Learning to Control Our Emotions

Sometimes our emotions seem completely unmanageable, as though they possess and imprison us. C&YA leader, Deb Molder, recently took a large group of young women through a biblical study on emotions. The Emotions Study has impacted a lot of people in our church and this post gives Deb as well as others an opportunity to share how God has used it in their lives.

Emotions are a wonderful God-given part of life, UNTIL they begin controlling us or we deny and stuff them away. Then they become very harmful to both our physical and spiritual well-being.  Sometimes my friends have a hard time believing that before I met the Lord Jesus Christ (34 years ago), I had been married several times, was an alcoholic, smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, dabbled in the occult and ran my life completely by my feelings.  At times, back then, I was not only an insecure wreck, but also a raving lunatic!  I’ve still got a long way to go, but Jesus has transformed my life in many ways through the principles of His Word.   

I originally put together the "Dealing with Emotions and Relationships" study in the early 90s to complete a project assignment in KCBT’s Shepherd School of Ministry.  Shortly thereafter I was asked to teach it in a class setting through KCBT’s Counseling Ministry.  It consists of a set of biblical principles that the Lord used in my life to help me learn how to run my emotions through the Word of God and make the Bible (AV1611) the absolute final authority for life (rather than feelings). With emotions being so difficult to balance in our society (especially for us ladies) and relationships being the rails on which God wants us to run ministry, the Lord has been able to use this biblical counseling tool to open many doors in numerous settings. Ways we’ve used it are through a class setting in local churches, in corporate workplace Bible studies, and as a one-on-one counseling tool alongside discipleship. My hope and prayer is to soon complete it in book form.

I recently taught the study on Sunday mornings at MBT to a wide range of ladies both young and old (both spiritually and physically). I asked a few CAYA ladies to give an overview of what they learned.  Here's what they said:

Rachael Ong: “The Emotions Study is like going to the chiropractor for your emotions. Sometimes you don't realize how badly you need an adjustment. In the Emotion Study, you learn to work out the kinks in your life by running them through the Word of God. The class takes a deeper look at issues that really hinder your spiritual growth, such as depression, bitterness, and unforgiveness and then you are given the way to work it out in your life. Deb said at the beginning of the class, ‘This isn't a self-help class, this is a God-help class.’  I personally needed the reminder that Jesus not only cares about the pain and trials of my life but makes a way for me to rise above them and to live a victorious life, which is by having an intimate relationship with Him.”

Jisoo Park: “I have taken the Emotions Study multiple times in the past. So, as Deb went through the lessons, in my mind I was going through ‘check, check, and check’ thinking, ‘I know it and I got it.’ Yup, I know that only God can fill the void in my heart. And, yes, He has filled my void. All I want is to do the will of the Lord! However, toward the end of the first class, God taught me a lesson like a wake-up call. Through the Revelation 19:11-16, Deb explained that when you open the Bible, you enter into a complete different realm. God wants us to experience that as we have quiet time with Him. That's when I realized that I was not meeting God for who He is (our Father in Heaven who is gracious, merciful, and loving), but rather I was meeting God as knowledge, something I can comprehend and be awed by new insight I gain from the study. He showed me my sin so that I could repent my heart.

So, I went home and met with God as a person to have that experience. In this process, I was gaining back my relationship with Him. I saw myself talking to God more, pouring out my heart, and being totally honest with Him. Moreover, He showed me unrepented-of sins, bitterness, that I was running my life with emotions and not His Word. He also allowed suffering and pain in between. As I struggled to surrender all to God and trust Him and His plan, God put this verse in my mind:

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I understand that I will go through pain and suffering, but all I need to do is to DIE to myself (including my emotions) and LIVE by the faith of the Son of God by trusting His plan and not mine. In the end, all things work together for good to them that love God (Rom 8:28). So, why do I worry or feel depressed (or fill in that blank)? Just trust Him!”

Linda Bichage: “I was privileged to be a part of the Emotions Study this past July. It was a refresher for me, since I had previously attended the class back in 2010.  As you will hear often at Midtown, repetition is the price of learning. I was surprised at how new all the material seemed, and was challenged to evaluate how I am presently applying the principles of the Word of God presented in the class.

