Overcome emotionally stuffing. Decide to deal with your emotions through honest transparency rather than stuffing them deep inside, where they will change into bitterness that can poison your relationships with God and other people. Instead of putting up barriers between yourself and people who have emotionally hurt you, set up healthy boundaries that communicate clear expectations but still make it possible for relationships to continue. Realize that your job in relationships with hurtful people is simply to be obedient to God in the way you act toward those people; it’s not your job to fix hurtful people, or to allow them to continue to treat you with disrespect or abuse. If a person continues emotionally toxic behaviors toward you even after you’ve set up boundaries, cut off the relationship to protect yourself. Do your best to live in peace with people who do respect your boundaries. When conflict arises in those relationships, tackle the issue, not the person. Also, ask yourself whether you’re really trying to improve the relationship, or whether you’re simply trying to prove you’re right – and make your goal improving the relationship. Deal with unrealistic expectations that may be causing you to stuff your emotions. Openly and gently discuss your expectations with others, and then prayerfully discern whether or not your expectations are realistic. Ask God to help you let go of unrealistic expectations (things that people are either unable or unwilling to do for you). 

Check your motives and assumptions. When you begin to feel emotionally overwhelmed, reflect on your motives and assumptions about other people in that particular situation. If you sense selfishness, pride, impatience, anger, or bitterness at work in your soul, remember who you are (God’s beloved child) and redirect your focus to Jesus, asking Him to purify your motives and give you a healthy perspective on the situation. Also, recognize that you can’t accurately assume what other people’s motives are for what they say and do – only God knows – so trust Him to help you successfully handle the situation.

Make praise and thanksgiving habits in your life. Develop a frequent pattern of praising God and thanking Him for His work in your life. Doing so will invite His power to flow through your life in fresh ways, changing negatives to positives and empowering you to manage your emotions well.

Enjoy Sabbath rest in your life. Observe the weekly Sabbath that God wants you to take. When you do, you’ll gain the rest you need to help control your emotions, plus the time to focus more deeply on how God wants you to heal and grow emotionally.

Adapted from Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, copyright 2012 by Lysa TerKheurst. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.zondervan.com.   

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times-bestselling author and national speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of 15 books, and encourages nearly 500,000 women worldwide through a daily online devotional. Her remarkable life story has captured audiences across America, including appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children. Visit her website at: www.lysaterkeurst.com. 

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer

Publication date: October 4, 2012