how to control your emotions {why you CAN keep your emotions in check}

Don't miss the first two posts in this series on learning to control our emotions!

When They're Out of Control

Overcoming Lies with Truth

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Why you CAN keep your emotions in check!

You know those carts at the grocery store that have fancy cars on the front with horns that honk and lights that flash? The ones that are supposed to make your children squeal with delight and help your trip to the store run a bit more smoothly?

I hate them.

Yes, I know hate is a strong word, but I really do hate them. Five times I asked him to get his head back in the cart where it belonged. Five. And five times that shaggy-headed little one stuck it back out and made faces at me while I scowled at him and most likely everyone else around me in the store. I zoomed up and down the isles throwing things in that dreaded car buggy thing so fast people felt my breeze as I went by.

Later, as we drove home, I meted out punishment to the offender—five times writing from 0-100, one for each act of disobedience—and listened to him explode in a teary tirade. A few miles in and he was still sniffling, but the screams had diminished and I felt my opportunity to make sense of the horrible trip had finally come. Here's snapshot of our dialog that day:

The Power of Heaven

learning to control our emotions

"Son, do you remember when God raised Jesus from the dead?"

"Uh-huh."

"How strong do you think God had to be to make that happen?"

"Pretty strong."

"Do you think He had to use a lot of power?"

"Uh-huh."

"You're right, He did. Let me ask you this, son...is it hard to obey?"

"Uh-huh."

"It is, isn't it? I struggle to obey God a lot of the time myself. In fact, did you know you can't really obey God OR mommy by yourself?"

"Uh-huh."

"That's right. No matter how hard you try, you'll never obey perfectly. That's why Jesus had to die. You know all that. But what you might not know, is that God raising Jesus from the dead is just as important as Jesus dying. You know why?"

"Nope..."

"Well, here's why: When we give our hearts to Jesus, tell Him He has the right to our lives, and decide to follow Him, we become children of God. And once we're children of God, we have access to that same big, mighty power of God that raised Jesus from the dead! Know why that's cool?

"Uh-uh"

"It's cool because it makes up for what you can't do on your own! You can't obey on your own. But with God's strength and mighty power working on your behalf, you can. All you have to do is ask."

Sometimes I think we just don't realize what we have access to when we become children of God.

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11 (ESV)

Think you can't choose to believe God's truth about your situation in the midst of heated emotions? Think again.

God's Word says you can. All you have to do is ask for help. And when you make the choice to pause, force your eyes away from your circumstances, and onto Christ, He'll come running with all the power of heaven...that same big, mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead...to help you.

I'm not saying it'll be easy. I've flubbed up opportunities to use the power that's mine in Christ too many times to count. But I've also succeeded a few times. And the taste of victory is sweet enough to make me want to overcome my emotions all the time. Here are a few brief pointers if you're just starting out.

1. Take baby steps.

If you're really struggling with your emotions right now, pray every single day, before your feet hit the floor in the morning and before you fall asleep at night (and let's face it, probably every second of every day) that God will help you recognize the opportunity to take hold of the power to choose well He offers you through Christ.

2. Get in the Word.

Somehow, spending time in God's Word helps us hear His voice more clearly. There's nothing like the conviction of the Holy Spirit at just the right time to keep us from going over the edge. Believe me, I need it like I need a Coke on a bad day.

3. Ask your family, friends, and loved ones to keep you accountable.

My husband and I are doing this for each other right now. He just spent three months off of work after a shoulder surgery right before Christmas, and being together 24/7 really helped us see the worst in each other. I'm glad. Ask someone close to you to call you out when they see your emotions going unchecked.

4. Pray.

I know I already mentioned that, but it's worth repeating. If you need help knowing what to pray, follow the steps in this simple outline for creating and crafting a Scripture-based prayer. It's written as an exercise for moms and their sons, but the process will work for anyone.

Tuesday, I'm going to finish up this little series on learning to overcome our emotions. It'll be my piece de resistance so don't miss it. I'll be giving you practical tools in your arsenal and calling it 25 Scriptures to help fight off the lies! With God's help, and all the power of heaven, we can do this friends. Let's not give up just yet!

Until then, Happy Easter!