Red-faced, I clenched my teeth while furiously clicking from one menu item to another on my computer screen, determined to correct the problem with my post. Only the second original post on my new blog site and its link was broken. I’d spent most of the afternoon trying to correct it.
Frustration reigned supreme.
After a long month of designing, reading “how-to” pieces, and trials and errors, I finally had a satisfactory new site up, only to have it fail now.
“Mom, is it that important?” ventured my college son, recently home on break.
Important … Important! Only everyone will be judging my abilities as an encourager based on having this post up. Followers may become frustrated and leave. That will reduce my platform. Then no agents or publishers will look at my work. And I’ve wasted so much time and money attending writers conferences and promoting my work for nothing. *breathe*
That’s the tirade I wanted to say. Instead I hissed an emphatic “Yes, it is!” as I continued to pound out possible solutions. Hot tears spilled down my cheeks as I mumbled to myself about the unfairness of the situation and how I was so ill-equipped for this endeavor and how my much-more tech-savvy son was doing his own thing instead of helping me.
Eventually, a fix presented itself. The emotionally charged situation waned.
My ever astute and understanding boy began again, “Mom, you understand you were crying over a comp…?”
Yes, son, a computer. But it was important…
I wish I could say this was a rare scene for me—this losing control over “important,” but not that important, matters. Sadly, it is not. I am the type of person whose emotions live very close to the surface—it seems at times my highs and lows can occupy the same minute.
In fact, I don’t have to think very hard to remember additional instances when my feelings dictated my reaction. When I responded in a much stronger way than the situation demanded.
- Children not moved by my bed-time prompts.
- Husband leaving his clothes laying around.
- A word I perceived negatively.
- A situation I thought might go badly.
These emotionally charged moments take me hostage and replace me with an embarrassing, out-of-control impostor. Someone I’m not proud to claim.
It’s not the emotions themselves that are bad. We needn’t fear or shy away from them. After all, God made us feeling individuals.
But when we let our emotions dictate our actions, they take on an errant role. Feelings are meant to enrich our lives, not control them.
There are steps we can take to harness our emotions—things we can do to make them work for us. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Delve into Scripture and pray. Let God take over our reactions.
- Seek perspective. It is wise to seek counsel from someone removed from the feelings of the situation.
- Understand the “trigger” points to our more out-of-control reactions. This allows us to reduce out exposure to them.
- Understand how you react is a choice.
I’ve been working on incorporating these and other tools and techniques into my days. And although, it’ll never happen perfectly, I can make the choices necessary to reduce the times when my feelings run-a-muck.
You can too.
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:26)
Lysa Terkeurst writes openly about her struggle in this area of runaway feelings in her New York Times bestseller, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions. Her wisdom and insight will guide you to a richer life where your emotions work for you instead of dictating your course.
For that reason, I am excited to be sponsoring this Giveaway of a paperback copy of Unglued. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions for multiple chances to win. The Giveaway will end Sunday night at midnight.
Q4U: Which emotion(s) do you struggle with most? How can you shape your reactions to it/them?