Managing my emotions has always been an area of challenge for me. I mean, come on! God made me a passionate woman with strong feelings about certain things. It's not just my streaks of red hair talking when I get worked up about something. It's coming from a place deep inside me and honey, if you can't handle it, get outta the way.
I remember the days of PMS and the hormonal rage I swung through on a regular basis. I remember too the erratic mood swings in the weeks that followed my hysterectomy in my 30's. After years of being stifled and monitored in my previous relationship, it was with a certain streak of pride that I let loose all those pent up emotions and just laid 'em out there for the whole world to see and hear. I chuckle about this now but I also shudder because I know the way I acted those days were really nothing to be proud of.
Then, there are the days where the depression puts me in a place I often refer to as 'beige'. Days of feeling nothing. Not weepy sadness, not explosive anger, and certainly not joy. I think sometimes those days of feeling nothing are much worse than the days of highs and lows.
What I take away from all of this is that while God created me with a fiery personality, with emotions that can and do take me from one end of the spectrum to the other, He also created me with a brain. Hello.
I can manage my emotions rather than allowing my emotions to manage me.
Let me say that again. I can manage my emotions rather than allowing my emotions to manage me.
I have the ability to CHOOSE my reactions to life. I have the ability to CHOOSE how I face today. If I decide that today is gonna suck, guess what? Ain't no amount of new shoes or chocolate gonna make me smile. The shoes'll be the wrong color and the chocolate won't be dark enough. If, however, I decide that today is going to be a day of rejoicing, I can rest assured that this day is gonna bless me and I will be able to bless others because of it.
It all comes down to making up my mind that this day is going to be joyful. I have no control over whether I get a flat tire, or my purse strap breaks while I'm shopping causing it to slide across the floor with me in hot pursuit, but I do have control over how I react to that. I can remain calm and call Triple A for the flat tire. I can laugh as I chase down a tube of lipstick that has rolled away like a bowling ball. That feels so much better than sitting on the side of the road crying or worse, kicking the tire and cursing. I. Have. A. Choice.
My bible study reading today reminded me that if I am willing to focus and make my decisions not based on feelings alone, I can count on God to be faithful to give me the strength I need to face whatever comes at me.
"That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12.10
It might take some extra focus on days I feel especially vulnerable but it is still a choice I can make. And I will choose JOY.