Put on your no-judgment-zone hat, because it’s about to go down. I am super honest about an area of weakness that I have, which is learning how to discipline my emotions. Everything in life is a choice, including our emotions. I have always been a firm advocate for validating one’s feelings while still recognizing that we are responsible with how we respond to circumstances.
Like Steven Covey says, “If our feelings control our actions, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so.” So where exactly does God stand in all of this?
He tells us to take up our crosses. [Matthew 16:24-25]
How Christ Controlled His Emotions
Interestingly, Christ leads by example, and we can see where He literally and figuratively applied this concept in the garden of Gesenamie all the way up to the timing of his crucifixion. Jesus endured pain, frustration, and negativity on a completely different level than our minds could comprehend. But he endured it so that thousands of years later, believers like you and I could have a personal relationship with The Father.
Now I’m not an avid wine drinker, but I do love the metaphor about the wine-making process. A wine press is a device that is used to extract juice from crushed grapes. It exerts a controlled pressure in order to free the juice from the fruit.
The Wine-Making Process
Just like a winepress, God will use your pain, your frustration, and the pressure from difficult situations to create something sweet and useful. However, what you experience is a byproduct of what you focus on. If you focus on negativity and disappointment, you will seemingly only see your expectations not being met. If you focus on frustration, you won’t be able to see past your emotions to find a solution.
What we see as discouragement, God sees as development. As believers, we have to trust that God is working everything for our good EVEN when it doesn’t feel good. There is a reason why you are experiencing your hardships!What we see as discouragement, God sees as development. Click To Tweet
Practical Ways to Stop Following Emotions
There are practical ways to push past this though. I have found prayer, gratitude, and language to be helpful in my own life.
The Bible tells us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). When you begin to feel trapped by your emotions, first run to God in prayer. He is the best listener, and He will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-9). But there is a catch, leading us to the second point.
To have peace, we are required to pray with thanksgiving and to think on good things – things that are honorable, true, pure, lovely, commendable, or praiseworthy. When feeling discouraged, find ways to fill your days with gratitude. Create a journal where you write something you’re thankful for everyday! Or just focus on the good when things are going wrong. Grab my reflection questions here if you don’t feel like doing this on your own.
But lastly, language. Watch what you say! Life and death lie in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Speak things into existence when circumstances seem unfavorable, and instead of reprimanding those that frustrate you, encourage them instead. If this is something you’re struggling with, I write more about it here.
Nevertheless, all of these things will open you to a new perspective, a better understanding, and more strength to overcome life’s greatest challenges. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and what better test is there than experience itself.
Today, I challenge you to be proactive rather than reactive. I challenge you to choose how you will respond to the difficult circumstances in your life. If you need help processing through your emotions, grab my reflection questions right down below. If not, let me know in the comments how you plan to submit your emotions to Christ and be proactive with your responses.
Hanha Hobson is an author, speaker, and the founder of Transparency Ministries. From published devotionals to empowerment workshops, she will stop at nothing to see women encounter God and she is passionate about teaching and equipping them to live a life of freedom. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating Chickfila, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!