By Nancy Virden (c)2023
“Whee!” Facing the downhill adventure, I removed my hands from my handlebars and sailed past my friend’s house. She was right behind me and witnessed the moment I tried to regain control of my wobbling bicycle. Grabbing onto the hand grips and hitting the brakes, suddenly I was in the air, flipping onto my back and landing in front of oncoming traffic which thankfully stopped.
I couldn’t breathe or thought I couldn’t. Possibly I passed out because in my memory I was in the air, and then surrounded by adults telling me to breathe slowly and deliberately. My bicycle’s handlebars had come off. The wind was knocked out of me. I was 10.
Emotions are God-given blessings and, like bicycles and adventures which are blessings from God too, emotions are best kept within certain boundaries. For example, Jesus said, “Be angry and do not sin.” Anger is normal, even righteous when directed at injustice. However, we should not use anger as an excuse for revenge or bitterness.
Knowing that God expresses emotions (love, joy, anger…) yet always perfectly and for reasons only He can fully understand, it makes no sense that we treat some emotional vacillations as character flaws or spiritual failures. The list of stifling stigmas is long. Nonetheless, emotions can become wobbly and seem to veer out of our control from time to time.
This past week I have felt discouraged by naysayers, encouraged by the positive perspectives of others, disappointed by circumstances out of my control, and glad when I achieved something helpful. Those days when I felt down I feared these variants. Uh oh. Is this major depression coming back? Will I have another breakdown? Maybe I need to tell my psychiatrist about this. What if I end up back in the hospital? I was overreacting to my fear of repeating history.
Self-care, spending time with God in prayer, reading the Psalms, airing out some of my differences with naysayers, and talking it out with my positive friends – all strategies for well-being I learned in therapy – lifted my spirits. Whew. It had only been the blues, a normal reaction to stressors. If I hadn’t followed the healthy means of feeling better, stronger emotions could have had a more damaging effect on my week.
This is the answer to wobbly emotions, especially if they are distressing. Seek effective support. Do what you know to do to address the problem in a healthy way and leave what is out of your control to God. Before you end up flat on your back fighting for air, double-check the safety of the route you are choosing and your means of feeling better.
Above all, breathe. This too shall pass.
Today’s Helpful Word
Isaiah 33: 2
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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