Mastering our feelings instead of them mastering us

For so many years, I felt like a victim of my emotions…fear, despair and defeat to name a few. Over and over again I’d muster everything inside of myself to try to get above the onslaught of painful feelings. Finally, I decided it was just easier to leave my face in the dust than to try again. “Is this all there is,???” I screamed? “This can’t be the abundant life you promised your followers.” “What is WRONG with this picture???

One thing you won’t hear me say in this post is the word easy. Hope, yes! A solution, absolutely! But not easy. In fact, many attempting to break free will turn back. The road can be long and hard. So, where do we start? For me, my journey to freedom was rooted in God’s word. If we’re ever going to walk victorious over overwhelmingly painful emotions, we need to know something. The fruits of the Spirit are our inheritance. (love, joy, peace, etc. ) They are within our reach THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY. Psalm 25:12-13 says,

“Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”

Our soul is the seat of our emotions and will. It includes our affections, desires, aversions, and personality

So, what does it mean for our emotions to abide in prosperity? It means our feelings will dwell at ease. It also means cheerful, or happy. Now, does this mean that if we take hold of God’s promises that we’ll never experience painful emotions? No, it doesn’t. There’s a big difference between temporarily experiencing painful emotions and DWELLING in painful emotions. It doesn’t matter how spiritually mature we become. Life is still going to happen. Sometimes life can throw us some zingers. It’s what we do with those painful life events that matters. Maturity leads us to process the pain as it happens. In Christ, we’re given the tools to treat painful emotions like a hot potato. In order to do this, we need to have faith to believe that it’s possible. That faith comes as we stand on the promises in God’s word. For example, Luke 21:19 says,

“By your patience possess your souls.”

To possess means to win mastery over. Instead of our emotions mastering us, we master our emotions. It’s been said that emotions are like children. You can’t stuff them in the trunk, but you shouldn’t let them drive the car either. Think of your emotions like a purse full of things. For this illustration, think of the purse as our mind and the things in the purse as our emotions. Let’s picture dumping what’s inside our purse on the table. Now, we get to decide which emotions we want to put back in our bag. If we’re going to do this with confidence, we need to really believe that God has given us the ability to choose our emotions. God wouldn’t command us to get rid of certain emotions if we had no ability to obey, right? Let’s look at some examples.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” Ephesians 4:31

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10

“Do not be anxious about anything.” Philippians 4:6

On the flip side, we’re commanded to choose certain feelings, i.e…

“Be strong and courageous…” Deut. 31:6

“Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.” Psalm 100:2

Here’s the deal…we can take this as bad news or good news. We may look at God’s command as bad news if we get stuck on a mindset that says we’re just not good enough. Shame and feelings of inadequacy can keep up from taking hold of the freedom God offers us. The truth that we have the ability to choose our emotions IS GOOD NEWS!!! It means there’s a solution! God has made a way for us to live prosperous emotionally! We should be dancing in the streets!

If you have been living under the weight of overwhelming and painful emotions, I want to encourage you to try again. This time, invite God into the process. Ask Him to give you understanding. Ask Him to give you the tools you need in order to prosper emotionally. He delights to partner with His children. It pleases Him to help us! He is compassionate regarding our pain. He hurts with our hurts.

May you walk in the victory that is already yours,

Arlene

4 thoughts on “Mastering our feelings instead of them mastering us

  1. Naomi Cassata April 21, 2022 / 1:54 pm

    How do you deal with all the overwhelming neg thoughts that come with depression?

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    • Arlene April 22, 2022 / 12:58 pm

      Hello Naomi! Thank you for your comments. The way I deal with the negative thoughts is by exchanging the negative, depressing thoughts with the truth in God’s word. When feelings of heaviness start to rise up, I resist them by reading and speaking Bible verses that agree with the truth. A good example of this is in Isaiah 61:1-3: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” My very first steps out of the darkness began when I started to write scriptures on index cards that spoke to overcoming depression. Whenever I would feel it coming on, I would pull out my scriptures and read them, think about them and speak them. The heaviness would lift as I did this. At first, the heaviness would return many times in a day. As I persisted to resist heaviness, I began to go longer and longer times without feeling depressed. Think of a toddler learning to walk, and ble to take more steps as he/she gets stronger. The habit of yielding to depression developed over many years for me, and it took me, and it took about 5 years before I had developed new, good thought patterns that became my new “automatic” way of thinking. During this time, God equipped me with a number of tools for standing firm, which I now pass on to others for their equipping. Your journey may be fast or take time, but either way you’re getting stronger as long as you don’t give up. You have been given everything you need to walk in victory. May the LORD bless you with joy and peace today! Arlene

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      • Naomi Cassata May 21, 2022 / 2:32 am

        Thank you for your lengthy reply. I feel I’ve submitted to God; but when I resist the enemy, it feels futile like nothing is changing.

        Like

      • Arlene May 22, 2022 / 1:57 am

        I have felt that way too in my journey to freedom. I thought, “I must be doing something wrong. Otherwise, I’d be free by now.” One of the biggest lies that the enemy tries to convince us of is that we can’t be free. When scriptures says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” it compares our battle against the enemy with a wrestling match. Whoever exerts the most pressure for the longest time wins. We don’t have to back down. I know it isn’t easy, especially in the beginning. But as you stand firm, resisting the enemy, it’s like doing reps in weight lifting. You’re getting stronger every day. One day you’ll realize that you’re experiencing longer and longer periods of victory. Be strong and take courage. You’re not alone, and you can overcome with God’s help. Blessing…Arlene

        Liked by 1 person

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