Managing Your Emotions: Instead of Your Emotions Managing You, page 1
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Amplified Bible (amp). Old Testament copyright © 1965, 1987 by The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Amplified New Testament, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked (kjv) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Scripture quotations marked (niv) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. niv®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
Copyright © 1997 by Joyce Meyer
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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1: How Not To Be Led By Your Feelings
2: Healing of Damaged Emotions, Part 1
3: Healing of Damaged Emotions, Part 2
4: Emotions and the Process of Forgiveness
5: Mood Swings
6: Understanding and Overcoming Depression
7: He Restoreth My Soul
8: Rooted in Shame
9: Understanding Co-Dependence
10: Restoring the Inner Child
About the Author
Your Feelings Don't Have to Defeat Your Faith.
Your faith may be strong, but at times your feelings may seem stronger. Refuse to give your feelings first place, and they'll never be able to defeat your faith!
God's powerful Word can help you …
• Live by faith
• Balance your feelings
• And keep on growing in the Spirit!
In MANAGING YOUR EMOTIONS, anointed teacher and bestselling author Joyce Meyer helps you discover what the Word of God says about your emotions—and how you can take control of them.
As you put each practical principle to work in your life, you will also discover the power you need to claim your victory.
Many of the thoughts in this book were originally presented in several seminar series I taught on the subject of emotions and emotional health and healing. In those meetings I made it clear to my listeners that the purpose of the presentation was not to teach them how to get rid of emotions, but how to manage emotions.
As I told them, nobody will ever reach the place of not having emotions. Nobody will ever reach a point in life of not experiencing a wide variety of feelings.
For example, no matter how hard you and I may try, we will always have to deal with the emotion of anger, which causes many people a lot of guilt and condemnation. The reason they come under guilt and condemnation is because they have the false idea that as Christians we are never to get angry.
Yet the Bible does not teach that we are never to feel anger. Instead it teaches that when we do get angry, we are not to sin, but rather we are to manage or control our anger in the proper way: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Eph. 4:26 kjv).
There was a time when God gave me a real revelation about that Scripture. I had gotten angry at my husband one day as I was about to leave home to go preach. Guilt and condemnation came over me asking, “How can you go out and preach to others after getting angry like that this morning?”
Of course, I was still angry, so that question bothered me. As I began to meditate on it, the Lord revealed to me this verse in Ephesians which says to be angry and sin not.
God caused me to understand that anger is just an emotion. Like all emotions, it was given to us by God Himself for a reason. If we didn't have the capacity to become angry, we would never know when someone else was mistreating us. That's what anger is for. Like pain, it is there to warn us that something is wrong.
As with all emotions, the problem is Satan tries to use and abuse our anger to lead us into sin.
Many times people come to me for counseling, saying, “I have this deep-seated anger inside me.” This anger is often a wound left over from childhood hurts. In that case, the answer is not so much to get rid of the anger, but to get at the root of what is causing it to hang on and cause problems after all these years.
This is part of staying in balance. It is not right to go around feeling angry all the time, any more than it is right to go around feeling pain all the time. But we must remember that we are human beings and are equipped with certain feelings and emotions like anger that were given to us by God for a reason. Our job is not so much to try to get rid of those emotions, but to learn how to manage them.
Another example of emotions is sexual feelings. Imagine for a moment that you are looking through a magazine or a catalog and you spot a photograph of an attractive person of the opposite sex. Suddenly you feel a sexual emotion. Does this mean you are perverted and have something desperately wrong with you? Does it mean you are not really saved — that you don't truly love God or your spouse?
No, it simply means that you are human and subject to all the same emotional feelings and reactions experienced by other human beings. The important thing is how you handle your emotions.
God equips us with all kinds of feelings, including sexual feelings. As Christians, we are not to rid ourselves of those feelings, nor do we need to feel guilty because we have them, but rather we are to learn to vent them properly — in the right way with the right person — with the marriage partner God has given us (the one we love). We are also to learn, with God's help, to keep those feelings under control until we are married.
Romans 6:2 tells us that if we are Christians we have died to sin. It does not tell us that sin is dead! Sin still initially presents itself in the form of temptation and then it becomes a full-blown problem if we give in to the temptation. I recommend reading the sixth chapter of Romans in its entirety. If you do that, you will see that our instruction is to resist sin in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not told that we will never feel, but we are told not to continue offering our bodies as instruments of sin.
