Controlling Emotions is Not Spiritual

Suppression of what we feel is detrimental and cripples us in our walk.

Key Concepts

 

  • We cannot live in this fallen world and escape the inevitable infection of lie-based thinking.
  • Suppression of what we feel is not a strength and is detrimental and spiritually cripples us.
  • God wants us to feel anxious, worried, fearful, overwhelmed, etc. when we are believing a lie.
  • God does not want you to live in your lie-based emotional pain, but He does want you to use it to identify your lie-based thinking.
  • If we choose to make our situation, other people, the devil, or even God the reason we feel what we are feeling, then there is no hope for freedom.
  • If others or our situation is the reason we feel what we feel then we cannot feel differently unless they change.
  • Negative emotion is not a problem to overcome, deny or suppress, or even a sign of weakness, but rather it is a warning signal designed by God, to let us know when we are believing something that is untrue.
Do you know anyone who walks continually in perfect peace? Probably not. It seems evident that everyone experiences different measures of negative feelings from time to time. We cannot live in this fallen world and escape the inevitable infection of lie-based thinking which is at the root of nearly all of the negative emotions we feel.

Everyone has been infected. What we feel in any given moment is a dead giveaway of this reality. Nevertheless, there are some people who say that they are in control of what they feel and do not allow themselves to feel negative feelings. This is “emotional constipation” and is not an indication of maturity or spirituality. Not feeling something is evidence of suppression. Suppression of our feelings provide no benefit. We are called to let the “… peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts…” (Col. 3:15) but, being “numbed out” and not feeling what we actually feel, is not the same thing as having genuine peace.

 

Suppression of what we feel is detrimental and cripples us in our walk.

Unfortunately, the church at large is notorious for awarding people a “badge of honor” for being able to control their emotions and maintain some level of suppression. Futile attempts at controlling bad feelings and mustering up the “joy of the Lord” is common. Have you ever been to a funeral and heard someone say, concerning another person’s controlled suppression, “He was so strong. He never lost it.” Holding back your tears of grief is not strength, but rather stifling a God designed and expected response to a loss. As the writer of Proverbs stated, “there is a time for weeping…” (Ecc. 3:4).

Suppressing the negative feelings we feel and trying to make ourselves feel something positive has never been successful and never will.  Suppressing the lie-based pain we feel is denying the very purpose that God created emotion to serve. As strange as it may seem, God wants us to feel anxious, worried, fearful, overwhelmed, etc. when we are believing a lie. At the same time, He does not want us to live in our lie-based emotional pain, but He does want us to take notice when it is present and use it to identify our lie-based thinking. He designed us to feel whatever we believe whether it be the truth or a lie. The emotion is not the problem. The emotion is the indicator of the problem; what we believe. We feel whatever we believe because God designed it that way. There is no work around. However, this is good when what we believe is the truth.

This means that whenever something happens in our lives and we feel some measure of negative emotion, we have been exposed in our belief. There is no excuse that has merit to explain away why we are feeling what we are feeling other than our belief. If we choose to make our situation, other people, the devil, or even God the reason we feel what we are feeling, then there is no hope for freedom. If others or our situation is the reason we feel what we feel then we cannot feel differently unless they decide to change or stop doing whatever they are doing. There is no freedom in this.

So rather than looking for a way to suppress what we feel, or blaming others for our emotional status, we must re-examine and re-frame our view of emotional pain. The negative emotion we feel is not a problem to overcome, deny or suppress, or even a sign of weakness, but rather it is a warning signal designed by God, to let us know when we are believing something that is untrue. When we view pain in this fashion, there is hope for freedom and it is within our reach.

 

Unfortunately, the church at large is notorious for awarding people a “badge of honor” for being able to control their emotions and maintain some level of suppression. Futile attempts in controlling bad feelings and mustering up the “joy of the Lord” is common. Nevertheless, we give it our best effort. Have you ever been to a funeral and heard someone say, concerning another person’s controlled suppression, “He was so strong. He never lost it.” Holding back your tears of grief is not strength, but rather stifling a God designed and expected response to a loss. As the writer of Proverbs stated, “there is a time for weeping…” (Ecc. 3:4). Controlling our painful emotions and trying to create positive ones, has never worked and never will. The whole idea of “acting your way into a new way of feeling” may sound good, but its success rate is dismal.

Attempting to suppress our lie-based pain is denying the very purpose that God created emotion to serve. As strange as it may seem, God wants you to feel anxious, worried, fearful, overwhelmed, etc. when you are believing a lie. At the same time, He does not want you to live in your lie-based emotional pain, but He does want you to take notice when it is present and use it to identify your lie-based thinking. He designed you to feel whatever you believe whether it be the truth or a lie. The emotion is not the problem. The emotion is the indicator of the problem; what you believe.

This means that whenever something happens in our lives and we feel some measure of negative emotion, we have been exposed in our belief. There is no excuse that has merit to explain away why we are feeling what we are feeling other than our belief. If we choose to make our situation, other people, the devil, or even God the reason we feel what we are feeling, then there is no hope for freedom. If others or our situation is the reason we feel what we feel then we cannot feel differently unless they decide to change or stop doing whatever they are doing. There is no freedom in this.

So rather than looking for a way to suppress what we feel, or blaming others for our emotional status, we must re-examine and re-frame our view of emotional pain. The negative emotion we feel is not a problem to overcome, deny or suppress, or even a sign of weakness, but rather it is a warning signal designed by God, to let us know when we are believing something that is untrue. When we view pain in this fashion, there is hope for freedom and it is within our reach.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email