Emotions are a natural part of our human makeup. People, particularly women, can experience a variety of emotions in one day. From elation to depression, our emotions can take us on a wild roller coaster ride through life if we do not find ways to manage them.
Types of Emotions
Although human beings can experience a wide variety of feelings, some of the most basic types of emotions are happiness, sadness, pride, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, excitement, shame, and embarrassment. The Bible even speaks of people’s various feelings. Scripture never promotes suppressing emotions and refusing to deal with them, but we must learn to control them with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Happiness is seen as a positive emotion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being happy. The problem comes when I expect other people to do for me what only God can do. What I am about to state is certainly not popular, but the Lord never promised that we would always be happy. He did, however, promise that we could have joy.
What is the difference between joy and happiness? Although the two words are used interchangeably, happiness often depends upon circumstances while joy goes much deeper. The joy we experience from God is a part of the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, joy is the result of having the Holy Spirit (given to us at salvation). Happiness can only take me so far, but joy gets me through all circumstances, good or bad.
Fear and anger are considered to be negative emotions. A healthy fear, such as being afraid to walk out in front of a moving vehicle, is not negative. It is needful, but a terrifying fear, such as always fearing the future, is not of God. In fact, His word teaches us to overcome such fears (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18). Anger is not always negative. There are times when we need to have anger in order to act; however, anger that is not dealt with properly is dangerous and leads to other sins. Anger is another emotion that the Bible teaches us to control (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26-27, and Proverbs 29:11)
Emotions Out of Control
I must admit that I have days when I am easily angered, or, my feelings are hurt very easily. Sometimes, there can be physical explanations such as lack of sleep or hormonal imbalance. Other times, out-of-control emotions can be a symptom of something that is lacking spiritually.
Earlier, I stated that people often expect others in their lives to make them happy. I have made the mistake of placing responsibility for my emotional well-being in the hands of my husband, children, friends, or family. I am certainly not saying that the people in my life do not want me to be happy, but I am saying that it is not their responsibility to manage my emotions. The responsibility is mine, and the only way I can assume it is to go to God for emotional healing when my feelings seem to be wreaking havoc.
Once you let others off the hook for your emotional stability, and you give this to the Lord, you will begin to see more balanced emotions displayed. The things that used to irritate you or hurt your feelings will not have as much power over you.
When negative emotions arise, as they often do, you should not suppress them; however, you should not give full vent to them either. First, go to the Lord in prayer about them. He is neither surprised nor perplexed by your emotions. Next, find a trusted friend with which to speak. Ask other believers for prayer.
Most of all, you need to spend time with God on a daily basis, both in prayer and in His word. I realize I sound bossy, but, trust me, I have had loads of experience in the emotional realm. Unfortunately, I have given full vent to my emotions which have never brought about good results. Thankfully, there are also times I take them to God and ask for His intervention. The latter choice is always best.
As I mentioned earlier, happiness is a wonderful emotion, but if I believe I must always be on an emotional high, I will eventually bottom out to depression. Emotions must be stabilized and balanced so as to avoid either extreme on the pendulum swing. I am not suggesting that managing emotions is an easy feat. I know better, but I also know that nothing is impossible with God. He gives us grace for all areas of our lives, including our feelings.