Controlling Your Emotional Life

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tommy Newberry, author of The 4:8 Principle and 40 Days to a Joy-filled Life, says to master our emotional life, we must understand 3 simple maxims that explain the mental dynamics of emotional health.

 Law of Attention – Whatever you dwell upon becomes increasingly prominent in our own mind.  You will always feel what you dwell on. We have emotional reactions to what we think. Newberry suggests we often act to chronically share our mistakes, setbacks, and disappointments, and thus accelerate our negative spiral downward. Do you broadcast your negative headlines to everyone you meet? Or do you over share your personal crisis? If so, you may be sabotaging your own joy by dwelling in the negativity of your life. What gets your attention? Do you dwell and broadcast your blessings or curses?

Law of Exchange -  You can do away with a negative thought only when you replace it with a positive thought.  Have you ever tried to block out a thought? Just telling ourselves not to think about something is not effective. If you are upset by someone, you can’t just tell yourself not to be upset and then it will go away. The solution is to shift your attention to something else completely. Thoughts of unhappiness are exchanged for thoughts of gratitude. We can replace thoughts that lead to emotional upheaval with thoughts that lead to peace..

Law of Reversibility – This is your God-installed capability to produce feelings as a result of deliberate behavior. The method for upgrading your emotional life means acting your way into having positive emotional feelings.  Remember:  we’re talking about “emotions,” not health issues, real mental issues. We have been conditioned to believe the emotions should happen naturally. Some believe that if you have to work at emotions, they are not genuine. You may feel like a phony or as if you are lying to yourself when you act better than you actually feel. This is what Newberry says about that – “If you rule out the option of acting into your feelings, you will forever by doomed to enjoy only those positive emotions that arise spontaneously.”

For example, have you ever really dreaded something like exercise or going to lunch with a friend and then began it and found that you enjoyed it? You make yourself do these things and then you find enjoyment. It’s the same principle. What if you never did anything you didn’t “FEEL” like doing? Even the word emotion is 86% motion.

The author of Psalm 43, probably David, is going through a time of turmoil, stress, and personal attacks.

Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.

    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!

David’s life appears out of control and he feels abandoned by God. He has a broken heart and is wandering around in grief. However, he recognizes God as his safe haven and asks God to send his light and truth to guide him. His desire is to worship God at the altar in the temple on Mount Zion. I imagine David wants to take his inner turmoil, his stress, and his emotional upheavals to the altar, for his source of joy is at the altar. David reminds us it is in worshipping God that we experience real joy. Will you take and leave your emotional upheavals at the altar? Or are you tempted to take them but not leave them?

God wants us to give him our emotional stress and leave them with him. He wants to still our spirit and give us hope and peace at the altar. How much will you leave with him?
To hear the one hour audio of my lesson, click here.
Controlling Your Emotional Life






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