Look at the Dashboard!
21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. —James 1:21-22
Emotions are often described as the idiot lights on the dashboard of life. In fact, right now I've got two of those lovely lights illuminated on my dash: the tire pressure indicator and the air-bag indicator. I'm no car-guy, but I know that it's not the lights that need fixing, but the underlying issue they reference. Anger and other emotions operate in a similar way, indicating and warning us that there is something brewing below the surface that needs our attention.
So what to do?
1. Slow down and ask why you're reacting/what's causing the anger. Remember anger can easily overtake our faculties, and when it does, we've only created other problems that will need mending.
"Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
Grabbing a blank piece of paper and writing my thoughts often helps me sort out my emotions and identify the path that my anger has followed.
2. Pray it through. Ask/invite God's Spirit to search yours.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
3. Remember God is still in control even when circumstances and emotions seem out of control.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
4. Remember you are an image-bearer 24/7/365. You represent Christ. Your reaction is a demonstration of how yielded you are to the rule of Christ in your heart.
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
5. Consider if you've actually contributed or caused any portion of what is taking place. We're pretty good at excusing ourselves and letting another take the rap for a riff.
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).
· According to what I just read, why did God give me emotions?
· How do I respond to emotions in my life?
Prayer – Almighty Father, emotions are a powerful tool You gave me to help me navigate the circumstances in my life and how I choose to respond to them. Forgive all the times I use emotions as an excuse to “vent.” Help me to remember my life represents You at all times, and when I respond poorly because of my emotions, it makes You look bad too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.