“In God’s design, emotions were meant to help us process life in a positive manner.”
God gave us emotions to affect our lives positively. Feelings of joy and love deepen our relationship with Him and other people. These are God’s gifts to us. How wonderful will it be if only we will express emotions in the correct manner—always bringing the best in other people. But we know that the opposite is often true. Most of the time we express emotions based on what we are “feeling”. Sometimes we feel happy because we outsmarted our parents. Sometimes we feel angry because our neighbor parked his car in our parking lot. Sometimes we feel sad without a reason.
God also gave us different personalities. Some are generally cheerful, talkative and can fully express their emotions in public. Some are generally quiet and reserved. Different people with different personalities process emotions differently so when it is good for other people it might not be okay to some. Despite these differences, I believe that God called us to be Spirit filled always. Being Spirit filled means that we choose to bear the fruit of the Spirit regardless of what we feel.
I am a feeler. Most of the time I decide based on what I feel to do. It is difficult to do the tasks when I am “not in the mood” to do it. I envy Joy Tanchi’s mom. She kept mentioning her joyful attitude despite being in bad situations. This led me into the conclusion that being Spirit filled rules out our natural personality tendencies. So there is hope for me and for all who is feeling the same way. After reading Harold Sala’s book on Making your emotions work, this truth is further discussed.
“The greatest struggles in life are not fought on the battlefields of the world; they are fought in human hearts as we struggle with issues such as frustration, stress, lack of self-confidence, fear, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, and the inability to cope with circumstances that are not to our liking.”
Here are my takeaways.
We can control our emotions. Just like our mind and our body, our emotions can be trained. God made us capable of doing it by completely entrusting our emotions to Him. It is quite counter intuitive. When we ask Him to control us—our thoughts, our emotions, our minds and our actions will follow.
The fact of knowing that we can control our emotions is liberating. We should not allow our emotions to control us or even the devil who likes to prowl against us.
“Emotions are not designed to control our lives, but to draw our attention to life.”
We need to learn more about ourselves. As I’ve mentioned in my previous articles, it will take time to discover even our own likes, dislikes etc. In light of this book, we need to know what makes us feel happy, cheerful, frustrated, stressed, fearful, worried and other emotions.
“The more you know about what makes you tick, the more you will be in control of your life.”
I also learned that we need to be content with ourselves. We need to be happy in a sense that we ought to be grateful to God for giving us the life that we have. As we begin to study ourselves, we will learn our unlovable aspects not just physically but also attitude wise. These truths can hurt us and make us feel ashamed and sometimes question God the faults that we see. God commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves so we must love ourselves in a humble manner. When we truly love ourselves, we will have the capacity to love and accept other people.
“Your ability to love is vitally affected by the way you think about yourself…If you don’t develop a humble measure of love for yourself, you will never be very successful in loving anyone else.”
Trust God with our character issues. Loving oneself involves dealing with insecurities, worry and feelings of worthlessness. The moment bad thoughts come into our minds, they affect our emotions. The devil likes to attack us in such manner so that God’s work will not progress. When we struggle with such feelings, let us ask, are these feelings from God? The moment these thoughts come into mind, let us always be alert. Pray and ask the Spirit to fill us with His Spirit.
“The longer you live with negative situations and emotions, the more comfortable you become with them, and the more effectively they ensnare you…When you really understand that God will accept you on the basis of what Christ did, you don’t have to prove to the world how important you really are.”
As we trust God with our character issues, He will show us Himself. When we admit our dependence on God, our nothingness results to God’s power in full. When we are nothing, Christ is everything. And His faithfulness will prove Himself true to us. Let us trust God with our character issues and He will continue the good work that He began in us.
“Choose the word ‘becoming’. When we use the word ‘because’ we blame God. We have a hope that we will change for the better.”
Praying is trusting. As mentioned in my previous point, we need to ask the Spirit to fill us. As we pray, we need to be open to God about what we feel. We must admit what we feel whether we are angry or sad. It doesn’t matter. Our openness to God may not change things, but it can change our attitude towards the things that are unchangeable. When we express what we feel, we are entrusting to God that we are helpless on our own.
“When you pray just open your heart and let the feelings flow out.”
After we admit the way we feel, let us ask God to change the way we feel. Harold Sala suggested a prayer pattern that we can imitate.
“Lord, You have come into my life and my heart, but now I want to go one step further. I invite you to invade my emotions as well. I yield them to the control of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to use them in such a way that I glorify You and rejoice in how you created me.”
And trust God that He will deliver you.
Our emotions affect other people. We may not be aware of how our feelings affect other people. Sometimes a mere stranger’s reaction can make us feel happy or sad. In recent years, there has been a rising use of social media. On Facebook, there are some netizens that put comments carelessly without knowing the back story of a photo. This results to people who are hurt behind the screen.
Forgiving is difficult. But God commands us also to forgive! It means giving up our right to hurt others in return. We put this hurt into God’s hands asking Him to handle it. Forgiving means we refuse to become bitter and angry over the things that we cannot control.
“Forgiveness is first a matter of the will, then a matter of the emotions.”
We can also affect others by the mere fact of worrying or being fearful. We need to be conscious of what we bring about to other people.
Let us strive to influence others in a positive manner as we ask the Spirit to fill us with a Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In conclusion, I realized that we can make our emotions work. To make it happen, we need to do a lot of hard work too! We need to learn more about ourselves, trust God and learn how we can influence others in a positive manner.
And as we strive to make our emotions work, we make a difference in this world.