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Posted on Apr 11, 2011 in Before Marriage Blog, Literature, Spiritual Life | 0 comments

Managing Emotions

A while back, my mother handed me a book  entitled “Managing Your Emotions” by Joyce Meyer.

My thought as I scanned the cover, “Oh, crap.”

I can only think of one or two times in my life that my mother has handed me a book that wasn’t light Christian fiction.  She must be feeling pretty strongly about my need for the book.  My mother, Miss Never-Get-Too-Upset, handed me a book on managing my emotions…  Yup – “Oh, crap.”

You see, I’d had an emotional episode that wasn’t very pretty.  I was on vacation and I’d literally taken a vacation from everything, getting out of my usual routines.  The result of my little “vacation” was that on the last day, I lost it.  A less-than-ideal situation presented itself and I lost my cool.  The result of my outburst was not good and I was suffering some difficult side effects.  So my sweet, kind, emotionally-stable mother handed me this book.  Scowling, I forced my hand to open, reach out, and allow my fingers to close around it.  I had absolutely no intention of reading it.  None.

As I took the book from my mother, she said the most astounding thing.  Very quietly she whispered, “It helped me.” 

My even-keeled, never-get-too-upset, calm, quiet mother read a book on managing emotions?  And it helped her?  To this day I can’t quite figure out why my mom thought she could use a book on handling her emotions.  She already does that really well.  I’m the one whose emotions tend to have me trying to catch my breath from the roller coaster ride on a pretty regular basis.  Maybe she read it to help her know how to deal with me?

Still, I didn’t open the book.  But February is the darkest, coldest month of the year around here; and my boyfriend was in Central America for over a month.  On the treadmill one day, I finally cracked it open.  I figured I’d be irritated within a few pages and close it right back up, but Joyce surprised me.

What I read there has challenged me in many ways, but one of the most profound things was that my emotions LIE to me.  This concept was new.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that my emotions are how I truly feel and sometimes I can logically override the way I really feel by concentrating on the facts.  Joyce contends that the facts are the truth and our emotions are lies.  Our emotions keep us from recognizing the truth and can send us on that roller coaster ride that tries to override logic.  As obvious as it seems to me now that I’m writing it out and have had time to get used to the idea, when I first read it I was completely stunned.  And yet I knew in my heart that it was true.

Since that time, I’ve been working on controlling my emotions better.  I do a pretty good job, but then every once in a while something happens and they rage out of control again.  It’s terribly embarrassing when it happens.  I’m a passionate person and at times I let the crazies out.

My prayer is that God will continue to shape and mold me into His image and one day I’ll be the kind of person who quietly prays when she’s upset, rather than venting her frustration.  Please, God?  Please.

If we were chatting over a cup of coffee, what would you tell me?

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