How to Control Emotions with Thought and Action
I have a tendency to follow my emotions. Even as a very young child, I was always especially sensitive, emotional, and easily swayed by my feelings. For decades, I found this to be my greatest vice. I often felt a bit like a black sheep even in my wonderful Christian family. My parents and younger brother seemed much less influenced by feelings, which often left me feeling as if I didn’t quite belong.
As an adult, I began to battle two different hormone imbalance diseases. I spent many years quite literally believing I was crazy. Emotional stability is much easier when our bodies are properly balanced and healthy; however, that was not entirely the reason for my dysfunctional feelings. I had bought into the social norm of blaming health and circumstances, instead of taking any responsibility for my emotions.
I did not begin to see my need for correction until I was so victim to my chaotic emotion that I could not function. But our Good Father was faithfully using my trials to lead me to Him. And as I drew near, He began to teach me how to discipline, control, and submit my emotions to Him. I became more and more stable, and sound-minded. Rather than being carried along by my feelings, I am learning to guide them with my thoughts and actions. My journey to freedom was not quick nor easy, yet I have learned a few things that may make it smoother for you:
Take your thoughts captive… QUICKLY.
Where the mind goes, emotions will follow. Where emotions go, actions will certainly be close behind. The sooner you are able to stop yourself from spiraling with a certain unhealthy thought pattern the better chance you have at controlling your emotions. How do we know when a thought needs to be controlled? When it contradicts Scripture. This is yet another reason why it is crucial for us to meditate, memorize and study the Word of God regularly.
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT
Preach the Gospel to yourself.
Struggling to control our flailing emotions, means that we are likely submitting to whatever our emotion is saying to us: “I feel sad and depressed. I need to isolate myself and have some self-care. It’s okay for me to just sit in my feelings…” On and on we can go. However, these actions might not align with the truth. Instead, we must evaluate biblically. When an overbearing emotion comes up, take a moment to pause and weigh your thoughts or feelings against Scripture. What does the Bible say about this thought, feeling, or emotion? For example, if we feel overwhelmed for no apparent reason, we know from the Bible that we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us! (1 Peter 5:7). We must preach the Gospel to ourselves. In this practice, even the most emotional person will gain a sound mind. Trust me!
Determine ahead of time to obey and honor the Lord.
The more I poured myself into understanding the Bible, the easier my resolve became. The more time I spent with the Lord, the more important it became to me to honor and obey Him. Submitting to God became more important than whatever emotion I might have been feeling at the moment. My emotion of love, gratitude, and reverence for Him outweighed any other. This is the sweet spot: I am less; He is more.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8 NLT
|Tiffany Layton lives in Alabama
with her husband, Lex.
She works at a local Credit Union and volunteers at her church,
where she serves as a worship leader.