Have you ever heard somebody say that they can’t help getting angry? What about, “I just worry?” How about, “I can’t help it…I just get fearful when…” What are emotions? Wickipedia lists some. Here’s what they say (click here for more information from Wikipedia):
Distress-is an irrational contraction or a fresh opinion that something bad is present at which people think it right to be depressed.
Fear-is an irrational risk aversion or avoidance of an expected risk.
Lust-is an irrational desire or pursuit of an expected good.
Delight-is an irrational swelling or a fresh opinion that something good is present at which people think it right to be mania.
I was pointed to this site and this site today as a resource that a lot of people are using to determine emotional health for themselves and others, both currently and as a projection for a person’s future emotional health. It seems like it could be helpful, at least in determining that a person is adept at functioning emotionally in society…or trying to predict whether they will or not in the future.
My big thing with emotions is that I see them as an overflow of the heart, and so I want always drive myself, and others whom I’m counseling, back to the heart issues. Emotions are an overflow of what one believes to be true about God, others, and life. It’s true that “I can’t help myself” when it comes to emotions. In the heat of the moment, emotions just come out. But I want to know why I react the way I do…why do I get angry, upset, afraid, etc. Emotions aren’t a bad thing…they’re like a fire alarm. They tell you that something else is going on. In some cases, what’s going on are sinful thoughts, motives, and expectations, all of which can be changed, thereby changing the emotional outcome. Emotions are not in themselves sinful (although they are often accompanied by sinful behavior). The thoughts/desires/attitudes/expectations leading up to the emotions and that drive the emotions may, though, be sinful. To only work on the emotions, trying to change them alone, is surface-level at best. If we can find the underlying heart issue we can repent of the sin that has been driving the emotion. I’m not saying that the EQ test (click the link above) is trying to do only work on emotions. I’m just saying that you can often control your emotions. The work just has to be done before the situation arises.