How to handle negative emotions when they come
We all have or had negative emotions to some degree – feelings of fear, anger, guilt, sadness, low self-esteem, rejection, and abandonment. How does one deal with them when they come? In this article I am going to show you how to handle your negative emotions, allow God to heal you and set you free.
Can you answer “yes” to any one of these questions? Do you find yourself knowing about how much God loves you, yet fail to personally sense His love for you? Do you feel that something inside of you feels less than others? Do you find that a part of you wants to be loving and forgiving, but another part of you wants to get even? What about when one part of you is passive, indecisive, and insecure (easily hurt, leaving you feeling less than others), while another part, (to offset the insecurity), is strong and confident? Do you feel that a part of you thinks or feels anxious and afraid while another part feels at peace? Do you find yourself, when triggered, having uncontrollable emotions with little restraint?
I come across people struggling with these issues all the time and have discovered that it is because we have not learnt how to process our emotions correctly. I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to suppress any negative emotions with comments such as: “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be angry”. I learnt that all negative emotions were bad! I didn’t understand that God created all emotions for our good. The challenge comes when we react negatively to them. So, in order to process our emotions correctly there are three things we need to know.
Firstly, it is important to understand that when you continue to react negatively there is often a root cause. The roots can be from a variety of past traumas, caused through either abandonment, rejection, being ruthlessly teased and bullied, having emotionally distant parents or having experienced a shocking betrayal, any form of abuse, a breakup or divorce, a natural disaster, loss of a loved one or loss of your possessions.
Just like as a circuit breaker shuts down when overloaded, you shut down a part of you in order to cope with the emotional overload experienced at the time of a trauma. Your neurons become fused and your mind, will and emotions are trapped in that part of you, leaving you to carry behaviours, thought patterns, strong emotions, and unwanted behaviours.
Secondly, this will cause you to be “double minded and unstable in all your ways” according to James 1:8. The literal meaning in the Greek for double minded is double souled. According to Chuck Pierce “Doublemindedness is probably our biggest enemy”.
Many Christians are double minded as this is the enemy’s plan to keep us from loving God with all our heart, mind and soul. Everyone reacts differently to emotional pain; your level of pain may be less than others and yet you can still become double minded. Or your doublemindedness can be generational or both.
Think of it, doublemindedness could be the reason why you struggle in your relationship with God! Part of your soul wants to feel God’s love and forgiveness, but another part of you feels unworthy of His grace. Or one part of you wants to believe God’s promises are for you, but another part struggles to believe and trust Him.
Thirdly, a trapped/broken soul forms a negative belief about self, causing you to search for a sense of value, of being loved, and of being enough! Your core part is primarily coping with life based on the event or events that caused the broken part within you to form and be stuck in the past.
Over time you develop ways to cope. Through fear of being hurt again, you build a wall around you to protect yourself (the problem is these walls not only keep others at a distance but also God). In order to handle your pain, (of never feeling good enough), you lash out in anger, often to the ones you love the most, or you withdraw. Then comes the slippery slope of looking for something more to make you feel better and dull the pain, like sex, alcohol and/or drugs etc.
FREEDOM CAN BE A P-R-O-C-E-S-S!
P stands for PAUSE. When you become triggered and/or react negatively, stop, and take a few breaths, you may need to walk away and allow time to process why you are reacting.
R stands for RE-VISIT. In order to get in touch with the trapped negative emotion, it is sometimes helpful to examine how you felt at the time of the trauma.
If you can’t remember, don’t stress. My suggestions are not formulas but helpful, practical Bible principles. The aim is for you to stop blaming others, take courage and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, look inside to discover the disconnected part of you so that you can be made whole.
O stands for OBEY. James 4:7 tells you to “submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. Choose to place all your will, intellect, emotions, and your past experiences into God’s hands.
Another Bible verse that needs attention for your good is Luke 6:37 “Forgive and you will be forgiven”, literally meaning “release and you will be released”. In order to be released, seek God’s forgiveness for yourself, the offender and for where you have allowed your negative emotions to affect others. Should you keep re-living hurts in the past maybe your core part has forgiven a situation or person many times, but there is another part, hidden behind a protective wall that can’t release the offender or yourself. It is not until the trapped part within forgives and is healed that you are released and made whole.
