1. What are your favorite Scriptures that help you manage your emotions and why?
Joshua 1:9 is my go-to Scripture. " Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
I spent all of my 20s and half of my 30s battling depression from recurrent miscarriage and secondary infertility. Those were some of the darkest days of my life.
It was early summer, 1990-something, when I was asked to volunteer for a Vacation Bible School program. I remember walking into the back of a church hoping no one would notice me.
When the event started, the worship team played a jingle they wrote to help the children memorize their Bible verse. It was Joshua 1:9.
I felt the Lord speak to me in that moment; those were my words to hold tightly. I've never let them go.
2. What are three of your best tips to help others manage their emotions in godly ways?
Recently, I heard author Ann Voskamp say something extremely wise on a podcast interview.
She pointed out that in the word emotion is the word motion, and that motion is meant to move us toward God. Now, that's something to chew on!
Here's the thing: many of us are afraid of emotion because of the temptation it brings to run in the wrong direction, but it doesn't have to be that way.
We are meant to be emotional people. However, we have to carefully weigh our feelings/emotions because they tend to lie if we let them. What we feel must be based on truth.
Here are my three strategies to manage emotions well:
A. Pray and pray a lot.
I realize this might seem cliche,, but I don't believe a person can ever talk to God enough. It doesn't have to be in a formal setting, down on our knees, but it does need to be honest and from the heart.
Whether it's in the car with a bunch of screaming kids or in the shower trying to wash the day away, confide in Jesus what you are feeling and trust Him to give you wisdom in how you are processing emotion. A dose of conviction is healthy.
I always search my own heart first, regardless of the situation. Change begins with me.
B. Challenge negative assumptions with truth.
It's important to recognize that the battle often begins in the mind. It's so easy to open the door to destruction by making negative assumptions in our heads based on how we might be feeling about a specific person or situation.
Don't allow your mind to get the best of you! Challenge those negative assumptions with truth from the Word of God.
C. Let go of fear.
The one command that God gives us most often is "Do not fear." In fact, we can find it somewhere around 365 times in the Bible. That is one reminder for each day of the year.
We must learn that fear can, and will, harm our ability to maintain healthy emotions. We need to ask ourselves when dealing with difficulty or making daily decisions, if we are acting out of fear.
If we are, that will clearly move us in a direction we shouldn't be moving. There's nothing easy about this, but we must take authority over fear.
3. What sabotaging thoughts (lies) do believers need to release that keep them in bondage to negative emotions?
The battle of our minds is relentless if we don't figure out how to let Jesus take over.
In my own life, doubt can be paralyzing. It can overwhelm me to the point of drowning if I allow it. First, we need to realize that on our own we can do nothing, but with Christ we can do all things. He can do the unimaginable.
The unimaginable is taking a person and changing their heart, healing their mind and giving them freedom with no strings attached. That's our Jesus. That is what He does!
And, second, we must have faith in His ability to use us. When we doubt what He can do, we are counting ourselves out.
We often trick ourselves into believing that we are full of faith in Him, but at the same time we don't believe He can use us.
We disguise that thinking under the label of humility, but God is saying, "Hey, before you were born I knew you. I set you apart! I made you for this moment and you need to act on it! NOW!" (Jer. 1:5, author's paraphrase).
We cannot walk in faith and freedom if we doubt His ability to use us for the good of His kingdom. James, the half-brother of Jesus, preaches hard about this.
4. What are some things believers can do at the "moment of decision" when they are tempted to practice destructive behavior when emotionally upset?
Listen, time-outs aren't just for little kids. When temptation comes, take a time out. Think things through; compare your emotions with the truth of God's word and ask yourself if the two match.
The Holy Spirit will always convict. Will you allow yourself to hear His voice? Give yourself a moment to breathe. Remember that you need to move towards God and not away from Him. He will meet you there.
Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge-eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website takebackyourtemple.com. Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.