In response to my previous post, a friend asks if I have any tips for keeping on track with this attitude. Wow. Wish I had already arrived. Matthew 7:14 tells us we're not alone in our struggle:
...the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.Here is a Top Ten list of reminders that can help keep my emotions in check:
1. Feelings change on a dime. And whatever situation I am in, it is not permanent. It will pass.
2. Feelings are frequently not based in fact. I often make incorrect assumptions. In relationships, I can’t judge another person’s real motives (sometimes even they don’t know why they do what they do). I am learning to try to believe the best of people and seek to understand what pain may be driving their actions.
3. God is in charge. He is with me in every circumstance. Nothing that happens to me is outside his will. He can redeem any situation for good and for his glory. I need to look for him in it, trust him in it, even when it appears to be catastrophic.
4. I do not have to control, dominate, or have it my way. If I can let go of my demand for a specific outcome, I can relax into the variety of possibilities and face life with expectancy rather than rigid expectations. Leave room for pleasant surprises.
5. Just because a thought is in my head, doesn’t mean it’s mine. I do not have to accept or act upon whatever I think.
6. What I’m feeling can sometimes be the power of suggestion from satan and his minions. The enemy of our souls is the Accuser, the Destroyer, the one who devours, the Prince of Darkness. 2 Cor. 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
7. God’s word is the thermostat for my emotions. When I set my life according to the “Word of Life” (ie. study the Bible, spend time in prayer) I’m less likely to get too hot (headed) or too cold (hearted) in my thinking about myself, my relationship with others, or in response to my circumstances.
8. My feelings are not more important than God’s truth. I must choose to believe what God says about me: that I am beloved, accepted, forgiven, redeemed, holy, righteous in Christ, that I am a new creation.
9. I cannot allow my feelings to control my actions. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and love and self-discipline. When I am afraid, I trust in Him. This takes practice, practice, practice.
10. Find one thing in the situation for which I can be grateful. Then look for another. Eph. 5:20: “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This isn’t pie-in-the-sky positive thinking, this is simple gratitude: learning to have eyes to SEE the blessings all around.