A Christian Response to Emotion
I am one emotional chick. I cry easily in sappy movies, I flare up in anger at the drop of a hat (or spilled cup of juice…). You name the emotion, I’ve probably felt it within the past week or so.
This week I’ve been working on my Bible study, and what is it about??? Emotions. Yep. I was curious to see what it had to say… because honestly, not a whole lot I’ve seen has been practical steps in how to respond to emotion in a healthy way. This week changed my perspective.
The author introduced what he calls the “ACTION” response. I don’t know if he made this up, or if he got it from some training he did… but I liked it. This is what he suggested doing in the face of uncontrollable emotion (or, I guess even “controlled” emotion. You don’t have to be throwing plates at a wall to be angry…)
“A” : acknowledge the emotion I’m feeling. ** This is huge for me! One I actually identified some of the emotions that were controlling my mind, I was a little embarrassed!… such small things led to such huge emotional responses… **
“C”: consider why I have the emotion. ** Again, a big deal. Forces me to look back to the source… **
“T”: thank God that he will work in me to help master the emotion. ** Ummm, seriously? Yes. It’s true. It’s hard to be thankful for an emotion like hate or anger or anxiety… but I do believe that even those things that make me feel so awful can be used for good. **
“I”: identify a biblical response. ** This is why I title the post as it is. Is it possible for a non-Christian, or a Christian not walking/talking with God to respond like this??? **
“O”: obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. ** I KNOW it’s not possible for a non-Christian to do this part, since the Holy Spirit has not yet been given to them. I confess it’s hard for me to obey sometimes. I hear… but acting on it can be a challenge with my will (wallowing in my emotion) vs. God’s will (taking care of it, using it for good)
“N”: nurture the appropriate fruit of the Spirit. ** love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. **
So, I like these steps. I like definitive plans, and this is one.
Some quotes that made me think from this week:
Your emotions cause you to act, but you can also act your way into an emotion.
Ummm… yikes. I’ve done that manymany times.
Although emotions are spontaneous, the actions they produce do not have to be.
I have been working on not “reacting” to circumstances the emotional way I would have in the past. It’s a tough road, but one I’ve found rewarding so far, and with the help of these “ACTION” steps, hopefully more successful in the future.
Identifying the underlying cause of an emotion is a big step toward mastering your reaction to that emotion.
So true. I did this with something I’ve been feeling for about the past 2-3 weeks. I realized that the underlying cause had to do with growing up, and feelings of inadequacy then in my childhood/teen years. After recognizing the root of my emotion, I had a choice. Continue in it, or follow the ACTION steps. I chose the latter, and seriously, feel physically lighter to not have that emotional burden anymore.
That’s what I’ve been studying. If anyone has any questions/comments, feel free to type away. This is obviously the condensed version!