The first time I went through the material, I had just completed discipleship, but as I often say, I wasn't fully cooked yet. I was dealing with depression and grief.  I had deeper emotional issues that if left unchecked, would hinder my walk with the Lord.

Discipleship helped me to really look at the Word of God for the first time in my life and take it seriously as God's Word to me regarding every aspect of my life. I joined the emotions study right on the heels of completing Directions, and what a blessing that was. It helped me to understand that you have to filter everything, absolutely every thought, through the Word of God.

I remember the shock I felt internally upon realizing that I operated under many lies that essentially formed my outlook on life. On the one hand, I had this set of thoughts about God, about life, about my purpose and so on. On the other hand, here was God's Word, presenting a completely opposing view. The dysfunction in my life was based on believing lies from the world, the flesh, and the devil instead of believing God. The Emotions Study helped me to sort through some of those lies, and presented the cure found in the Word of God. I had to choose God's thoughts above everything else offered to me.

I highly recommend this study to any female at any stage in life. It is one of the tools God used to renew my mind regarding all the specific topics we covered, and to deliver me from debilitating depression. God gave us our emotions; they do not have to be our enemy. He can use them for good if we follow His Word on how to govern them.”

Carolyn Frey: “In the Emotions Study, one of the first subjects we talked about was contentment. In section one, we talked about how there is a void inside each of us; we focused on what we’re trying to satisfy ourselves with. God has provided fulfillment and peace through Jesus Christ our Savior, but is that what I am truly being satisfied by? If everything was taken away from me, would I be content with just Christ? Is He truly on the throne of my heart? Because if He is, I will be content and satisfied with just Him, not controlled by my emotions, seeking something in this world to satisfy me.

Another topic that was encouraging to me was in dealing with fear and anxiety. The Bible says “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). Anxiety for me can be an easy first response when dealing with issues. We talked about how God has freed us from fear and how peace is a choice. (John 14:27). Deb encouraged us to take everything we are worried and burdened by to God and pour it out to Him. I love this reminder that we can be fully confident that God can and desires to take those burdens upon Himself and that we can overcome anything in life when God is our focus and our strength!”

Lexie Balsiger: “The Emotions Study was a blessing to me in many ways, but the main thing I learned is that everything, including my emotions, should be filtered through the Word of God. I have a tendency to act on my emotions, and this study helped me to understand how to put those emotions into perspective using the Bible and prayer instead of acting on what I'm feeling. I especially loved the section on deception because I often feel led astray by both my emotions and my flesh. I learned that by resting in the Word and in prayer, it will be MUCH harder for me to be deceived. Deb also showed me that there is a Bible verse or story for literally everything, which means there's no excuse to not seek the Bible for answers.”

Taylor Hardiman: “The Emotions Study was a huge eye opener for me. I learned that without trusting the Lord and without following Him you lose your joy and fulfillment. Don’t try and fill a void where God should be; just let Him be there. God needs to always be at the center of your life. Find Him before you try and find a husband. Love is of God. The more you love Him, the more you are able to love others. Any emotion will become sin if it’s not under control. God has set boundaries for us as his children. Deal with the emotions inside of those boundaries. The key to getting God’s grace is to humble yourself and to ask God daily for it. What is in your heart will eventually come out. Get the Bible into your thoughts. Who you hang around affects you, so find people who have the same mindset as you. Evil communication corrupts good manners. Always submit to the Lord and trust him for leadership. Unresolved anger can lead to depression. If you are feeling depressed spend more time in the word. Difficulties come one after another to teach you to depend on God and have no confidence in the flesh. God will never fail you. The main thing that has stuck with me the most is to just let go and let God.”

AUDIO LINKS & TOPICS:

Week 1: The Real Problem / Developing Confidence  Security  

Week 2: How to Love & Forgive/Dealing with Anger/ Relationships-The Most Important Commodity

Week 3: Running Emotions Through Biblical Principles/Making God the Center/How to Keep from Being Deceived

Week 4: Depression/Suffering/Developing Positive Attitude/Love, Forgiveness & Fear

Week 5: Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage/ Learning From Failure/ The Joy of the Lord