Tag Archives: Unwanted Feelings

Unwanted Feelings – Part 5

As we conclude this series of articles about dealing with unwanted feelings, I will again remind you of the e-mail that we used to introduce our topic.

I woke up hurting and aching about the adoption this morning, and the feeling never left. Seeking HIM and seeking the peace and clarity that only HE can give.

Could you please pray for me to find my comfort in Christ? And to trust HIM. If you have time, could you please send me a Scripture that brings you comfort in times of loss? I will meditate on it. Amy

If you haven’t been following these Mom’s Corners about negative feelings, I suggest you go back and read the first four articles so that you have the whole picture in your mind before you continue this one.

Choosing Right Thoughts

One mom wrote to share with me something that helps her with unwanted feelings. I wanted to use her exact words as I told you her suggestion, but when I went to retrieve them, I couldn’t find her letter. She explained that she had once heard a speaker say that if you memorize Psalm 103, you will never again experience depression. She had chosen to do that and had discovered incredible victory over her negative feelings that were manifesting themselves in depression.

Even though I can’t vouch for the speaker’s words that if you memorize Psalm 103, you will never have depression again, I thought Psalm 103 would be one I should memorize for my personal use and to share with others. This is especially true because I have had to deal with depression in my past, and I regularly hear from moms who are in the midst of depression. While I am only on verse ten out of the twenty-two verses in my memorization, let me show how this Psalm begins:

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

In reading Psalm 103, we can quickly see that the focus is on the worship of God and gratitude to Him for all He has done for us. When we set our hearts on praise and gratefulness, there isn’t room for the negative feelings to control us.

Physical Components to Emotional Stress

If you are struggling with unwanted feelings on an ongoing basis, I encourage you to evaluate whether there is a physical component to it. How is your diet? Are you consuming white sugar, white flour, and caffeine, or are you eating healthy, nutritious food? What about getting adequate sleep? Are you exercising? Those are areas of your life that you have control over and that you can change so that they do not drive your negative feelings. Perhaps as you get those aspects of your life where they need to be, the feelings will be resolved in the process. It is ultimately possible that the root cause of negative feelings could be a health issue that would be helped by the attention of a medical doctor.

Sometimes we try to justify our negative feelings because we think they are hurting no one but ourselves. However, if we face the truth, we have to realize that those emotions do indeed affect not only our lives but also the lives of others, especially those we love the most, our families. This is easy to see with something like anger because the recipient of anger is likely going to be emotionally hurt by the anger. However, if we give in to worry, that will affect our words, our countenance, our responses, and our interactions with those who are close to us. If we are lonely and begin to feel sorry for ourselves, that will as well reach beyond us to those with whom we live.

Living with Chronic Pain

Let me give you a personal example of this. I have lived with chronic back pain for many years. One day last week, I had my normal back pain plus a new pain that caused me to hurt every time I took a deep breath. I knew this new pain was temporary and would be gone in a day or two, but it still hurt right then. In addition, I had a sort of allergic reaction in my mouth that was causing the roof of my mouth to burn, ache, and itch. That morning a family member shared with me something I had said to them that they felt had an attitude behind it.

Were any of those very big problems? No! However, added together that day, they presented a spiritual battle. Rather than fight the spiritual battle with my thoughts of self-pity, I decided to cry. Here is the outcome of my good cry.

  • Red, puffy eyes
  • A terrible headache
  • A runny nose even after I stopped crying
  • A perpetuation of my self-pity
  • A bleak countenance
  • A concern in the family manifested by them asking me if I was okay
  • An insecurity in one family member indicated by her thinking she was the cause of my crying
  • A sadness that pervaded our home that evening.

As I evaluated that period of crying, I couldn’t figure out one positive benefit that had come from it. All the outcomes were negative. At the moment I chose to cry, I also had the opportunity to choose what I have been encouraging us to do in these articles. Had I done those things, God’s grace would have given me the strength to accept the pain and discouragement and move on with my day.

Remember our key verse from the first article: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17).

We walk in the Spirit by seeking the Lord’s strength in prayer (2 Corinthians 12:9). We do it by taking those negative thoughts captive and bringing them into the obedience of the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5). I could have had a grateful heart thinking about others who have so much more pain than I do (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and then prayed for them rather than feeling sorry for myself. Had I begun to put into my mind the verses that I have memorized, gotten out my notebook of special Bible verses, or opened my Bible to read it, the self-pity would have been neutralized by God’s abundant grace. Even getting up and getting busy would most likely have set me walking in the Spirit rather than fulfilling the lust of my selfish flesh.

