56. Reigning Emotions

by Apr 15, 20242024

Wow! Our emotions can be a powerful and sometimes volatile influence on our decisions and relationships! Because they are so central and pivotal to how we live our lives, I’d like to highlight the need to gain an understanding of our emotions. This comes as we begin to recognize our own patterns of behavior, triggers, and natural responses to different kinds of people and circumstances.

Know Thyself

When we fail to be aware of our emotional make-up, we become more subject to reacting out of inaccurate thoughts, feelings, patterns, or hurtful wounds from our past. Our emotions are strong and can drive us to perceive something as different from what it really is. If our past contains any of the traumatic experiences that exist in this world, we can respond in fear, distrust or even in a paralysis to act at all. In addition, our emotional make-up is highly influenced by our families of origin. This provides another reason for us to become students of ourselves and the atmosphere and parameters under which we were raised.

It is so important to understand our triggers, which, by definition, are stimuli that elicit a reaction. The word is often used pertaining to those with emotional or mental challenges. But quite frankly, we all have mental challenges, so that even the healthiest of us can still be “set off” by certain encounters.

Where You Lead Me, I Will Follow

This topic deserves much more attention than what is possible in a short blog. My goal is not only to identify the need to understand ourselves and why we respond as we do. I want to challenge those of us who have decided to follow Jesus to cultivate a life that reflects being led by the Spirit of God rather than our emotions.

Friends, we must be serious about our inner life if we are to continue in a life of discipleship. We must be willing to see our true selves, seeking to understand our strengths as well as our blind spots. When we allow the light of God’s Word and His Spirit to reveal to us our true selves, we are then given the privilege of surrendering all we are to the Lordship of Jesus. In such surrender, we recognize that it is only with God’s help, that we will receive the grace and power to be conformed into the image of his Son.

Such surrender is not a one-time act. It is a lifetime pursuit to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in our minds” (Colossians 3: 15, NIV). It is a daily, lifetime pursuit to want to be filled with the Spirit, to abide in Christ, and to be daily living for His glory.

Emotions That Reflect God’s Reign

Friends, we are all so vulnerable to the temptations and distractions of this world. And we can justify even our worst emotionally driven responses and decisions. But isn’t our calling (and hopefully our goal) to be lights in a dark world? To do so, we will need to take hold of all God has made available to us through His Spirit. It means not settling for mediocre living, inconsistency, or hypocrisy in our behaviors and attitudes. It doesn’t mean eliminating our emotions, but rather, reigning over them. Will you do the daily work of allowing healthy expressions of God’s love to be given to a world that’s starving for genuine and authentic faith?

If this is relatively new territory for you, I suggest carefully selecting a few books to read from those who have written on this topic. I can personally recommend authors Henry Cloud, Dallas Willard, Philip Yancey, and John Ortberg. You could also consider seeing a therapist to help you in your journey. Even asking for the help of a close friend who has done a good deal of work on understanding themselves, could be beneficial. The point is to get going on doing the work to better understand your own emotional make-up. God will be your help as you pursue the desire to let His Light shine in you brightly. It’s a great goal. God bless you in your journey.