Peninsula Community Church
Body, Soul, Spirit – Dealing with the Feeling, Part 2
April 6, 2014
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
I must admit that some of what I will share, today, is a direct result of listening to a message presented by Rick Warren entitled, “Transformed: How to Deal with How you Feel.” For our purposes today, I will be using a brief part of the message. While I will be using his skeleton, I have added my skin and tissue to the skeleton.
In Rick’s study, he suggested three ways for us to deal with our emotions and our feelings.
The first way he suggested that we deal with our emotions is to name it. To manage our emotions, we must come to an understanding of the specific emotions we are expressing or experiencing. To manage our emotions, we must identify what they are, because we cannot deal with vague emotions. You see, if we do not know what emotions we are dealing with, we cannot change them. Remember the warning light illustration from last week. If we do not do the diagnostics, we will never know what needs to be repaired. We can spend a lot of time, energy, and money to attempt to repair things that are not broken. We can also deal with the surface issues and never get down to the real issues affecting us. Let me also make this observation, we must be careful and not make up emotions or misdiagnose our emotions, because we can only have healing when we deal in truth and reality.
When identifying our emotions, we all tend to fall into one of three scenarios. For some of us, identifying our emotions is not an issue. There are some of us that have the ability to immediately we with your feelings. It is noteworthy here that most women fall into this category, as they have the ability to immediately name and identify the emotions they are feeling.
A second group are those of us who know they have feelings and emotions but find it difficult to identify what they are feeling. We try to, but it requires great effort to understand what emotions are being exhibited. It is noteworthy that men tend to fall into this category most often. Men as a whole are less likely to immediately identify their feelings. The problem is that too often men are told to be emotionless. You know the saying, “Real men don’t cry!”
A third group would be the deniers. This group denies that their emotions exist, and therefore they tend to never deal with the emotions effecting them. There is a difference between not knowing your emotions and denying they exist. For those that deny their emotions, they live under the false illusion that if they don’t admit or discuss their emotions, then they do not exist. If they are ignored long enough, they will go away and or they will change on their own. While this may be true for a season, this rarely works for the long haul, as these emotions often resurface in other ways.
When naming our emotions we should ask a couple of questions. The first question to be asked is “What am I feeling?” Be honest in your evaluation. This may require you to make a list of the emotions you are walking through. The second question is “What are my triggers?” What causes the emotion(s) that you experience to happen in you? Once again be honest. Remember the emotion experienced is not always the problem.
A second way to deal with our emotions is to challenge our emotions. In other words, do not just simply accept your emotions for what they are. Understand that there is more to the emotion than what is expressed. The Psalmist said it this way in Psalm 26:2. Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. We are called to examine our emotions by way of God’s inspection of who we are. We are His and we are in Him. He can and will assist us as noted in our text, today.
When expressing an emotion, we can ask the following. Why do I feel the way I do? Am I wounded or hurt? Am I walking in sin or unforgiveness? We can also ask “Is what I am feeling true?” Are the feelings I am expressing based in truth and is it an honest appraisal of who I am? Notice, I did not say to ask if they are real because if you are experiencing the emotion then it is real for you. That is the reason why we cannot say to someone “Don’t feel that way.” That is like saying don’t feel hungry. Finally, we can ask “Is this helping me or hurting me?” What benefit am I receiving from allowing this emotion to run my life in this moment?
A third way to deal with our emotions is to tame it or change it. To change our emotions we must master our moods. As believers, we can turn to the admonishment Paul made to the church at Philippi. Paul’s challenged the church to have the mind of Christ.
Paul stated, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:4B-8). Then again Paul admonishes us to Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 2:3-4).
“What kind of mind do you have?” “Do you have the mind of Christ?”
We have noted before that our body, soul, and spirit are not independent parts, but they are interconnected as a whole. What we do with our bodies affects our minds. What we do with our thought life affects our heart. What we allow to brood in our hearts affects our thoughts and our actions. We are a complete whole. This is the reason that we are called to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 5:22). The sum total of who we are is greater than the individual parts that make us who we are.
When we are experiencing painful emotions, we can and must channel that emotion to help others and to have a positive outcome. You see anger is not a sin. In fact, the Bible reminds us to Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27). So what do we do with our anger? Do we allow it to give opportunity to the devil to control us, or do we channel the anger to be a blessing to others? It is a choice we must make.
This can be done only as we surrender our lives to Christ and as we seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:30-32).
In preparation for this message I came across a video that I believe illustrates this idea. Watch this video clip with me…. Afterwards I will tell you the rest of the story.
We see in this clip a young boy who is filled with uncontrolled anger. We see him however, bringing this anger issue to God, who transforms his life. Who is this young boy, It is Dr. Ben Carson. You see, from that day forward Dr. Carson took control of his anger and the pain he was exhibiting to become one of the world’s finest surgeons ever to live. The difference is that he controlled his anger and he channeled it to his advantage. The outcome could have been much different. If he allowed his anger to continue to control him, he anger could have destroyed him, instead he used it to heal.
We have talked a lot about anger, but the issue could be any emotion that rises up within us. So what emotions are you experiencing? Are there emotions that are controlling your life? Are there emotions that you need to recognize and then deal with so that they no longer control your life? It is your choice. The Spirit is ready to meet you right where you are. Change is possible. Reach out to God as Dr. Ben Carson did. It will change your life.
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