Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letting God Direct Our Emotions

Last post we looked at our feelings of anger, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes these can come from physical and health issues and sometimes these are warning signs about our life goals. I've learned if something is causing me a lot of "stress", I might need to back off for a while, put it before God, and then let Him lead me on how to proceed.

Dr. Neil Anderson is a Christian psychologist and counselor; knowing this gives us the understanding on where he is coming from with this information. He has counseled hundreds of people throughout his career and these concepts are good solid psychology, but based on a Biblical perspective.

Anger Signals a Blocked Goal

"When your activity in a relationship or a project results in feelings of anger, it's usually because someone or something has blocked your goal in that endeavor. Any goal which can be blocked by forces you cannot control (other than God) is not a healthy goal, because our success in that arena is out of our hands.
A wife and mother may say, "My goal in life is to have a loving, harmonious, happy family" Who can block that goal? Every person in her family can block her goal-not only can, but will! A wife and mom clinging to the belief that her self-worth is dependent on her family will crash and burn every time her husband or children fail to live up to her image of family harmony. She will probably be a very angry woman, which could drive family members even farther away from her and each other."

OK, my turn now, I'll give you another glimpse into my past life and experiences.

When our younger daughter was in junior high, we had recently left our home church due to a big mess of our very public pastor's making. Sometimes you stay, sometimes you leave. It was a nasty time there with sides being chosen and we just couldn't be a part of it we started church hunting. About that time our younger daughter decided she would leap headlong into rebellion and family discord. (Wow, what a difficult time jr. high can be!) No matter where we went she would decide to "act out". Eye rolling, chair sliding, pouting, mumbling cuss words under her get the picture? oh, it was all such fun. I would come home from church mad and disgusted, not to mention embarrassed and feeling guilty about her behavior. We disciplined her, talked to her, grounded no avail. She was not a happy little church camper.

How did it end? Not well. Her behavior caused us to temporarily give up on church going because it was such a spectacle. Wrong decision...things got worse in our lives, and I'm sure a lot of it was because we didn't keep with it. Now, I know better. I know the enemy was flat out having a hay day with our daughter. I didn't know how to fight for her, I was run over, uninformed, and I let the enemy run rampant in her life, because I was taking all the responsibility for her, not letting God do His capable work. All this caused me deep depression, anxiety, and anger because I saw my daughter and my family suffering the fallout.

In reality, in a Biblical perspective I would have seen fruit if I would have hung in there, realized that as much as I want to, I cannot MAKE anyone love God, seek Him, or have a relationship with Him. I needed to be a steadfast godly mom, pray, trust God for her life and relationship, and then not carry the load of it all. It was a difficult time for our whole family, and I felt helpless. In reality I wasn't. I just needed to turn it over to God and then let Him lead me and her Daddy in discipline and structure for her life. Oh, I prayed, but it was full of desperation, not faith and trust. I felt like her behavior was on me, that I was a bad mom, and that life was going down the proverbial toilet.

Good news is I did finally learn these things. Now, I go to God in prayer for His direction, safety and leading for my family. It takes the load off of me. I turn problems and anxiety over to my Heavenly Father, who loves her far more than I ever could. Thank you God, it's too much for me to carry. She has become a responsible adult, and even though she walked through some really tough times, she knows and loves the Lord with all her heart.

We cannot believe that our self worth and success is based on goals that other people can control. We cannot GET our loved ones saved or "back on track". We can't make other people do the things we want them to do. We can't be in charge of everyone, or even our own family. Free will is a concept that God has been dealing with for eternity. God didn't desire for Adam and Eve to sin and mess up His perfect idea of "family" but they did. He didn't give up. Yes, things changed for mankind but He always has a plan of redemption. So if you feel anger, depression, and anxiety over family matters, know that HE has the plan, and the way to bring it about. Faith for our loved ones eternity is something we can pray for and engage in, but we are not responsible.

This is just one area that my life goal has been frustrated. I could recount a dozen more,  but this one seems to be universal with parenting, and even with a spouse. Prayer is what changes things, not nagging.

Version: NAS

Philippians 4:5-7
5. Let your forbearing [spirit] be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Which reminds me, peace will not come any other way than through Jesus Christ and His control of our lives. I've tried other ways, and they just haven't worked. It's easy to get out of this place of peace when I try to do it all by myself. Just needed to remind myself of this. God is so good and His Word is like water to a parched soul.

Love, In Jesus,


  1. Yes indeed Prayer changes everything, it indeed changed me, the prayer of repentence, amen and amen...Hugs and blessings, Barbara

  2. Wow! I needed to hear that. Having some issues with marriage, and teens. It can be so hard to get out of Gods way and let go a the illusion of having an ounce of control over what other choose to do. Thanks Debra for a dose of reality. God is in Control, Many Blessings, Deborah

  3. Wonderful blog! I benefitted so much from this post. As a mother of three boys who are constantly challenging the boundaries, I need to remember this. I know it in my head, but Satan attacks my thoughts and I so quickly forget what an awesome God I serve. There is NOTHING He cannot make right! Thanks so much for the reminder and the encouragement!

  4. "We cannot believe that our self worth and success is based on goals that other people can control"! I love those words. And thank you for such a thought provoking post this morning!

    Take care, Sue

  5. This is so good...wish I had know more of this back when I was paddling to keep my head above water!! Things are great with me now. While I have a good relationship with my kids, they aren't close to the Lord. They suffered and haven't recovered yet.

  6. THank you so much! Very helpful words for a newlywed! Thank you...dealing w/ a few things and realizing I can't change anyone or make anyone do what I think - or even what God thinks. It is b/t them and God. And prayer is powerful!!!!

  7. Hi Debra,

    Oh wow did I need to read this blog from you today. I have been stressing out over taking care of my Mom everyday. My mom is 90 and I have some physical problems as well and taking care of her everyday is a today!! Not feeling well for me does not help in keeping me from being impatient. I do not direct it towards her but inwardly I get so flusterd.
    I have been praying about this it seems forever
    and I know the Lord does not give us more than we can handle but some days I get so overwhelmed by it all.

    Thank you again for the words of encouragement!!


  8. Debra,
    Thanks for this blog. The part about a mother's goal really struck me. I have an eighteen year old daughter in college who is usually a delight but I can allow her to make me crazy sometimes. I need to realize Jesus is in control and not me the mama.


  9. Hi Debra
    Good post today, when we are going through those especially hard times, it seems one day I will have victory and the next it is a struggle to turn it over so that it gets into my emotions... even though I give it over by chosing to, the feelings are still there and that is what is hard. I try to keep my thoughts corraled and not running ramped. I keep my mind on Jesus and I keep praising and thanking Him. Even though the mess I get myself into is usually because I made the wrong choice-He still can turn it into good and hopefully I can hear what the Lord is saying and teaching me so I don't have to go around this mountain again!
    Blessings to you


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