Do you ever feel as though you are battling your own emotions?
Fighting your anxiety, fear, insecurity?
So many of us are fighting against our feelings, trying to win some sort of peace, hope, or stability. It’s often a daily encounter, and when the tears won’t stop or the nervousness won’t go away, we may start to believe the lie that we’re losing.
Mental health and self-care are talked about a good deal, and awareness is amazing. There’s a time and place for professional counseling, medication, and addressing the issue head-on. However, until we get to the root of why we’re feeling this way, we’re never going to find a solution. A lot of us are engaging in battle with the wrong weapons because we have failed to identify the real enemy.
As someone who lives with social anxiety, I used to think it was up to me to control it. The Bible says “do not be anxious,” so I thought it was my fault whenever I felt that way, that I must not be a good Christian or wasn’t trying hard enough.
But despite all the times I tried to “do better,” or even screamed scripture at myself, I could never manufacture the peace I thought was supposed to be mine. It was only when I began to realize I was fighting the wrong enemy that I began to see the way out.
I had the wrong perspective, but God has been faithful to help me change the way I see my emotions. I’d like to share three truths that God has shown me in my fight with social anxiety, and I pray He will use them to help you in your mental battle as well.
1. Emotions are a gift from God
Despite how we perceive them, emotions are a gift from God. They are meant to be good, beautiful, and for our benefit. There is such a thing as healthy fear and righteous anger.
However, along with the rest of God’s beautiful creation, our emotions have been tainted with sin. Evil has infiltrated what was meant to be good and has ruined the way we experience the world.
And yet, in a way only God can, He takes even what is broken and redeems it for good. He gives purpose to our pain and hope in our heartache.
I often view my anxiety as a “thorn in the flesh,” the way Paul describes his struggle in 2 Corinthians 12:7. Whatever his thorn was, it deeply affected him because he pleaded with God three times to remove it from him.
How many times have we pleaded with God to take away our depression? Our grief? Even our doubt?
But God’s response to Paul wasn’t a solution; it was simply a change of perspective.
Perhaps that’s what we really need as well.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you…’ …For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses….” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
2. Emotions are not the fruit of the Spirit
How many times have we heard not to base our decisions on our feelings? Our feelings are constantly changing, sometimes in a matter of minutes. They are not a firm foundation to build on, and they are certainly not always a source of truth.
If I only went to bed when I felt like it, I would stay up till 3 a.m. to text my friends every night. Or if I only read my Bible when I felt like it, it would collect dust on my desk most of the time. That is why it is crucial for us to walk in the Spirit, not our emotions. The fruits of the Spirit should override our fleshly desires and tendencies.
Love is not our default, but it is what we are called to as Christians. Joy is not always easy, but we are called to rejoice always. Peace is difficult in a world of upheaval and calamity, yet it is possible through Christ.
As a new creation, God has given us the ability to walk in the fruit of the Spirit even when our emotions tell us otherwise.
3. Emotions are a tool of the real enemy
In the end, emotions are not the enemy. Trying to force our feelings into submission will only result in shame when we fall short. It will cause us to feel powerless, chained to something Christ came to set us free from.
When they are surrendered to God, our emotions are really beautiful. The problem is when they are in the hands of the real enemy, Satan, because he likes to use them as just another tool to take us down. The devil will do all he can to separate us from God, and getting in our heads seems to be one of his favorite tactics. That is why taking every thought captive and surrendering our feelings to God is so important.
Jesus has come to give us the victory, Rose, but until we make the decision to let go and let God, we will continue to fight a losing battle. We will continue to slip into depression, live in fear, and give in to hopelessness.
Dear Rose, Jesus is our hope. He has come to set us free. We don’t have to live as slaves to our emotions anymore.The real enemy has already been defeated, so no matter what happens today, no matter how we feel, we can declare that the victory is won.
The purpose of this article is not to minimize our struggles, or to discourage us from seeking out a remedy. It is only meant to remind us of our calling to walk in freedom, because Christ offers us rest when we surrender our burdens to Him.
Take heart, there will be a day we will suffer no more. In the meantime, learn what it means to glory in weakness, for the battle belongs to our Lord.
What can you do today to better identify the tools you need for your current battle? What emotion is your biggest enemy?
Comment below, Roses, and let’s chat!
Nicole Ashley is a young writer devoted to using her words for the glory of God. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her talking with friends, reading a book, or simply being an introvert with music in her headphones. Connect with her on her blog at CoCos Chit Chat or on Instagram and Twitter @cocoashley_413.
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