Sometimes emotions feel like a powerful force….like a tsunami of emotions that blow over us and consume us in what feels like uncontrollable ways. I believe that our emotions are perfect. God can and does communicate with us by using our emotions. He can tell us about our relationships, situations and surroundings with our emotions. But, because of our past experiences in life, we may interpret our emotions in an inaccurate or incomplete way. In other words, our life experiences get in the way of what God is trying to communicate to us.
If we begin to understand our emotions and follow God’s advice of experiencing our emotions we can begin to interpret our emotional experiences in a more healthy way. We need to begin to identify the emotion. Then, we can CHOOSE an action to that emotion rather than having a REACTION to what is being felt.
To do this…I have come up with a 4 P’s plan of action to help manage and interpret emotions….
1) Pace – often emotions are bound up in a lot of adrenaline and energy. You need to burn this off and reengage the language center in your brain. (The language and processing center of the human brain shuts down when there is a perceived threat to a person’s wellbeing and adrenaline starts to flow.) So Pace – burn off some of that energy. While pacing make sure that you breathe deeply into your diaphragm in a slow and complete way. These two things will help convince your brain that you are not in eminent physical danger and your brain starts being human again and reengages your language/processing center.
2) Pray – now that your language/processing center is reengaged you have words to use and you can pray. You can begin to speak and listen with words and process the language involved, while asking for God’s guidance and direction in regards to what you are to be learning from the emotions that you are experiencing.
3) Process – After prayer, you can now begin to process what you are feeling through the lens of your experiences with God’s guidance. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” “Are these feelings having to do with current situations or is there an element to my past that is clouding my lens?” “In which way do I feel God nudging me?” It may take a number of hours/days/weeks before you feel you’ve completed the processing step.
4) Proceed – When you feel that you have a clearer picture of what your feelings are and what they are trying to tell you, you are now in a position to proceed. You need to choose an ACTION rather than having a REACTION to your feelings. What will you choose to do with the feelings that you are experiencing? What choice will be good and honorable to support your position and lessons learned?
To help you learn and process more about your feelings, think and journal about the following questions.
A) Which feelings do I turn loose? What are my triggers? What am I afraid of if I experience my feelings?
B) What feelings do I deny or stuff away? Aren’t they important? Aren’t they worthy of my time and attention? When I deny my feelings do I ever experience a time in the future when they seem to bubble up and flow out from nowhere spilling out on the people around me?
C) Or do I… bring my emotions to God? Do I talk to God about what I am feeling? Do I ask him what to do with these feelings? Am I honest with him AND myself?