Burdens and Feelings

Burdens and Feelings

Our feelings can affect our physical health, 
often more than we realize. 
Here’s how to manage your emotions the way 
God intended.

We all know health isn’t just a physical thing. 
God created us as holistic beings with a spirit, 
body and soul. 
But how many of us truly connect the dots 
on a daily basis and realize the direct impact 
our emotions have on our physical health? 
When we aren’t feeling well, often our instinct 
is to relate the problem to a physical illness, 
what we’ve been eating and drinking, or whether 
we’ve been exercising and getting enough rest. 
But sometimes the deeper part of the problem—the 
root of it all—stems from negative emotions that 
we permit into our life.

So while you’re reading this article, I’m going 
to ask you to be honest with yourself about the 
kinds of thoughts and feelings you permit into 
your life. God wants you to feel strong and healthy. 
He also wants you around for the long haul. 
And for many of us, taking better care of ourselves 
emotionally needs to be just as important as 
how we care for our physical needs.

Seeing the Symptoms But Not the Problem

Years ago I became really sick. 
I was dealing with shortness of breath and 
just felt horrible. I couldn’t relax. 
Every muscle in my body felt like it was tied 
in knots, so I went through various rounds of 
medical tests. 
Eventually, the doctors found a tumor on one 
of my adrenal glands and I thought, Aha! 
That’s it! But then they said, 
“Actually, Joyce, this has probably been there all 
your life, and it’s not really doing you any harm.”

Even though it was good news, I was disappointed 
to find out there wasn’t anything physically wrong 
with me that I could blame for how badly I felt. 
It all came down to one thing: 
I was a workaholic, living as if I had no limitations.

We like to think we can handle everything. 
And sure, we can quote Philippians 4:13 all we want: 
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
 But God won’t strengthen us to do something 
that’s not His will for us to do.

When I learned how my emotions were affecting 
my overall health, I was forced to take an honest 
look at the problem. 
I knew if I didn’t learn to control my emotions, 
they’d continue to control me. 
And I couldn’t go on living that way.

Where to Start With Managing Your Emotions

The Bible is filled with Scriptures that warn us 
to guard our hearts against emotions such as fear,
worry, anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, jealousy, 
grief and guilt. 
Yet most of us could name at least one or two 
that we’re struggling with right now. 
Maybe you’ve even been holding on to one of 
these for a long time. Well, now is the time to 
do something about it!

In John 8:31-32, Jesus says: 
“ If you abide in My word ... you are truly My 
disciples. And you will know the Truth, and 
the Truth will set you free” (AMP).

It’s easy to face the truth for or about 
someone else. 
For example, it’s easy for me to spot my husband 
Dave’s problems or my children’s problems. 
It’s more difficult for me to see my own problems, 
which means I have to seek the truth about me. 
And with the help of the Holy Spirit, each of us 
can face the truth, obey God’s Word and make 
positive changes for our own emotional well-being.

Some people pay big money for professional help 
but never find the answers they want to hear. 
I’m convinced this is because many of these 
people don’t really want to be helped; instead, 
they want someone to excuse them from the problem: 
“It’s not you. It’s other people in your life who 
are causing you problems and making you upset.”

I’m not saying that people don’t do things to us 
they shouldn’t do. People hurt us and it’s not right. 
But the bottom line is this: You cannot control 
what everybody else does, but you can control 
your reaction to it.

It’s time to stop letting someone else’s bad 
behavior steal your joy.

It’s Hard to Admit That It’s Us!

I remember when my kids were young. 
I could spend the whole day at home, listening to 
music and singing praise and worship songs. 
But as soon as my kids came home from school, 
somebody would drop their books and somebody else 
would want something to eat, and then maybe they’d 
get in the refrigerator and spill something—and 
I became a totally different person.

I will never forget the time I was under the 
dining room table cleaning up spilled milk when 
the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, 
“You know, Joyce, no matter how big of a fit you have, 
this milk is not going to run back up the table legs 
and into the glass, so you might as well learn how 
to go with the flow.”

At that moment I realized how my emotions and behaviour
were playing right into the devil’s hands.
I decided it would stop right there.

Since then, I’ve spent years studying the topic 
of emotions in depth, and I can share with you 
some good, sound advice to help you overcome 
negative emotions. 
Let’s take a look at three of the biggest: 
anger, guilt and grief.

