Friday, February 5, 2016
Q&A: What do you suggest when my emotions just kind of take over and I feel bad and kind of confused?
QUESTION: What do you suggest when my emotions just kind of take over and I feel kind of bad and kind of confused? I'll try to reassure myself of my salvation and God's Word but sometimes it doesn't work and I'm just stuck in a bad mood.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Recognize that feeling emotionally "blue" is normal. It's very important that you don't attach a meaning to your mood that isn't real. Your mood is not a sign of God's disfavor or of your lack of love or devotion for Him. It's just a blue mood. The Bible calls it being "downcast." And everyone experiences it. So my first suggestion is: give yourself permission to be normal.
2. Be careful not to over-analyze how you're feeling. That can be a huge trap because it causes us to focus on ourselves, and self-focus only worsens depression.
3. Take time to recount your blessings, either in prayer or in writing. Be specific. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for. If you're coming up empty, ask the Lord to awaken your heart to all the good things He has done in your life.
4. Recite the promises of God's Word. Say them S-L-O-W-L-Y while you're getting ready for your day or whenever those feelings arise. And then take a moment to thank God for making such amazing promises to you.
5. Listen to music that is uplifting. Use your radio or phone to play praise music that magnifies and glorifies God. Sing along. This is what the Bible calls a "sacrifice of praise."
6. Finally, do something for someone else. When I'm feeling down the best thing to lift me out of my emotional funk is to extend myself in some way to others. It might be as simple as praying for someone who I know is going through a hard time, or it might be sending a quick note of encouragement. Or it might be looking around to see what needs to be done to help my family.
David was one of many biblical character who struggled with his emotions. When he was down, he would actually speak to his soul (the seat of human emotions) and encourage it to focus on God!
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5-6a (NIV1984)