My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach, and I sat in class with a bundle of emotions raging inside of my body. (Yes, my body.) I felt my entire body tense up and stress out after I glanced down at a text message on my phone that left me feeling sad and alone. This sadness and loneliness quickly turned into fear and anger then, not even minutes later sad and alone. My entire day went from great to ruined. UGH. All I wanted was to feel like Merideth jumping for joy in this picture.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re a girl Madi; you’re built by your feelings. FALSE. Oh, now you’re thinking, ‘wow this chick is an emotional wreck.’ FALSE. Now you’re really sitting back in your seat judging my ability to be transparent. It’s okay- take a second to process what I am about to share:
Feelings and emotions are vastly different. Here are some quick examples:
Feelings: Tell us there is a right and wrong way to be. Establish our long-term attitude toward reality. Feelings are low-key but sustainable.
Examples → joy, peace, patience, goodness, self-control, love
(yes, you are reading some of the fruits of the spirit)
Emotions: Tell us there are good and bad actions. Establish our initial attitude toward reality (example: first impressions). Emotions are intense but temporary.
Examples → happiness, worry, bitterness, enthusiasm, sadness
Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences you can see that your emotions are based on your feelings. Feelings come from a source that is stable and defined while emotions allow you to express yourself in a variety of ways that are not stable or defined.
So, the reason I am blogging on this topic is that this past summer I had the opportunity to learn that my emotions need to be guided by the Holy Spirit and not my flesh. I was allowing my emotions to control my life… literally!!!
Let’s talk about good ole’ Adam and Eve. God has created us to show compassion and love, but sin, the devil and the curse that Adams brought into this world have in many ways destroyed for these emotions so that negative feelings will harm us and others around us. God gave Adam and Eve emotions so they could show them to each other and God, but sin came, and something happened. They were disobedient to God because of an emotional response to something that appealed to them. It was attractive, so good, and it emotionally led them to disobey God. These feelings moved them away from fellowship with God and their destiny. They were deceived by their emotions, seduced away from God’s intentions for them.
I AM A SINNER. We all are sinners. For many of you, it is a major challenge to control your emotions, but remember that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but the spirit of self-control, it means you can control them. God’s power lives inside of you. (HOLY SPIRIT)
In 2 Tim 1:7 it says that he has given you the spirit of power, love, and self-control. You can have authority over your feelings!
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Self-control is freedom, not bondage. You’re free to use wisdom, free to obey God, and free to follow the leading of the Spirit. You’re free not to be pushed around by your feelings. You don’t have to do what you feel like doing. You’re free to do what you know is wise.
Self-control will help you feel better about yourself. When I was experiencing so many ups and downs, it also made me physically tired and constantly anxious. It takes a lot of energy to go through all kinds of emotional changes. I noticed that as God helped me learn to manage my emotions, I also had more energy. Maybe you should stop and ask the Lord if that’s why you’ve been so tired lately. Do you let your emotions manage you?
SO….. You’re like okay, Madi, please stop telling me what to do. Sorry bout ya but I want one thing to be so clear. YOU ARE LOVED, AND YOU ARE CHERISHED. Every day you may have a rollercoaster of emotions, that is totally okay. But if you’re allowing them to influence your friendships, relationships, or motivation (it’s okay if you don’t have a problem with it. I was in denial for a long long long, time too… in fact, I was living in this sin for such a long time I didn’t even know how bad I had gotten.) you need to check your heart.
Now you’re like okay… Okay, Madi, yes, I admit I have a problem (welcome to the club!! We can help each other!!) I want to pray to have more self-control, I want to pray for more peace. GREAT NEWS!!!!! You already have peace and self-control. If the Holy Spirit is living inside of you- you already possess these! You just need to exercise them. Meaning when you want to spiral out into a tornado of emotions learn to go to The Word. IT WILL BE SO HARD AT THE BEGINNING. But the more you lean on The Lord for help, the more He will help build your confidence in your self-control. This will lead to having peace or patience… the list will go on.
But wait. Don’t forget that the Lord created emotions. Therefore, they are good. He wants us to use our emotions!!! How can you use your emotions to build the kingdom? Well, we can relate to each other. We can understand each other’s pain. (empathy) He will use your emotions to pull you toward Him. When you’re feeling sad, share it with Him. When you’re feeling happy, share it with Him. When you feel alone, share it with Him. HE CARES FOR YOU.
Okay, so here’s a little nugget: Jesus is referred to as “The Rock.” You can depend on Him to be stable—the same Jesus all the time, always faithful, loyal, true to His Word and mature. He’s not one way one time and another way the next time. Unlike your emotions, He is constant and forever.
He loves you; you are not alone in your emotions. So maybe you’re like Merideth, who forgot to drop out of student council and had to go to school during the summer- IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (she’d like to add!!!) But was jumping for joy moments after because she knows her identity is rooted in the Lord and not her emotions behind the crazy life of elementary student council member.