By the next morning, I had repented of my negative, self-focused thoughts, asked my family’s forgiveness for how they were affected, and moved on with the Lord Jesus for a new day. I encourage you when you fail to do the same. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Remember that His mercies are new every morning. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

I want to encourage you to deal with your negative feelings rather than succumbing to them or believing yourself to be a victim of them. Not only will you benefit from this change but those around you will benefit as well. My prayer for my life and for yours is that we would continually walk in the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Unwanted Feelings – Part 4

As we continue our discussion of unwanted feelings, I want to share with you a beautiful example of how one mom applied what we have been talking about in this series in her life. But first, I’ll refresh with the e-mail that began these articles:

I woke up hurting and aching about the adoption this morning, and the feeling never left. Seeking HIM and seeking the peace and clarity that only HE can give.

Could you please pray for me to find my comfort in Christ? And to trust HIM. If you have time, could you please send me a Scripture that brings you comfort in times of loss? I will meditate on it. Amy

The first three articles in this series can be found here. If you haven’t read them, you will want to do that to have the complete picture concerning the process of dealing with unwanted feelings.

The following testimony fits well with our introductory e-mail because the events that led up to the testimony involve a difficult pregnancy, pre-term labor, and a premature birth. Read the following as a different Amy, Amy E., shares her heart through this process.

Dear Maxwell Family,

I thank you so much for your prayers on my behalf and for your notes of encouragement!

Back at Christmas time, I began asking the Lord to give me a new “theme” for 2012—a focus for my objectives for the new year. Reading in Genesis, I came across the verse where God said to Abraham, “. . . Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). I meditated on that verse for some time and concluded that while we know that the Lord was about to do a lot of awesome things through Abraham’s life—in this verse, He was ultimately offering HIMSELF to Abraham as the reward in the end. A couple days later, I came to the verse I chose as my theme. It was: “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Genesis 22:12). I concluded that God knows we fear Him when we don’t withhold things from Him. I chose my memory verses for the year based on the things I tend to withhold from God and manage myself, areas where I wasn’t trusting Him.

A week later there was a bend in the road that I hadn’t seen coming, but the Lord had faithfully prepared me to go that way with these verses. It all started the first day in January when I was admitted to the hospital at twenty-three weeks along and discovered that I had no amniotic fluid, increased bleeding, and various other factors. Before long we learned that HUGE numbers of people were praying. It made me wonder what God was going to do that He was getting so many people on board for. Maybe this was going to be a miracle baby?

Over the next two weeks the Lord used my Bible time and a book I was reading to encourage me. Being removed from my normal environment (the hospital was an hour from home), He also gave me the opportunity to “try out” my resolve about not withholding things from Him. I could control nothing that was going on—nothing at home, nothing with the children, nothing with my body—NOTHING! He is so good!

I verbalized to several ladies that came to see me one day that the baby was not the ultimate end. I shared my verses and my belief that the end was the LORD—baby or no baby. He wanted to show me Himself as I had never seen Him before. The book I was reading said that we can’t know Him as the God of victory unless we face a battle. We can’t know Him as the God of all comfort if we don’t experience deep sorrow. Though my hope was that the Lord was going to see this baby through, I did consider that maybe He was going to use the baby to show Himself to me in a different way. Whenever the Lord gets many people involved in a situation, it is so that He can show His power, and that His name would be declared throughout all the earth! I thought surely the Lord is going to show Himself mighty by saving this baby!

That very evening after sharing with my friends, I abruptly went into labor. They moved me to labor and delivery and couldn’t find a heartbeat. The doctor found him in the birth canal (a place they never wanted him to be because he wouldn’t be able to handle delivery being so premature). His heart rate was 40 bpm. They moved me to surgery to have a C-section. He was born bruised and small. His little lungs just weren’t developed enough to breathe yet. They disconnected his tubes and wires and handed him to us. He was beautiful, and he smelled so good! He passed on immediately as we held him. He never opened his eyes in this life; the first face he ever saw was the Lord Jesus!

In summary, while this ending was not what I had in mind, the Lord has not ceased to show Himself mighty! I boast in Him as much as if He had sustained our little one. Words cannot express what the Lord has been to me. I have been under the shadow of His wings. I have found that God has lavished Himself on us exceeding abundantly! Every time a meal walked through our door, I felt as though it was from the Lord Himself. The Lord has shown His love so much through other people’s ovens, letters, phone calls, checkbooks, and especially the Scriptures. It has been exceedingly abundant. He has sent the right words of comfort and encouragement when we needed them. He has reminded us of His love all these days, hour by hour. I have seen His face as never before. I love Him more than I did before. And I am so full of thanks for all He has allowed.