It is important to remember that emotions won't disappear and go away. They will always be there. We must not deny their existence or feel guilty because of them. Instead we are to channel them in the right direction. We are to deny the flesh the right to rule us, but we are not to deny that it exists.
As we will see later on, the Bible teaches us to be well-balanced. Often, our problem is that we tend to go from one extreme to another. Either we try not to have any emotions at all, or else we give vent to every emotion we feel whether it is right to do so or not. It seems that the majority of people are either emotional or emotionless. What is really needed is balance — the ability to show emotions when they are positive and helpful, and to control emotions when they are negative and destructive.
When we are angry and frustrated by something in our life, we often take out our anger and frustration on someone else — usually our spouse, children, or someone else with whom we share a close relationship. The problem is not our anger and frustration as much as it
Another example is patience — or the lack of it. In my natural personality, I have a tendency to be very impatient. I want things done. I want them done right. And, I want them done right away. I don't want to have to tell anyone twice — and certainly not three times!
But the more I read about Jesus and His gentleness, humility, kindness, and longsuffering, the more I desire not to be controlled by impatience. So for a long time I have been working with the Holy Spirit to bring that emotion into proper balance.
The main thing is to understand what emotions are and to recognize that we have them because God gave them to us. Then we need to start dealing with them instead of simply venting and consequently feeling guilty and condemned because of them.
We serve a God Who is pleased with whatever effort we, as believers in Jesus Christ, make to move in His direction. God is not hard to please. He does not expect us to be absolutely perfect. He just expects us to keep moving toward Him and believing in Him, letting Him work with us to bring us into conformity to His will and ways.
The message of these pages is simple: There is nothing wrong with emotions, as long as they are kept under control. The Lord led me to write this book to help you learn to manage your emotions.
How Not To Be Led By Your Feelings
There are several definitions of the word “emotions.” According to Webster's dictionary, the root source of this term is the Latin ex-movere, meaning to move away.1
I find that definition very interesting because that is what carnal, uncrucified emotions try to do — to move us to follow them away from or out of the will of God.
In fact, that is Satan's plan for our lives — to get us to live by our carnal feelings so we never walk in the Spirit.
The dictionary also says that emotions are “a complex, usually strong subjective response … involving physiological changes as a preparation for action.”2 That is true. Because of their complexity, emotions are not easy to explain, which sometimes makes dealing with them difficult.
For example, there are times when the Holy Spirit is leading us to do something, and our emotions become involved, so we get all excited about doing it. The emotional support helps us feel that God really does want us to do the thing. We perceive the emotional support to be confirmation of God's will.
At other times, the Lord will move us to do a certain thing, and our emotions will not want anything to do with what God is revealing to us and asking us to do. They give no support at all.
At those times it is harder to obey God. We are very dependent upon emotional support. If we lack understanding about the fickle nature of emotions, Satan can use them — or the lack of them — to keep us out of God's will. I firmly believe that no person will ever walk in God's will and ultimately in victory if he takes counsel with his emotions.
Emotions or God?
The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]... Proverbs 1:5
Because there are times when we are allowed to enjoy our emotions and the support they give us, and there are also times when our emotions work against us, it is often hard to teach people how to know when they are hearing from God and when they are listening to their emotions.
Just because we have a “gooey” feeling we are supposed to give something away does not necessarily mean it is the will of God. I love to give things to people. It is really one of the greatest joys of my life, but I have had to learn that giving to people doesn't always help them. Actually, it can hurt them by hindering what God is trying to do in their life.
If, for example, they are not doing their part to take care of what they have, God may let them remain needy until they learn to take care of what they have. But the person who operates out of emotions will see a need and just be moved to meet it without seeking wisdom.
The Bible teaches us in the very first chapter of Proverbs that we are to operate in wise thoughtfulness. If we don't follow this scriptural advice, we can keep a person from growing up and learning to accept personal responsibility.
The other side of the situation also needs to be considered. There may be someone who is not fully mature in the Lord and has much to learn. He is in need, and his need may be the result of not knowing what to do. God may still lead us to help someone in this state, because we all need encouragement while we are growing in the Lord.
We all make messes in our lives through ignorance of God's ways. Even when we begin to learn His ways, it still takes a lot of time to see all the negative situations in our lives turned into positive ones. We can benefit one another greatly by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading to help in various ways. Just being moved emotionally is not being led by the Holy Spirit. Emotions should always be submitted to wisdom! If wisdom agrees, then we can go forward with our plan.
