As young children, many kids dream of the day they get to become adults. Many think it of as a walk in the park. As a child, I thought these things too. I imagined adulthood as a time to eat cookies before dinner, drive anywhere and everywhere a truck would take me, and wear glamorous and alluring clothes as I went on dates with debonair men. What people don’t tell you in these days and times, is the little ins and outs that you need to know to handle life as an adult. But it’s okay, discovering these things are part of the process of growing up. We’re not born wise and all-knowing (like God is) and we discover some things on our own, but its always good to listen to what those who have gone before you have already discovered, so you can get those other lessons the easy way: listening.
One lesson I feel God has called me to impart unto you is about your emotions, and it’s a little gem. As you grow up, you’re exposed to a lot of different emotions you have never felt before, or perhaps you have, but they’re more intense. These emotions can often blindside you when you first experience them, but it’s important to wrestle with them, to learn to control them. For example, we learn to control our urge to use the bathroom as we grow, and we certainly control it easily now, but what changed? The intensity of the urge never changed, but our willpower and mastery of it has.
It is the same with other urges and emotions. Self-harm, depression, anger, feelings of hopelessness, embarrassment, despondency, and despair do not have to manifest in us.
People have often attributed their emotions and personal crisis to outside stimuli, such as other people. That’s right. People like to blame their emotions on other people. “He made me so mad, I knocked over the fruit bowl and broke it.” “He made me so sad, I cried and left Prom.” “Ugh, they drive me crazy.”
But what if I told you my super-duper secret for controlling your emotions?
First, let me present a metaphor. Imagine you’re sitting in the trunk of your car, and someone else is driving. Let’s pretend they’re going to a place you don’t like. You don’t want to eat at Burger King. You want to eat at Olive Garden. But they want to eat at Burger King, and you reluctantly go along with them because what other choice do you have? They’re in control. You wished you’d never given them your keys.
And that’s the point. It’s a scary point if you’ve never done it, and it’s maybe painful the first time too, but the feeling of power and control and self-mastery it manifests in you is wonderful. You have to take responsibility. If you’re not driving, you can complain about all the sucky places you’re going, all that anger and hatred you feel. And it’s kind of a cheap imitation of a good feeling. After all, you can’t help that you’re at Burger King. It’s their fault. You didn’t want to be here. They’re the ones driving. But it’s a cop out. You have to get in the front seat of your car, with your keys, put your hands on the wheel. The open road can seem daunting. “What if I crash?” Well, do you want to spend the rest of your life at Burger King?
And that brings me out of the metaphor, and back to life. If someone can elicit an emotional response from you (anger, hatred, sadness), then they control you. They can make you do what they want. It’s like you’re a little remote-control car, and they have the remote.
Anger, hatred, sadness, despair – it all sucks. So why do you keep going there? Next time someone tries to drive you there, remember – your keys, your car.
Have a blessed day.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
II Corinthians 12:8-9
^ God doesn’t hate weak people, He gains glory through you.
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