C stands for CURE. God wants to heal your wounded heart. In Isaiah 61:1 Jesus promises to “bind up the broken hearted” – those who have been torn apart through trauma. He does this by making neurological adjustments through the power of His Spirit. A lady come to us severely broken hearted. She was escorted by the police from interstate having been through severe domestic violence. When I shared with her that she could have a new heart, she said, “Can I have that?” She received her new heart by faith and was made whole. Ezekiel 36:26 says of Father God, “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
E stands for EXCHANGE. When your mind and emotions align together through a traumatic experience, your will is captured also. It is then that you become of two minds, leaving you indecisive. Therefore, renewing your mind with the truth of God’s Word and exchanging your negative emotion with God’s emotion enables you to make decisive choices. God wants to take your stony heart – your seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) – that which doesn’t bother you. and exchange it with His heart and emotions so that you will be free to worship Him and make good choices. Romans 12:2.
COME TO JESUS, GIVE HIM YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTION AND RECEIVE FROM HIM HIS EMOTION IN ITS PLACE – Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… rest for your souls”. Matthew 11:28-29 NIV
Exchange with Jesus your guilt and condemnation forHis freedom through forgiveness – “Jesus is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased your freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave your sins.” “He personally carried your sins in his body on the cross so that you can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” “If you confess your sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all wickedness”. Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter 2:24 & 1 John 1:9 NLT Personalised.
Exchange with Jesus your rejection for His total acceptance. Jesus was despised and rejected so that you would not carry rejection. (Isaiah 53:3). “God decided in advance to adopt me into his own family by bringing me to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 7:5 NLT – Personalised.
Exchange with Jesus your sadness for His joy and strength – “Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.” Psalm 94:19 TPT. “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 NLT.
Exchange with Jesus your shame and self-rejection for His righteousness – Jesus was put to shame on the cross so that you would know His total love and acceptance – “Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation”.
“He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault”. Hebrews 12:2 TPT & Colossians 1:22 NLT.
Exchange with Jesus your anger for His peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace was beaten to bring you peace – peace means nothing missing, nothing broken. Wholeness in every part of you. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was beaten so you could be whole”. (Personalised) Jesus said, “I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 TPT.
Exchange with Jesus your fear and anxiety for His love – “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” “Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear”. Deuteronomy 31:8 & 1 John 4:18 NLT.
Exchange with Jesus your feelings of abandonment for his security. Jesus felt abandoned on the cross and cried out, “My God why have you forsaken me”! Matthew 27:46. His promise to you is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. Hebrews 13:5.
S stands for SMASH DOWN. Repent of your fear and ask God to send the fire of the Holy Spirit to dismantle and consume your self-protective walls, which are usually built as a result of fear of exposure or fear of rejection. “God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control”. 2 Timothy 1:7 TPT.
S stands for STRENGTHEN. Ask God to send his ministering angels to strengthen you and to bring you out into freedom and for every part of you to be integrated and made whole. God’s Word assures you that Jesus was sent “to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18, “to set at liberty those who are oppressed”. ESV
PRAYER – to be prayed every time you are triggered and/or react.
God of all comfort, whose steadfast love never ceases, thank You for sending Jesus who bore my griefs and carried my sorrows and pains in order that every area of my soul – my mind, will, and emotions be restored to wholeness.
Thank You, Jesus, for Your shed blood that forgives me and sets me free. The part of me that has been broken and trapped forgives and releases the offenders and will no longer judge or blame them even though they are blameworthy. I give them to You, the Righteous Judge, to deal with them. I also forgive and release myself from all guilt and shame and ask for Your forgiveness, Lord Jesus, for where I have allowed my woundedness to negatively affect others.
Thank You, Jesus that You have promised to heal broken/trapped hearts! Please take my hard heart and give me a soft, sensitive heart. Heal and restore my traumatised central nervous system and bring any neurological imbalances into divine order. In Your Name and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may my chemical and electrical frequencies be brought into divine order also.
I cut off and defuse the neurological link between the memories of the trauma and the emotional reactions of the event. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me new neurological pathways as I exchange my negative emotions (name them) for Your emotions (name them). And now I declare – I am trusting in God’s promises and have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and am free from all guilt and condemnation, totally accepted by God and unconditionally loved by Him.
Thank You, Jesus, that You have also promised to set the captives free. Thank You for setting me free and making me whole. I submit to You God, giving You total control of my past, present and future. In Your Name, Jesus I cancel every negative word spoken over me and resist the lies and plans of the enemy. Heavenly Father give me a love for Your Word and establish Your truth in my heart and help me to love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Jesus wonderful Name I ask it. Amen