February 18, 2013

Quiet My Anxious Heart with Unglued Giveaway

Anxiety:   distress or uneasiness of mind, lack of peace

Synonyms:  fear, foreboding,  worry, disquiet

Do these words strike a chord in your heart?

Anxiety is an emotion.  Emotions in and of themselves are  not bad.  In fact,  emotions are a  gift from God.  He gave them so that we can know and experience the fullness of who He created us to be.  

But in this world, we will run smack into  people who bring about  negative emotions.  Emotions like anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger. Over time, if not kept in check, these negative feelings slip into our hearts and minds. They take root and eventually result in dire consequences.

There are times we know exactly what causes negative emotions and other times we cannot figure out why our emotions suddenly start to unravel.

But one thing is certain.  These negative emotions, like anxiety, will come.

The bigger issue is, what do we do with them when they come?

Do we ignore them  and stuff them?

Do  we numb them with food, alcohol, drugs, or other distractions?

Do we express them by erupting in anger and frustration?

Or do we recognize them and do something productive with them?

As a young mother, negative emotions, feelings of anxiety and frustration, consumed my heart and mind.  More often than not,  I expressed my feelings by exploding in anger and frustration.  How I hated myself in the hours following one of my episodes.  I shamed myself and repeatedly told myself that I was a failure as a mother.  I lived with this label for years.  I remember one particular afternoon when my frustration peaked.  What started as a peaceful afternoon ended in complete chaos after my two angelic children arrived home from school.  I could not believe it, but they morphed into horrible creatures before my very eyes!

Creature One, my nine-year-old son, arrived first and put on his favorite show.  About an hour later, Creature Two, my thirteen-year-old daughter, burst through the door, slammed down her backpack and snatched the remote from  Creature One and changed the channel.  Creature One immediately jumped from his seat and grabbed for the remote, demanding, “Give it back.  I was watching that show!”

I am observing this from afar in the kitchen, trying to maintain control.  Creature Two slapped his hand out of the way, yelling some derogatory name, causing Creature One to latch himself onto her arm, grabbing for the remote again.

Anger welling within me, I took a few steps into the family room.

Creature Two yelled, “Your shows are stupid! ”

Creature One countered, “I was watching first!”

The barrage of words and name calling continued.

“You are such a dork!”

” I am not!”

“YES, you are!”

I was on the verge of EXPLODING at this point.

Creature Two proceeded to lift herself off the sofa.  She calmly but confidently walked past Creature One, reached out her hand and flicked him in the head.  Looking quite satisfied, she then looked at me and asked, “What’s for  dinner?”

At the conclusion of my response, I heard Creature One whining from the other room, “Why do we have to have that?  Can’t we go out for dinner?”

That was the last straw!  I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Shut up!” In our house, we forbid these two words, so both creatures came to attention immediately.  I launched into a tirade about their incredible selfishness, explaining how they “made my life  miserable” and informing them that I did not want to see them for the “rest of the night , maybe even the rest of my life.”  I then sent Creature One and Creature Two upstairs crying and whining through their tears, “You are the meanest mom EVER!”

As I heard their doors close, I realized the harshness of my words and the anger with which I had spoken them.  Had I really told my children, my own flesh and blood, that they made my life miserable and that I did not want to be around them ever again?  Yes, I did.  Mommy of the Year, I was not.  Incredulous at how easily I had lost control, I began to weep.

How could this have happened?  What is wrong with me?

Friend, I knew exactly how.  I had not been filling my mind with God’s Truth.  I had been running on my own energy…my own strength…my own wisdom.  I was empty and needed something outside myself to rescue me.

God is our rescuer, sweet friend.  He has given us the gift of  His Word to counteract these negative emotions.  

We need to go to Him BEFORE we get to this place. We need to daily be filling ourselves with Him.  When we do this we will not operate every day in reactionary mode, reacting to circumstances based on negative emotions and how we feel in the moment.  When we live like this, we hurt those around us, most especially the ones we love.

The time we spend with God is paramount in determining the level of peace and contentment in our hearts.

Let me say that again.

The time we spend with God is paramount in determining the level of peace and contentment in our hearts.

When God’s peace and His Word rule our hearts, we will not erupt and explode in emotions.

Friend, God warns in 1 Peter 5:8

…be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

If we stay on alert, we will recognize and capture these negative thoughts, feelings and emotions BEFORE they take hold of us.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Recognizing our thoughts is the first step.

The next step is taking them captive. When we feel those words about to erupt, we must stop them before they pass through our lips.  It takes humility and a great deal of self-control.  But we are not alone in the battle. 

As believers, we have the Spirit of the Living God within us to enable and empower us to do this!

We must ask the Lord each day to help us.  Invite His Holy Spirit to help us recognize the situations that bring about the emotions.

Once we recognize them, the key is learning the truths needed to counteract those emotions.  We must have something with which to replace those exploding emotions.

In my next post I will share  some great Scriptural truths to replace our negative emotions.  For this week, I invite you to spend time evaluating your circumstances and your relationships.  Pay attention to your responses to people. It might  be a spouse, a child, a relative, a friend, a boyfriend, a co-worker, an in-law.  Recognize and note the emotions you are feeling.  Identify why are you feeling them.

Share your thoughts here throughout the week.  And if you have favorite truths that help you in this process, please share them with us!

From the comments left this week, I will give away a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s best-selling book Unglued.  Lysa’s book is a great tool in learning how to reign in negative emotions.

Look forward to hearing from you this week!