How to Find the Positive Messages in Negative Emotions
- Thursday, June 06, 2013
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jeff Schreve's upcoming book, Runaway Emotions: Why You Feel the Way You Do and What God Wants You To Do About It (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
God has created you to experience the full range of emotions. But it’s much more pleasant to feel positive emotions such as excitement and peace than it is to feel negative emotions like fear and anger, so you may be tempted to ignore or suppress the negative emotions you feel.
It’s worthwhile to pay attention to negative feelings, because they have positive purposes behind them. God intends for every negative emotion you feel to act as a smoke alarm, alerting you to a dangerous fire burning somewhere in your life that you should deal with to grow spiritually.
Here’s how you can find the positive messages in the negative emotions you feel:
Discover what embarrassment says about your self-worth. Feeling embarrassed indicates that you’re insecure about yourself. God wants you to discover that you have infinite worth, because He has made you in His image and loves you completely. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind every day so you can think about yourself the way God thinks about you. Keep in mind that worth is really determined by what someone is willing to pay for it, and since God paid the ultimate price to redeem you by sacrificing His Son on the cross for your sins, you’re immeasurably valuable. Base your sense of worth on your identity as one of God’s beloved children.
Discover what loneliness says about your desire for companionship. God built a desire for authentic relationships – with Him, and other people – into your soul. When you feel lonely, it’s a sign that you should engage more with God and others. Recognize that God is a true and loyal friend who is always ready to listen to you and wants the best for you. Make it a top priority to spend time with God in prayer regularly, expressing your deepest thoughts and feelings and listening for what He has to say to you. Engage with other people by sowing seeds of love, friendship, concern, and encouragement whenever God gives you opportunities to do so. As you reach out to others, God’s love will flow through you, blessing them – and you’ll be blessed too, because the more love you give, the more you’ll receive in return.
Discover what frustration says about your desire for meaning and purpose. If you’re feeling frustrated that your life isn’t going the way you’d like it to go, let your frustration motivate you to seek God’s plans for you, which are greater than anything you can imagine on your own. Seek God diligently, as you do, you’ll naturally discover what He wants you to do in life. Enjoy your relationship with God. The more time you spend communicating with God, the better you’ll learn how to recognize His voice speaking to you. Be willing to let go of your own plans for your life so you can fully embrace God’s plans for you, which will lead you to experience the best life possible. Keep in mind that God will equip you to accomplish everything He calls you to do.
Discover what worry says about your sense of security. While God wants you to have a solid sense of security, worry damages your ability to accept the security that God is offering you. Pay attention to worry’s warning that you’re jeopardizing the peace God wants you to enjoy – peace that comes from trusting Him. Realize that God actually is aware of the situation you’ve been worrying about, He does care, and He is more than able to do something about it when you place your trust in Him. Entrust every part of your life (from your health and your relationships to your job and your finances) to God, and invite Him to intervene in every situation you face. Seek God every day and rely on Him day by day to provide what you need.
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