Overcoming Painful Emotions

It’s More Than Just “Getting Over It”

Woman experiencing emotional healingDealing with painful emotions can be the most difficult challenge we face in our healing journey.  Simply “getting over them” (as some may have told us to do) is difficult, if not impossible.  True Christ-centered healing begins with learning how to stabilize our emotions and submitting them to the Lord, that He might bring us comfort, healing, and wisdom.

  • Remember that emotions are indicators, not facts. Emotions reflect what is happening in our heart.  They should not be ignored, nor should they be taken as factual truth.  Understanding they are essentially a response and not the actual problem can help us put things in proper perspective.  People who try to repress and deny emotions wind up with bigger problems.  However, as we move through our emotions and accept the underlying event as it is, we give ourselves the chance to continue living an emotionally healthy life.  We can reflect on the realities of what occurred and find hope in what we have learned.  If we continually focus on the negative emotion without moving toward healing and acceptance, we become imprisoned or even paralyzed by it.  This disrupts our ability to live a life of joy and peace, or to be able to experience all of God’s blessings in our lives.  The emotion has moved from being a healthy, normal human response, to now being a form of bondage.
  • Identify the belief system that drove the emotion. When emotions become intense, we need to take a step back and identify the origin of the circumstance, thought, idea, or belief that triggered the emotion.  Oftentimes there are false beliefs or messages attached to emotions that must be explored.  It is not uncommon for a person to build an entire belief system about life, love, faith, and relationships upon a false message. These messages must be challenged by the truth of God’s word and replaced in our hearts and minds.  God’s greatest work is done when we are honest with ourselves, recognize where we have been off track, and allow Him to do amazing things in our lives.
  • Identify when we transfer responsibility. We must realize that another person is not responsible for how we feel. Emotions are influenced by our own thoughts and beliefs.  If we continually see ourselves as a victim of others, we will never be able to experience true healing in our inner soul.  That doesn’t negate the fact that people can genuinely hurt us.  However, by owning our emotions, we can begin to deflect negative messages.  As long as we are humble about it, we can choose to refuse to allow others’ negative words to penetrate our hearts.
  • Recognize Satan’s part. We can’t discount the element of spiritual attack in our emotional challenges.  Satan can’t make us “feel” anything, be he does know where we are vulnerable.  Those will be the places he will target his attacks. He tries to tempt us into thinking false things about others, and ourselves, knowing if we begin to accept his lies, we will wind up in bondage to our emotions and sinful reactions.  The Bible teaches us about the weapons of spiritual warfare in the removal of strongholds: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  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” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV).
  • Claim God’s promises to defeat negative emotions. Whenever we feel a negative emotion, we can find a solution to resolve that emotion in the word of God.  Claiming a promise against the emotion doesn’t change the circumstance.  We need to address the situation for what it is.  But choosing to believe a promise against the emotion means that instead of dwelling on the pain that provoked the emotion, we are going to dwell on God’s glorious provision to meet our need, whatever it might be.  Learning to respond to painful emotions Biblically is a growth process, so, depending on our maturity level, it may take time before we see significant change.  Eventually, as we learn to respond to our negative emotions in a healthy way, they are put in their proper place.  As we practice this discipline in all areas of our lives, eventually our thinking, feeling, and behaving will be radically changed!

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Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated.  Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers as well as certified and licensed Christian counselors.  We are able to help you experience freedom from shame, anxiety, depression, or relationship conflict with methods that are purely Christ-centered.   Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime.  Our non-profit counseling practice has an outstanding track record for over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxiety, depression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives.  Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at drdave@lifetrainingcounseling.org