Overcoming the Emotional Roller Coaster
I find one of the most difficult things to manage as a Christian can be our emotions. We live in a world that tells us to be who we are. Carpe diem! Be free and express yourself! (This type of mindset is most likely the cause of wild, uncontrollable emotions!) Yet, the Bible tells us something quite different when it says: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”(Romans 12:2)…So what are we to do when our emotions take over in run our lives?
As a mother of 4 kiddos ranging in age from 6-15, it is pretty easy to go through a range of 1,989,773,938 emotions in one single day! Sure, I may be exaggerating, but it really does feel like a reality in the moment. Four independent thinkers, testing boundaries, expressing opinions, and being the child you love all at the same time, can send any mother (even seasoned one) into a tailspin. I cannot tell you how many times I have left my full grocery cart at the front of a store and gone home because one of my kiddos decided it was a good day to test boundaries. Even the most experienced of moms have days where feeling like a “failure” after losing it on your kid in public, can leave her burned out and without a clue of what to do about it. But how thankful I am for a loving God and Father who isn’t afraid of these moments where we lose our cool and act or even feel less than Christ-like. Through much experience with rollercoaster emotions, I have learned that Scripture offers so much help to take hold of those dangerous run-away feelings and controlling them the way God intended us to:
1. Understand what you can control, and what you cannot. Emotions were given to us by God. They are like the thermostat of our hearts that signal us to what is happening inside. However, when left unchecked, our emotions can cause us to react to things around us, rather than function as an indicator to respond appropriately. Galatians 5:22-23 says that, “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…!” The Holy Spirit teaches us how to handle our emotions in a way that brings glory to God, rather than turn us into exploding emotional wrecks. We then learn what we can control, and what is beyond our control.
2. Spend quiet time with God. If we begin our day with a rushed mentality and skip spending time with the One who knows us best, we miss out! When we make having that one on one time with God, we begin to think like He does. We don’t see situations as threats, but opportunities to reflect God in our responses. When we spend time with Him, we are at peace, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7)
3. Enjoy time with those who carry attributes you desire to have within yourself. It can never be overstated how valuable those in our lives are. We live daily around those who make us laugh, those who encourage us, even those who make us crazy! But in the midst, we are learning. We are becoming better. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Those we open our heart to change us. As you surround yourself with those who maintain their emotions well, you have the ability to maintain yours well to. We become who we spend time with. Both with God, and with other people. Invest in those who display emotions in a Godly way.
4. Spend time knowing yourself. Spending time with people is important. Spending time with ourselves is invaluable. I am not talking about prideful-narcissistic-self-love. I am speaking of coming to know ourselves the way God does. God desires that we learn who we are to become who He has created us to be. If we let others tell us who we are, we will accept any and everything as our identity. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Knowing our strengths and weaknesses helps us to know how to respond to situations as they happen. God created us for good things! Our emotions don’t have to take that away.
5. Learn to LET GO. I am sure by now, you have learned that we cannot control everything that includes our emotions. Some days, we respond well. Other days, we can lose it and react badly. But we have a Father who loves us unconditionally and see us for who He created us to be, not the mistakes we make every day. Do we live in a way where our emotions get to decide our response because God loves us? No! That is not the reality of grace that is just unwise. The truth of the Gospel is that we are weak. We make mistakes and sometimes we act out of character. God reminds us that “My grace is all you need.”(2 Corinthians 12:9)
As children of God, we do not have to let ourselves to become frequent riders of a rollercoaster of emotions. Through relationship with God, He leads us daily through His Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and minds to look more like Jesus. In that, I feel safe to be vulnerable to experience every single emotion given to me by God in ways that bring Him glory. Whether it be anger, joy, sadness, or any other emotion, we are free to be ourselves without fear of being run by our emotions. I pray that these help you take ownership and walk in freedom. What are some emotions that have taken over in your life? Share them with me.