fear emotions, push them down, or ignore them. In fact, much of the latest research consistently shows that it's best to feel them and to be very aware of them. As we consciously feel our feelings, they change. Usually, they lessen and leave. Crying (yes, even men) and laughing (not the tickling type) help move us successfully through intense emotions.
Of course, turning to God and trusting in His direction offers the most permanent and lasting help and healing. Here are five steps based on Biblical concepts that are very applicable.
- "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps 46:10 NIV).
So often that's what we need—stillness. And stillness—quiet, inner peace that comes from God—is what enables us to face emotions calmly, without letting emotions handle us or make us do or say things we'll regret.
- Go into your prayer closet.
What's wonderful about Jesus' instruction to his disciples is that the "closet" of which he speaks is one that is full of everything we need (Matt 6:6). The closet has all the supplies—the ideas, the strength, the quiet—that provide the best environment to hear the answers we need to work through whatever we are facing.
- Listen to God.
It's God, of course, who gives us the answers we need. And true prayer is not talking to God since God already knows what we need. True prayer requires that we listen with our whole heart so that we can hear God's voice. The more we practice listening to the still, calming voice of God, the more we get used to hearing it.
- Think about it.
Think about what God is telling us. The world needs thinkers, not reactors. So as God speaks, we listen and think. We think how we can apply what God is sharing with us. We think how we can respond when emotions well-up in us. We think about the impact of our words and actions, and we make wise decisions based on God's answers.
- Obey God.
We then use what we've heard to follow God's direction. We do what God says—not what emotions say. We don't try to make a point, prove we're right, or defend ourselves. We let that all go and just obey God, who always wants what is best for us and for everyone. When we do what God wants, we know we're doing the right thing.
When we're able to take these steps, we're able to make wise decisions, not emotional reactions. We become masters of our emotions rather than slaves to them. And that's how we effectively deal with emotions.