I write this because with so many people praying and knowing that the Lord gets many on board so that they might know His power, I purposed that I would declare to as many as possible that there is truly none like Him in all the earth. We serve a mighty and wonderful God. Though my eyes fill with tears from time to time, and my arms are empty, I can say with a full heart, “Thank You Lord for this experience! I love You all the more because of it!”

I mentioned that I started reading in Genesis back at Christmas. As the Bible goes on, I am now in Exodus soaking in each verse, and I get excited to read, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4). I feel like I’m there in the account with those people, for their God is still working mightily. I have experienced Him. I hope that you will be like Jethro, who after hearing all that the Lord had done in Egypt, rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord, blessed His name, and worshipped.

In Jesus’ precious Name,

Amy E.

I am delighted that I am able to send Amy’s testimony beyond the boundaries that she anticipated it going. I am praying that her words and example will highlight what we have been discussing in these articles concerning negative emotions. Amy sought the Lord in her pain, and she found Him to be sufficient. I believe He is sufficient for each of us in every circumstance that brings unwanted emotions. Amy came through her trauma not overwhelmed by her pain but overjoyed by her Savior. May each of us do the same.

Unwanted Feelings – Part 3

Having lived with anger, anxiety, and depression for several years, I wouldn’t want anyone to be continually experiencing those negative emotions. There are more negative emotions that rob us of the joy we desire to have for ourselves, for our families, and for those with whom we are in contact. Grief is one of those emotions if it is not properly worked through. Grief started out our discussion of dealing with unwanted feelings through this e-mail:

I woke up hurting and aching about the adoption this morning, and the feeling never left. Seeking HIM and seeking the peace and clarity that only HE can give.

Could you please pray for me to find my comfort in Christ? And to trust HIM. If you have time, could you please send me a Scripture that brings you comfort in times of loss? I will meditate on it. Amy

The first two articles in this series can be found here. If you haven’t read those articles, I encourage you to do so because those points are critical to our success. We began with the importance of crying out to the Lord Jesus for His grace and strength in our weakness, including asking others to pray for us. Then we moved into the arena of our thoughts and being thankful rather than focused on what is causing the negative feelings. We also saw the importance of using Scripture to help us.

Let me give you a personal example. Right now I am in the midst of a season of life that is probably very different from most of you, but one you will likely face in the future. I am helping my mom take care of my father, whose health is quickly failing. Each morning I go just around the corner from my house to their house to spend the next half hour getting him out of bed, cleaned up, dressed, and into his recliner chair for breakfast.

As I arrive at their house, I have a choice concerning my thoughts. I can think, “Lord, this is too hard. I don’t want to have to do this. It is depressing to see my dad in this condition.” On the other hand I can have thoughts like the following: “Thank You, Lord, that I live close to my parents, so I can help in their time of need. Lord, help me to lighten their load and make this time a little easier and happier for them. Lord, allow me to show love no matter what task I am faced with doing. Lord, let me never make them feel like a burden. Help me bring a bit of sunshine and joy into their lives this morning with a happy smile and uplifting conversation.”

There is a huge difference in the outcome of those two scenarios but only one difference in what was done. The difference was what I did with my thoughts. Here is a verse I share with you so often in Mom’s Corners. Read it, memorize it, and use it often because it is an integral part of walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

When I allow the “poor me” thoughts, I am giving in to myself—to my flesh. However when I take the thoughts captive and bring them into the captivity of Christ, I gain His grace that allows me to walk in the Spirit and have the fruit of the Spirit that comes with it. This is true for my mornings with my parents, and it is the same for my friend, Amy. As long as she thinks about her loss, how sad it makes her, how devastating it is for her, her empty arms—she simply feels sadder and sadder. However, when she takes the thoughts captive and begins to concentrate on resting in God’s will in her life, trusting her husband’s decisions, thanking God for the children already given to her and other blessings in her life, and rejoicing in the happy reunion with her baby in heaven one day, then the sadness will be replaced by peace and joy.

I would also encourage you to get up and get busy when you have unwanted feelings. If you sit and think about them, they have a way of multiplying and entrenching themselves more firmly. Sometimes that ends up with unwanted actions that accompany the unwanted feelings—an outcome we most certainly would like to avoid. We just finished a series, Lazy to Self-Disciplined on moving from laziness to self-discipline. There will be some good hints if you reread those articles that would motivate you to choose to do something when it would be best for you to be active.

