Do you ever feel like you’re coming unglued? Like you’re losing it and you can almost see the situation from a distance, knowing you should stop and regroup but you don’t? Your emotions are in control of your brain and they are not slowing down. I’ve never felt like that but I’ve heard about it. Ha! Okay, so I may have experienced this once or twice which is why I was immediately drawn to Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, “Unglued; Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions.”
As with any issue that we are trying to work on in our lives, we can get caught up in the myth of perfectionism and quit before we see any progress. We quit trying at the first sign of failure because we don’t like feeling like a failure. We think, “If I can’t do it right, I’m not going to bother trying.” So if we’re trying to control our tongue and we keep messing up and losing our temper, we may say, “Forget it. I’m just a hot head.” We settle.
But something Lysa says in this book gave me so much hope in dealing not just with my emotions, but with any area of my life that I want to improve. She talks about the idea of imperfect progress. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to be progressing. I struggle with my emotions in spurts. I wouldn’t say it’s a consuming issue for me, but I do struggle with self-discipline daily. In a huge way.
I have totally fallen into the perfection trap. Because I’ve tried to work on this area for so many years I can easily get discouraged and just get to a point where I say, “Forget it, I’ll never conquer this. I’m just a disorganized mess!” But when I view my struggle in light of imperfect progress, I feel encouraged. I can look back and see that I am definitely more self-controlled than I was five years ago. I am making progress. And I will continue to do so.
As I’ve said, emotions aren’t always a struggle for me. But when “Seventeen” and I get into a bad place with each other (she’s my strong-willed one), I can easily fall into a pattern of saying things I don’t want to say. It can get ugly. And then I feel defeated. This was one of those weeks. So when I read the following paragraph in Lysa’s book, it hit home:
“But it’s hard to display self-control when someone else does things out of my control that yank my emotions into a bad place. So, here’s one little tidbit I’m learning. When someone else’s actions or statements threaten to pull me into a bad place, I have a choice. I do. It may not feel like it. In fact, it may feel like I am a slave to my feelings -but I am not. Remember, feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate there is a situation I need to deal with, but they shouldn’t dictate how I react. I have a choice.” –Unglued pg. 72 (emphasis mine)
Wow…what a thought. My feelings should not be allowed to be dictators! I can choose to act in a better way than my emotions would choose. I can choose to stay in control of myself because when I don’t, the enemy wins. I know I don’t win because I feel horrible that I lost my temper and said things I regret. My daughter probably feels the same. So we are letting the enemy win in our relationship and that just can’t go on. 1 Peter 5:8 says,
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
I don’t want to be devoured, do you?
So, I have to be ready with an alternative to spewing whatever my emotions want to say. Lysa suggests putting some Bible verses in the notes section of your cell phone so you can call them up at a moment’s notice. (She’s so smart…how does she know that I’m more likely to do anything if it’s related to my iPhone? :)) That’s my goal for today. I’m going to find some verses that will help me gain control of my emotions in those heated moments and I’m going to put them in my iPhone.
Wanna join me? Leave a comment with the verses you choose. Let’s be self-controlled together, shall we?