August 27, 2016

I'm Always Learning from my Emotions

I took a long break from the blog to prepare for an incredible conference that happened at the end of July. I will have a few posts about that when I finish this series, or maybe intermingle a few thoughts, but I must say it was incredible and I can’t wait to share all that I learned and all that I experienced!
For now, I will continue to speak about “If Not Now, When?” and I will delve into the topic of the emotions. This can be a tough subject to talk about for some, but it’s so necessary when we look at how to be healthy in body, soul and spirit.
Emotions can be a help or a hindrance; they can rule us in a positive way or a negative way. Emotions are intertwined with our mood, our personality and our understanding or feelings about our surroundings. Sometimes events determine our emotions, people determine our emotions, whether we are feeling good physically or not determines our emotions and who we are as a person day-to-day determines our emotions.
One thing I know for sure, is that if we are not able to develop healthy ways to cope and balance our emotions, then we most certainly will be out of balance in other areas of our life.

I recall one day I was in a meeting and the person leading the
meeting did not have a clear understanding of the tasks at hand, nor did they defer to others in the room with more knowledge. It was painful to sit there and listen to them go on and on, and wanting to jump up and say “what are you talking about?”. I sat in my chair nervously fidgeting, sighing, and gritting my teeth. In my mind thinking, when is this going to end? It eventually ended, I took an aspirin and carried on with my day, but not without thinking about it and becoming more frustrated with each passing hour. When I got home, I flopped onto the couch and just looked up at the ceiling and fumed some more. That two hour morning meeting had dictated my day.
The next morning, I was still thinking about it but I read a devotional passage before I left for work; I Peter 5:7 “casting all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”. And then I thought about it, I had been fuming all day long, distracted, unfocused and just plain frustrated by the actions of someone else. I wasted precious time that I could have been smiling and laughing, and enjoying the company of friends and colleagues, and enjoying a healthy dinner instead of munching on chips and queso, and being preoccupied with someone’s shortcomings.
How many times have we felt so out of sorts because of the actions of others? How many times have we let our emotions rule us in a negative way? How many times have we forfeited peace because of things that have been said or done or gone on around us that were not within our control? I have been there more times than I care to admit, but I am thankful for that conviction I get from God when I have gone a little too far over to that side and gotten out of balance.
Casting our cares and anxieties and emotions means giving them all to the one who is in charge. It means letting go of the things that we cannot change and allowing God to sort it all out. And what it doesn’t mean is re-visiting and taking these situations back and trying to do it better; it means “hands off”!

I knew someone several years ago that was so ruled by her emotions, in a negative way, that she would have tantrums and yell and cause a scene; wherever she was, whatever she felt, it would come out. One day she got a glimpse of herself in the mirror during one of her “moments” and was surprised at what she saw. The anger, the bitterness, the rage, the embarrassing stance in public. That moment she prayed and told God that she didn’t want to be that person anymore, she prayed fervently; the change happened almost instantly. Today, no one would believe that she was that girl. The one that carried on in such a way that strangers would look on in disbelief. No longer was she ruled by her not so great emotions, she was now under the gentle guidance and the grace and mercy of God.
Our lives can be filled with emotions; those not so nice ones, or the ones that leave us and everyone around us feeling love and peace. Emotions are what make us unique and they can bring us together or pull us apart. Many people have emotions that are tied to their calling, such as being a social worker or a counselor, a doctor or an attorney...or even a yoga teacher. God placed these gifts in our lives, this calling in our hearts and the emotions that go along with it. But what we do with all of this is up to us.
If not now, when are you going to get your “not so great” emotions under control? If not now, when are you going to leap for joy when God opens a door you have been praying for the past 5 years? If not now, when are you going to allow others to see you vulnerable in a way that shows them your human side, yet allow them to see God working in your life? If not now, when do you finally cast your cares on Him?
So, how you handle disappointments, frustrations, exciting news or new adventures speaks volumes. People are looking. Even when you think they aren’t. What I know for sure, is that if we allow ourselves to be led by the One that has our best interest at heart, our convictions will lead us down the right path. It’s not always going to be perfect, but we can rest assured that it will all work out for the good.
So, how are you planning to handle the next challenge in life?   

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