Make Your Emotions Work for You
- Wednesday, August 12, 2009
You probably won’t feel like forgiving others, but if you decide to obey God’s call to do so, He will help you every step of the way, and by the end of the process you’ll discover that He has changed your feelings toward them. Give the bitterness of your traumatic memories to Jesus by imagining Him hanging on the cross for the sins of the world and imagining yourself handing a piece of paper to Him with your memories written on it. Then imagine the blood that flowed from His wounds covering the writing until it’s completely obliterated. Refuse to let your mind dwell on traumatic memories.
Replace them with Scripture verses that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind to help you heal. Talk with some trusted friends or a counselor about the negative emotions that have arisen from your memories. Ask some other believers – such as elders in your church – to pray for your emotional healing. Thank God for the healing and restoration that He brings into your life as He works it all out according to His will.
Cope with anger. Try to avoid or eliminate stressful situations as much as possible. When you encounter circumstances that make you angry, stop and ask yourself: “Is this situation really worth the emotional stress and strain of getting angry?” and “Is this person worth losing my temper over?” to help gain the right perspective.
If your anger threatens your welfare or that of other people (like your spouse, kids, or coworkers), learn how to contain it. Vent your emotions regularly in healthy ways (such as through prayer, exercise, or music) so that anger doesn’t breed in your heart. Whenever you feel angry, check to make sure that your anger is directed toward the right person and the right cause. Be angry only for a short time; deal with your anger quickly. Try to focus on the problem that made you angry rather than the person who has created the problem. Work positively and constructively toward a solution. After you’ve processed your anger, let it go completely so you can move on with your life.
Cope with worry. You never need to worry, because God cares about you and is ultimate control of every situation in your life. Whenever a worry creeps into your mind, pray about it. Ask God to forgive you for the sinful habit of worrying and give you the faith to overcome it by regularly casting your anxiety on Him and placing your trust in Him to help you.
Commit to God what He alone can do rather than wasting time and energy worrying about something about which you can’t do anything yourself. Refuse to worry over the same issue when anxious thoughts continue to come into your mind. Focus on God and let His peace fill your heart.
Cope with fear. Fear can become your friend when it causes you to rise to a challenge or motivates you to solve a problem. The more you understand God’s great power and love for you, the less fear you’ll feel. But whenever you do feel fear, admit it and assess the strength of your fear. Ask yourself: “What’s the worst case scenario?” and “Is God greater than my fear?”. Act upon your fear by doing what you can about it and finding God’s help to go beyond your strength.
Develop an action plan and move ahead with the confident assurance that God will be with you. Commit to God what you can’t change or understand. Rest in God’s comforting promises in the Bible that you don’t need to be afraid. Remember that fear comes from Satan, not God, and that God has not given you a spirit of fear. Keep in mind that whatever situation is causing you to feel scared is temporary and will pass.
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