Anger: Is It Ever OK to Be Angry?

When people mistreat you, it’s not wrong for 
you to feel anger. What’s wrong is to not manage 
the anger. In fact, the Bible tells us to do 
this quickly. Ephesians 4:26 says, 
“When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath 
(your exasperation, your fury or indignation) 
last until the sun goes down.”

The longer you hold on to anger, the more it eats 
away at you.You can try to pretend everything is 
OK for a while, but if you’re really not letting 
go, anger will slowly destroy you.

When you’re upset with someone else, I encourage 
you to ask God to show you how much mercy He gives 
you every day. At times, you’ll need to do that 
over and over again, because even when you’ve 
prayed all the right prayers and said all the 
right things, you can still feel as if there’s 
something missing: What’s wrong with me? 
I’m trying to forgive and I can’t!

We need to understand that forgiveness is not 
a feeling, it’s a decision.

When you make the decision to forgive, pray 
for your enemies and treat them with kindness 
because that’s what God’s Word tells us to do. 
Eventually, God will cause your feelings to 
catch up with your decision to forgive.

Guilt: Getting Back Up After It Gets You Down

Isaiah 53:4-6 says that Jesus not only bore our sins, 
He also washed away our guilt. It’s vital for us 
to understand this, because over time unresolved 
guilt will affect our mental health.

Not long ago I went to a mental institution in 
St. Louis to minister to the patients. 
I saw a woman there whom I’ll never forget. 
She was shuffling along down the hall with a 
big cross around her neck, and she kept muttering 
under her breath, “It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault.”

Jesus washed away our guilt because we were 
not created to carry that kind of burden. 
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, [there is] now 
no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) 
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

If you’re truly sorry in your heart, there is 
no reason for you to shuffle your way through 
life feeling guilty or ashamed. Jesus made a 
way for you to live free from condemnation. 
So if you are struggling in this area and 
frequently battle feelings of guilt, 
I encourage you to let this Scripture sink 
in until you receive true revelation about 
who you are in Christ.

Grief: What Keeps You From Getting on With Life

Grief is another powerful emotion that 
God wants us to learn to release. 
To be clear, there isn’t anything inherently 
wrong with grieving something or someone. 
The problem becomes when we cling to this emotion 
and allow it to control us and prevent us from 
moving into what God has planned for us. 
The key to victory is understanding the difference 
between a normal, balanced grieving process 
and a spirit of grief that will try to attach 
itself to us. One helps us get better with 
the passing of time; the other causes us to 
sink deeper and deeper into the pit of despair. 

In Deuteronomy 34, when Moses died, the people 
were allowed to mourn his death for 30 days. 
Then the instruction came for them to move on. 
God does give us a period of time to work 
through our mourning, but if something or 
someone is gone and you can’t get them back, 
then you have to go on with your life. 
We need to give God a chance to mend our hearts.

Revelation 21:4 says, “God will wipe away every 
tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, 
neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) 
nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions 
and the former order of things have passed away.” 
This Scripture may be referring to our time in heaven, 
but I believe it also applies to today—because as 
we walk in the Spirit, we can experience heaven 
here on earth. That includes allowing the Holy 
Spirit to comfort us in our time of grief, and 
then heal us so we can move on.

Your Emotions and Your Health

One of the most frequently quoted verses in the 
Bible instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all 
your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your way acknowledge Him, and He shall direct 
your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6, NKJV). What many people 
overlook, however, are the following verses connected 
to this passages: “Be not wise in your own eyes; 
reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] 
away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and 
sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones” 
(7-8, AMP, emphasis mine).

God connects our physical health to how we trust, 
acknowledge, revere and worship Him. Think about it: 
Each of those things is intrinsically tied to our 
emotional well-being, and by deciding to do each of 
them—regardless of if we feel like it—we supply 
God-given health to our physical bodies.

The reverse is true, then: When we allow emotions 
such as anger, guilt and grief to dominate our lives, 
our physical bodies are affected. With God’s help, 
however, you can learn to manage these and every 
other negative emotion that comes your way. 
This will take a measure of self-control on your part 
to succeed, because I can assure you there will always 
be things that try your emotions. But in Christ Jesus, 
you have the power to change your response. 

You can rise above your emotions. After all, you 
are not what you feel.

And remember that in good times and in bad, 
it is God’s will for you to be emotionally 
healthy and constantly at peace