I firmly believe that having a schedule allows us to avoid many unwanted feelings and to deal with the ones that come. The productivity of life with a schedule removes the negative emotions like stress, frustration, and feeling overwhelmed that often arise when we are behind on the tasks that need to be accomplished in our lives. The harmony of sweeter relationships achieved by a family on a schedule, lets us avoid the anger, worry, and bitterness that we feel when our children are bickering, unruly, and disobedient. The direction of a schedule will keep us moving when sadness overwhelms, anxiety consumes, or depression despairs. If you could use help with scheduling, I suggest Managers of Their Homes because in that book, I teach you how to make and utilize a schedule.

I hope that the next time you find yourself flooded with unwanted feelings you will immediately begin to pray. Then take your thoughts captive by being grateful rather than sad, content rather than angry, or trusting rather than worried. Use Scripture to help you with that process. Also do something to take your mind off of what caused the feelings and the feelings themselves. I think you will be very excited! Share your success stories with me. I have a couple of examples I would like to give you next month. Maybe you will have more for me.

Unwanted Feelings – Part 2

Last month we began a series of articles on how to biblically deal with unwanted feelings.

I used part of an e-mail from a friend to kick off our discussion, so I will share that again.

I woke up hurting and aching about the adoption this morning, and the feeling never left. Seeking HIM and seeking the peace and clarity that only HE can give.

Could you please pray for me to find my comfort in Christ? And to trust HIM. If you have time, could you please send me a Scripture that brings you comfort in times of loss? I will meditate on it. Amy

Amy had just learned that a newborn adoption her family had been pursuing wasn’t going to work out, and she was feeling sad. We will all face emotions that are painful, from grieving to loneliness to anxiety. Amy’s sadness wasn’t wrong; it was a normal emotion that comes when there is a loss. However, what she does with that emotion when it arises will most likely determine whether she becomes consumed by her grief or whether she experiences the comfort that the God of all comfort offers her, allowing her to move healthily through her sadness.

As an example, I have interacted with several moms who have lost loved ones, and when they write to me they have become immobilized by their grief. When we give in to self-pity in our sadness, then we are dealing with unwanted feelings. So often we will discover that our unwanted feelings are rooted in our own selfishness. We don’t get what we want. Things don’t go the way we prefer them to go. The children don’t do what we told them to do. Our husbands aren’t communicating the way we would like them to communicate. The foundation of the unwanted feelings is bound up in selfish thoughts that we might not even recognize or be willing to acknowledge.

In February’s article, we evaluated Amy’s cry for prayer support. We learned that when we make such a cry, we are requesting His strength in our weakness and His grace that is sufficient. As we cry out for His mercy, we are taking our focus off ourselves and putting it onto the One Who cares the most for us. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

We also saw that praying with thanksgiving moves our focus off of our pain and onto our blessings: self-thoughts then migrate to grateful thoughts.

The next step in dealing with negative feelings is to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what Amy said she was doing: seeking Him, His peace, and His clarity. For Amy’s need, He is the God of all comfort. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

One clear way we seek the Lord Jesus is by being in His Word. “And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). When we are in His Word on a daily basis, He is growing us, teaching us, comforting us, and nurturing us. In many ways, we are like those newborn babies we love so dearly. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). We have to desire the sincere milk of the Word if we want to grow spiritually.

We are prone, though, to make excuses as to why we aren’t in the Word. It usually has to do with being too busy, too tired, or too forgetful. Yet that busyness, tiredness, and forgetfulness make it all the more imperative that we keep our priorities correct and that we receive the daily spiritual milk and bread that we need to be the spiritual women God wants us to be.

As we are in the Word, we receive His comfort in times of grief, we learn how to deal with loneliness, we become more patient, we discover how to love, and so much more. As all of that is developing in us, the negative feelings will control us less and less. It is truly the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Amy was also seeking the Lord by asking for specific Scripture that would meet the need of her grieving heart. As we find those verses, read them, and even memorize them, we have a powerful tool in our hands for attacking negative feelings, whether they are feelings of grief that want to overwhelm or feelings of anger that want to lash out. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

Here are some verses that Amy could read and even memorize. Consider how they would help to bring comfort to her heart.

