Painting of a black vase of red peonies and pink foxgloves with blue background

Victory in Our Emotional Lives

Have you ever felt like your own emotions were taking you on a roller coaster ride?  Upbeat and content one moment, then down and blue the next . . . our emotional life can be a real challenge at times.  

For all of you who are women, we have the added component of female hormones that can play a big role in our emotional life.  Some women experience mood swings that are related to their monthly cycles and some women are going through the throes of perimenopause.  It can be a wild ride, I know, I'm currently experiencing the perimenopause portion of life.  

Recently, I've also been experiencing emotional fluctuations due to my own health crisis (was diagnosed with a DVT/blood clot in my leg) that seems to drag on and on with no real help or answers from the medical community.   Just in the past few days I went from feeling completely discouraged about my swollen leg and numb foot, which hinders my ability to walk and get stuff done, to feeling incredibly hopeful and accepting of what I'm experiencing. 

It dawned on me that it might be good to write about some of the things that can contribute to emotional ups and downs because awareness can help us alter the course of our thoughts and our feelings.  

Here are just a few causes of emotional ups and downs:
1.  physical pain - pain can cause sadness, anxiety, discouragement, anger, irritability, grief, and depression.  If you are experiencing chronic pain or even acute pain that seems like there is no end in sight, you may find yourself doing battle with seriously depressing thoughts and feelings.  You might need to seek help from your pastor, a counselor, a medical professional, or a holistic health practitioner to help you gain some understanding into the connection between pain and difficult emotions.

2.  hormonal fluctuations - if you can remember that hormones powerfully affect your brain, your thoughts, and your emotions, you can remind yourself of that when you are tempted to sink into self-pity or lash out in anger.  Knowing it is temporary and that it will pass can help.  

3.  a negative thought life - this type of thinking may have been modeled for you or you may have fallen into some cognitive distortion habits in reaction to hardships in life.  The key is to slow down your thoughts long enough to hear what you are actually saying to yourself about challenges and about your life.  There may be some catastrophizing, some all or nothing thinking (ex. "I'm always a failure at everything,") emotional reasoning, or some should statements ruling your thoughts. 

Capture the thought and hold it up to the light of truth, ask God to replace the lie with the truth and then reframe your thought.  

4.  spiritual attack - 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, "Be sober-minded; watch. Your adversary the devil prowls about as a roaring lion seeking whom to devour, whom you should resist, firm in the faith, knowing the same sufferings to be accomplished in your brotherhood throughout the world."   
Recognize that Satan wants to frustrate your plans to serve the Kingdom of God. 

 If you have any sort of desire to obey God and follow His will for your life, don't forget that Satan will oppose you.  He loves to get his foot in the door of your mind whenever things go wrong and cause you to believe lies.  Stay in God's Word and stand strong against the enemy by quoting Scripture or singing praise and worship songs.

There are plenty more reasons for emotional ups and downs, but this is a good list to get us started.  For all of these reasons, the very first line of "treatment" should be calling out for Jesus Christ's help.  He can come into your emotional life and soothe you, give you Truths to stand upon, and lift you up out of the spiritual bog of discouragement.  

Regardless of what your emotions are doing, here is one Truth you can count on:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6

Here's To Getting Victory in Our Emotional Lives,

Sherry Joy Collier, Artist and Therapist at The Praying Heart Art Studio  

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