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October 2014 October 2014 – In The Wright Direction

Month: October 2014

Managing Emotions Part 2: The UnFun Roller Coaster

Yesterday, I posted
Part 1 of Managing Your Emotions.  It was
all about how emotions can be mean little boogers…they are unstable,
ever-changing and they lie.  If you
didn’t get a chance to read it, I hope you will take the time to scan through
it.  It’s not Hemingway or anything but
it does make some valid points about the dangers of relying on our
feelings. 

So, if our emotions
are unstable and untrustworthy, why are we so easily lead by them?
  1. They
    are our constant and earliest companion. 
    Our emotions are with us every second of every day, everywhere we
    go which makes them a little difficult to ignore.
  2. They
    are LOUD little things!  Feelings can be incredibly strong and
    run deep which also makes them hard to ignore.
  3. Even
    though they often lie or make situations seem larger than life, they seem
    genuine and justified at the time. 
    The old adage to “just sleep on it” comes in handy
    here.  It’s amazing what a difference
    a day makes.
  4. They
    demand urgency, convincing you something must be done right away or you
    will fall over dead from the unaddressed injustice.  Once again, “just sleep on it”
    sounds like words of a genius who’s been there, done that.  We seldom make wise decisions or choose
    wise words when acting out of a sense of urgency.
  5. Emotions
    are a habit.  If you’re like me,
    you’ve let emotions manage you instead of you managing them for as long as
    you can remember.  They aren’t going
    to relinquish their control over night. 
    You’ve got to replace the bad habit with a new one by repeatedly
    choosing to be led by God instead.
It’s easy to see how emotions are the perfect tool for Satan
to hold us back and load us down with all sorts of trouble.  If we
are constantly led by them, we can be sure to expect:
  1. fights
    with friends and family
  2. needless
    worry (all worry is needless.  See
    Matthew 6:25-27)
  3. a
    constant roller coaster that’s not fun
  4. magnified
    insecurities
  5. drama,
    drama, drama
Yuck, none of us wants a life like that.  That’s why we’ve got to learn to trust God
instead of our emotions if we are ever going to experience the peace He intends
for us.  God is everything our emotions
are not!  He’s trustworthy.  2 Samuel 7:28 says, ”  Lord God, You are God; Your words are true,
and You have promised grace to Your servant.”  He is also stable and constant regardless of
our changing circumstances.  Hebrews 13:8
promises, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
forever.”  There’s no better
foundation to build a life upon than God. 

All of this focus on the negative side of emotions is
draining but needed.  Tomorrow, we’ll
turn things around and talk about the good that comes from our feelings.  Yes, those lying little boogers are good for
something!

Managing Emotions Part 1: Emotions Are Mean Little Boogers!

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”  2 Corinthians 10:5

A while back, I was given the opportunity to guest teach a
youth girl’s class at my church on the topic of managing emotions.  I was thrilled to be assigned this lesson
because it’s an area of my life I’ve really been working on over the last
couple of years. 
Now, with that being said, there are still moments you could
speak to me and think, “She’s come a long way in learning to control her
emotions???  Yikes, what was she like
before?”  That’s why I mercifully
claim the scriptures above, Philippians 3:13-14, as my life verses; I think
they perfectly summarize our Christian journey. 
I haven’t obtained perfection in managing my emotions but I am pressing
forward and seeing progress with each passing day.  Hey, it’s not easy breaking a habit that’s
dug in over 30+ years (don’t ask how many pluses!). 
But, I’m determined to
exit the emotional roller coaster once and for all and resist all future rides.
I shared with those sweet and crazy girls an example of how
terrible it would be to have an unstable boss at work.  Someone who’s up one minute, down the
next.  Someone who lies constantly, stirs
up trouble where there is none and is just simply unpredictable.  None of us would want to be managed by
someone like that and yet many of us are…our emotions.
Emotions are based on
feelings and feelings aren’t stable!  Feelings
are unstable because they can be easily swayed by so many things:
  • our
    circumstances
  • who we
    are around and their attitudes
  • how
    much rest we’ve been getting or not getting
  • our
    insecurities
  • hormones
  • other’s
    opinions of us
  • how we
    feel physically
  • how
    much time we’ve spent with God                    
                                                                                                the
list is endless!
Not only are emotions
unstable, but they also lie:
  • emotions
    can convince you a friend is angry with you when really, they are just
    having a bad day and it has nothing to do with you
  • they
    say you aren’t good enough, aren’t liked or accepted when nothing could be
    further from the truth
  • they
    convince you someone was talking bad about you when you entered the room
    when they were actually saying how much they love your outfit
  • they
    whisper that things will never get any better and that you can’t change
    when God’s word clearly offers hope to the contrary
You get the picture. 
Emotions can be mean little boogers!
So, if emotions are unstable and lie, why are we so easily
lead by them?

We’ll tackle that question tomorrow but until then,
I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and struggles with emotions. I could use
all the insight you are willing to pass along.  

Mind Your Own Business!

“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life:  You should mind your own business and work with your hands…”  1 Thessalonians 4:11
I recently helped my grandmother sort through my great-grandmother’s jewelry.  My great-grandmother, Maw, had a love for all that sparkled along with a knack for making
necklaces that would rival anything Charming Charlie has to offer. 
As we combed through the pieces, I dreamed of all the ways I
could incorporate these treasures into my wardrobe.  But that dream quickly became a jumbled up,
tangled up nightmare!  At least a
gazillion (okay, maybe it was more like 7 but it might as well have been a
gazillion) of the strands were connected in a maze of mess.
Now, I am not exactly known for my patience.  In fact, if my precious grandmother hadn’t
been sitting by my side, I probably would have ripped them apart Hulk style and
been done with it.  Thankfully, we were
able to get them all separated and of course, it was well worth every second of
the untangling process.  On a side note,
if you ever need me to be patient, the promise of homemade coconut cake seems
to help. 
Where is this lovely story leading you might ask?  Well, yesterday as I sat down on the back
porch to read my Bible and pray, I couldn’t focus.  My mind felt just like those jumbled up,
tangled up necklaces; thoughts running in every direction but leading nowhere
and beads of emotion making it impossible to unwind.
As I asked God to untangle the mess, it dawned on me that
much of what was occupying my thoughts was none of my concern.  And wouldn’t you know it, the Bible has a
verse for that!  1 Thessalonians 4:11
says to “make it your ambition to
lead a quiet life:  You should mind your
own business and work with your hands…”
  That’s pretty straight forward, huh?
Unfortunately, it can be pretty hard to mind your own
business sometimes.  It seems like we are
constantly being bombarded with other people’s business with every call, text
or scroll through social media.  It’s
easy to get distracted and caught up before you even realize it.  I love that the verse says to work with your
hands (note that it says hands, not scrolling thumb!) because it is hard to wander
into someone else’s business when you are actively working on your own.
Once I removed all the thoughts that were none of my
business, my mind felt less jumbly and my burden seemed lighter.  Of course being both Type A, as y’all well know, and forgetful to boot, I thought it would be best to see my responsibilities
(my business) in writing. 
Look how small the list is! 
Now that’s doable!  

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