For several days I had been struggling. Basically I was losing the war going on in my mind. Plagued by negative thoughts and bombarded by the issues of life I was an emotional wreck. Emotions all over the map. Fleeting moments of happiness and long hours of hopelessness. I felt like what is the point? I’m not making any forward progress and if I look closely I may be slipping into an abyss.
In my mind I made a list of all the things that were making me feel like I am going nowhere fast.
My list included things like:
• I am glad to be working but don’t like my job.
• I’m tired of coming home to an empty house and spending another night alone.
• I’m tired of feeling like there is no light at the end of this tunnel I am in.
• I’m tired of being misunderstood.
• I’m tired of my weaknesses.
• I’m tired of going around this same mountain over and over again and I’m not even sure what the mountain is.
• I wonder if my situation is the consequence of my bad choices, and if it is will God ever allow me to escape?
• Will I ever be the confident, consistent empowered believer I want to be?
• How will I get through the next moment?
• I am tired of the day to day routine.
These thoughts just kept coming and coming. Like a machine gun one after the other.
And then there’s the stuff that just popped up…regular life stuff. Like traffic tickets, sales quotas at work, unexpected home repairs, car issues, unexpected bills, drama in the lives of others that they want to share with me, people that want me to be strong for them when I can barely stand myself.
OK that’s it, I’ve had it. I’m about to crack I cannot bear just one more pressure.
Stop the train I want off. I wanna take my ball and go home I do not want to play anymore.
Now I know you probably think ok, you are only pointing out the negatives, why not list the positive things about your life like
You have a great church
You have friends that love you
You have a God that is bigger than all those things you mentioned who has a plan for you.
Have you ever been so weak that you can’t even muster the strength to believe?
Have you ever been on such an emotional roller coaster that you need God to say peace be still so you can get it together long enough to function?
I found myself doing just that at work. I had to leave my desk, go to the bathroom and pray. I prayed, God please help me, please help me keep it together long enough to get through the workday.
So that’s where I was.
And oh by the way I have to teach a bible study?
So I asked God what do I do? How can I reel it back in and see what the point of all this is and move forward?
The first thing God showed me was that I have to control my emotions. I cannot let them control me.
So how do I do that?
Emotions are that part of us that includes the mind and the will.
Emotions are tied to what we think or perceive to be true. It’s not necessarily what is actually true. When we are genuinely hurt or perceive to be hurt we are angry. Anger is an emotion. Just like happiness is an emotion. When something is genuinely good or we perceive it to be good we feel happy.
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say there is a man who is cheating on his wife. This same man sees his wife at lunch with a man just the two of them laughing and smiling. Because he has in his heart to cheat, he believes she is cheating too. The reality is she is just having lunch with her boss.
He becomes angry, but his anger is based on perceived truth not actual truth. The actual truth is the boss took her out to lunch alone to tell her she was going to get a promotion prior to the announcement at work. No cheating involved.
That’s the example God gave me on how I have to evaluate my emotions. To either choose to embrace them or reject them, I have to know whether they are based on actual truth or perceived truth.
If we can agree that what is absolute truth is God’s word, the answer becomes clearer.
The bible clearly says I can choose what I think…
In Philippians 4:8 states this is true. This verse instructs me to think on specific things. If I can do that then it means I am capable of choosing my thoughts. Or at least the ones I let marinate.
So if we look back at the list of things I was allowing to torment me…what is the absolute truth about each of those…God gave me a scripture for each.
• I am glad to be working but don’t like my job. Psalms 75:6-7 Promotion comes from God…I will move in His timing.
• I’m tired of coming home to an empty house and spending another night alone. Proverbs 18:24 ..I need to be proactive in developing friendships and be more friendly.
• I’m tired of feeling like there is no light at the end of this tunnel I am in. Jeremiah 29:11…God knows the end and it is good.
• I’m tired of being misunderstood. Jeremiah 1:5..God knows and understands me when no one else does.
• I’m tired of my weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:9..God’s grace is sufficient for me.
• I’m tired of going around this same mountain over and over again and I’m not even sure what the mountain is. Proverbs 3:5-6 ..God will direct my path if I look to Him and follow.
• I wonder if my situation is the consequence of my bad choices, and if it is will God ever allow me to escape? Psalm 107:17-21…even if I got here through my own foolishness God will deliver me…Praise Him.
• Will I ever be the confident, consistent empowered believer I want to be? Philippians 1:6…God will finish His work in me if I will let Him.
• How will I get through the next moment? Hebrews 4:15-16 ..If I ask Him He will help because He understands and wants me to ask for help.
• I am tired of the day to day routine. Galatians 6:9 ..If I hold on, I will reap something good.
God showed me in all this if I can renew my mind to the absolute truth I can win this war in my mind and in my emotions. The enemy always wants me to think that what is now is what will always be. He wants me to think whatever is true in the moment will last the rest of my life. The bible tells me in this life there will be trouble for sure, but God has a plan always and whatever is in the moment does not have to define the outcome unless I and He allow it. That means I can have hope.
Hope is what I needed all along. Hope that all that stuff was not the end of the line for me. Hope that change would come and that change would be good. With God, what other outcome is possible?
Yep, reading my bible and applying the truth to my thoughts helped me. Truth stopped the madness and stopped the freakouts.