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Wrestling with Emotions

by Marilyn Adamson, director of EveryStudent.com and StartingwithGod.com

I hope you are doing well.

I am not one easily given to sadness or depression. I don’t think I have felt depressed for a full day, ever. Hours maybe. But not days.

My heart goes out to those who do suffer with depression.

I did have a friend, a sister in the Lord, who called me one day and said, “I feel guilty about taking medication for depression. If I’m trusting God, then I shouldn’t need this. I feel like a failure.”

My reply was a question: “Do you find yourself better able to trust God while you’re ON the medication or when you’re off?” She said, “Oh, when I’m taking it, for sure!”

So I said, “Well, the goal is to live a life of faith and dependence on God. I find that it’s easier for me to trust God when I’ve had a good night of rest, compared to 4 hours. If you’re trusting him better by taking the medication, then stay on it!”

For those of us who might not have a chemical imbalance, requiring medicine, how should we handle periods of sadness, irritation, depression?

What do you do when emotions begin to rule and you don’t feel like doing anything productive?

Today was like that for me. It actually started last night. I know the disappointments that triggered it. The circumstances are not something I thought I should or could “fix.”

Instead, the question was…how to deal with these emotions?

I read Scripture…all of it that would cause a believer to rejoice. Like Titus 3:4-7 and Eph 1:17-19. But it didn’t help.

I also have before me incredible, amazing reports of what God is accomplishing throughout the world. All great news!

But that didn’t change my emotions either.

Here’s what did. Hebrews 13:15 “…let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

When I finally chose to, out loud, thank God for things I read in Scripture, for wonderful things he has done for me, for who he is…it was like the enemy’s grip released.

James 4:7,8 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

I don’t know if I heard this from someone or if it’s actually in the Bible…”God inhabits the praise of his people.”

But I do know this. There is spiritual power in choosing to praise God. I believe Satan flees at the praise of Jesus’ name.

Next time your emotions are beginning to rule you…choose to thank God. No matter the circumstances. It is a *sacrifice* of praise that brings you back into faith, focused on the things of the Spirit, where there is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 – “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”