“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:20-22)

“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)

“This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” (Psalm 119:50)

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16)

When you have those unwanted negative feelings this month, I challenge you to pray and ask the Lord to take those feelings from you. Turn your thoughts to ones of gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He has placed in your life. I also suggest that you determine right now that you are going to be committed to spending time reading your Bible every day so that you are renewing your mind. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Finally memorize some key verses in the areas where you most frequently have negative feelings so that you have your ammunition available with which to attack those feelings.

Join me next month as we continue our consideration of how to deal with unwanted feelings.

Unwanted Feelings – Part 1

Recently I received an e-mail from a very dear friend. This is what she said:

I woke up hurting and aching about the adoption this morning, and the feeling never left. Seeking HIM and seeking the peace and clarity that only HE can give.

Could you please pray for me to find my comfort in Christ? And to trust HIM. If you have time, could you please send me a Scripture that brings you comfort in times of loss? I will meditate on it. Amy

Amy had good reason to wake up feeling sad. Her family had just found out that an adoption they had longed for and prayed for was not going to happen. They were in the midst of grieving the loss of this little one they had hoped would be theirs to raise.

We have all had feelings to deal with that we haven’t wanted to experience. It might be grief like my friend, but it could be depression, loneliness, anxiety, or anger. What we would prefer is to have the peace, joy, contentment, and comfort that comes from Jesus Christ. That sounds a great deal like the fruit of the Spirit to me. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

We want that fruit of the Spirit controlling our feelings, but how does that happen? “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17).

My friend started in the right place in her desire to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh—by praying and asking for prayer support. What biblical basis do we have for this first step? “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Be careful for nothing means that we aren’t to be anxious, worried, sad, or upset about anything, whether it is an adoption that doesn’t come through, a child who is rebelling, a health obstacle, financial difficulties—the list is endless. Our directive is that we are not to entertain the negative feelings, but rather we are to pray and let God know our requests.

Not only did Amy pray herself, but she asked others to pray for her as well. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). We humble ourselves as we admit our weaknesses and ask for prayer. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). We all need more of God’s grace. It is in our weakness that He is shown to be strong.

Paul was often seen in the New Testament asking for prayer. Here is one example: “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25). Of all Christians, Paul’s spiritual maturity would have indicated that he could have gotten along without prayer. Paul knew, though, that his strength was not his own but his Lord’s. He depended on prayer just like we must.

These powerful verses give us another clue as to how His strength is available in our weakness. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

There is another aspect to our praying, and that is to pray with thanksgiving. We enable great power through gratitude. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is almost impossible to be sad, angry, depressed, or worried when you are being thankful. We recently hosted a young missionary who had just returned from a two-year mission trip to Ghana. He talked about how the Christians in Ghana thank God for things most American Christians never do—things like the air we breath, the sun shining, or the bed they sleep on. He challenged us to do something he had begun doing if he felt discouraged and that was to thank the Lord for five things he had never before thanked the Lord for.

When the challenge was presented, I thought it would be tough to come up with five things for which I hadn’t already thanked the Lord. The very next day I had the opportunity to try it out. Steve and I were both seeing a chiropractor, and I looked forward to our rides to and from the chiropractor together. On this day, Steve had a dental appointment before the chiropractic appointment so we met at the office and drove home separately. On the way home, I was feeling sorry for myself because I was alone without Steve’s company. So I thought, “Okay, Lord, what are five things I can thank You for that I never thanked You for before? Thank You for this street I am driving on right now. Thank You for those who made the road, and thank You for those who maintain it.” Wow, driving home was developing a thankfulness theme in my mind. “Thank You, Lord, for the engineers who designed this car that I can use to move around. Thank You, Lord, for the speed with which a car allows me to accomplish what I need to do away from home. Thank You, Lord, that we have gasoline to power this car.”

Since we will all experience unwanted, negative feelings controlling our thoughts, attitudes, or actions, as Christian women we look to the Word for direction on how to deal with those kinds of feelings. The starting place is going to be prayer. It is the foundation for the fruit of the Spirit that we desire to have ruling in our lives. Not only will we be crying out to the Lord, but we can also ask others to pray for us. Through prayer our weakness is His strength. As we turn our hearts to being thankful, that gratitude will be the bedrock of the peace the Lord Jesus brings to overcome the bad feelings from which we want to be freed. There is more I would like us to consider in overcoming unwanted feelings, so we will continue the discussion next month. P.S. I would really encourage you to read the book, Sweet Journey. It extensively addresses prayer and gives practical ideas to develop this important area of your walk with the Lord Jesus.