Time for Thanks - Day 5

Today, I'm extra thankful for something that I'm sure Chris is pretty thankful for as well. I'm overflowing with gratitude for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. At 35, I'm getting to an age where I have enough history with the Lord to see the changes he's brought about in my life. I have countless recesses in my heart that still need his refining touch, but he's brought me a long way already.

Something in particular that he's been giving me victory over are my emotions. I always have to follow a statement like that with a disclaimer: He is giving me victory. It's an ongoing process. So if you should come upon me spewing forth less than lovely words on my children for something that's really not a big deal, just because I'm in a bad mood, please give me a little kick in the tail and sing a line from "He's Still Workin' on Me" to yourself.

As women, it's so easy for us to justify our behavior because of our emotions. Let's face it. The Lord didn't give us the better end of the deal when it comes to feelings. Ours can sometimes seem like you're in a racecar with a monkey at the wheel, while our husbands seem to be chugging happily along a railroad track, heading straight for where they want to go with no u-turns necessary. It's so easy to believe the lie that "We just can't help it. It's that time of the month." Or, "You can't blame yourself. Anyone would feel that way."

The truth is, though we cannot determine what hand the Lord deals us, we can control what we do with it. He has not given us a bad hand and then kicked us to the curb to handle it alone. Our emotions can be a wonderful thing, when they're brought into submission to God. So many things we struggle with in life, like money or food, are not bad things in and of themselves, and neither are emotions. Emotions are God-given and something that he shares in common with us. But when they're a result of our sinful flesh, things can get ugly. Frying pans can start to fly.

When my emotions control me instead of me controlling them, we have a problem. When my grumpy attitude or selfish irritations result in ugly words spoken, we have a problem. When I spend my day trying to manipulate people or circumstances so that I can feel happy or satisfied or calm, we have a problem. When my sadness and depression cause me to whine or simply become paralyzed, missing out on the blessings right before me, we have a problem.

But, a part of the problem is that I've always felt so powerless against this powerful force we call emotion. Now I see that as I make the choice to take the thoughts linked to my emotion captive and force them to obey the truth of God's Word...I am free! If I'm kidnapped and put into a car with a driver who is taking me to my doom, the car isn't bad. I just need a new driver. It's up to me who I put in the driver's seat of my emotions. The Lord gives me the tools of the Holy Spirit and His Word steer my thoughts and, ultimately, my feelings where he wants them to go. And where he wants them to go is a place of humble, happy service to him. A place where God's glory and knowing him brings me all the joy and satisfaction I could possibly desire. A place where circumstances and hormones and irritations are all just things he uses to point me to him.

So everyone in my house joins me in thanking God for the times I don't fly off the handle and in praying for their safety during the times when I do.


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