Here is an example: We all love our children and know how difficult it is to see them do without things they want and need. If we have the ability to provide those things, most of us want to rescue them out of any difficult situation they are in. This may be very good most of the time. It is good to help our children and to let them know that we will be there for them when they need us. However, rescuing them out of every difficult situation may prevent them from growing up. Struggle is part of the process all of us need in order to mature.
In researching material for a seminar a while back, I read that a baby eaglet, while he is still in the egg, develops a tiny sharp tooth on the end of his beak. He uses this tooth to repeatedly hit the shell until it finally cracks open. This process takes a long time and requires a lot of tenacity. Sometimes well-meaning people try to help by breaking open the shell. When that happens, often the eaglet dies.
Like baby eagles, young people need the experience of the struggle to help prepare them for life. We should help our children, but not to the point of hindering their maturity.
An emotional person is someone who is easily affected with or stirred by emotions. It is good to know ourselves and our personalities. Some people are more emotionally led than others, and knowing this can prevent lots of heartache and pain in life.
Even if we do not fall into the category of an “emotional” person, we each have emotions and are in danger of being led by them. We may get up one morning feeling depressed and follow that feeling throughout the day.
The next day, we may wake up angry — feeling like telling somebody off — and that's what we end up doing. Other times, we may wake up feeling sorry for ourselves and sit in a corner crying all day long.
If we allow them to do so, feelings will stir up problems that will cause us to move out of the will of God and into the will of the deceiver, Satan.
I spent many years of my life following how I felt. If I awoke feeling depressed, I was depressed all day. I didn't know at the time that I could resist these emotions. Now I realize I can put on the garment of praise as the Bible teaches in Isaiah 61:3. I can sing or play good Christian music — and in doing so — fight against the negative feeling that desires to control me all day.
We must learn to be aware of our emotions and know how to manage them correctly. One way to do that is by recognizing different personality types and knowing how they react differently to similar situations.
Four Basic Personality Types
Just as it is often said that some personality types are more emotional than others, women are thought to have a stronger tendency toward emotionalism than men. According to a teaching that goes far back into history, there are four basic personality types, each of which has an identifying name.
The first type is called choleric, which happens to be the category into which I fall. Cholerics are born leaders. Their strong personalities want to be in control. One of the strengths of those who have a choleric personality is that they usually get a lot accomplished. One of their weaknesses is th
Cholerics are normally strongly goal-oriented and motivated by new ideas and challenges. When the Lord gives me a project, I get all stirred up about it and rush to my husband, who has a completely different personality from mine.
Dave is part of the group called phlegmatic. Phlegmatics usually show little or no emotion at all. What is interesting is that a choleric often marries a phlegmatic.
In our marriage, our personality differences used to drive us crazy until we saw God's plan in it. Dave is strong in areas where I am weak, and I am strong in areas in which he is weak. I now believe that God brings opposite types together to complement one another, but it took Dave and me a while to learn to accept and operate compatibly with our differences.
To illustrate, I would go to Dave all enthusiastic about something, and his response would be, “We'll see.” At times like that, I just wanted to hit him, until I learned to understand him. I was being emotional, and he was being logical. I was looking at the excitement side, and he was looking at the responsibility side of the issue. I used to yell at him, “Can't you ever get excited about anything?”
We would go into dynamic Charismatic churches, and I would emerge from the service saying, “Wow! Did you feel the presence of God in that place?”
Dave would say, “No, I didn't feel a thing.” He knew God was present, but he was not basing God's presence on his feelings. For a long time, I thought the man was emotionally dead.
Both of us have changed after years of God's working with us, and we are more balanced now. I am not so emotionally driven, and he shows more excitement when I am genuinely excited about something.
Other author's books:
- Eat the Cookie... Buy the ShoesTell Them I Love Them: Receiving a Revelation of God's Love for YouBe Anxious for Nothing: The Art of Casting Your Cares and Resting in GodHow to Succeed at Being Yourself: Finding the Confidence to Fulfill Your DestinyEat the Cookie... Buy the ShoesEat the Cookie...Buy the Shoes: Giving Yourself Permission to Lighten UpEat the Cookie... Buy the ShoesThe Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without FearPrepare to Prosper: Moving From the Land of Lack to the Land of PlentyThe Power of Simple Prayer: How to Talk With God About Everything
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