Wednesday, March 7, 2012

6 keys to dealing with emotional funks

image by mee lin woon

i was asked a couple weeks ago by one of the members of the facebook page for this blog if i could write a bit about how to deal with emotional funks (and even specifically hormonal emotional funks).

i think this is a great question and it has had me thinking for the past couple weeks and even gathering insight from others in our at the gate called beautiful community.  how as christian women are we to deal with the very real emotional swings in life, in the month, or even in the day? (this could apply to men too!  i know women are not the only ones that struggle with emotions).

1. worship.  it has to be my number one go-to fix for broken emotions.  remember, emotions are not good or bad, but they are an indicator of the health of your heart.  if your heart isn't doing well, chances are the emotions are going to give you little warnings so that you can do something about it.  (kinda like pain giving indications of something wrong in the body).
a bird doesn't sing because he has an answer.  he sings because he has a song. unknown

i happen to be a worship leader and a musician, so the most natural place for me to worship is at my upright piano in my living room.  my favorite times to worship are the few times i can get where no one is around to hear me, especially when i am very broken emotionally.  with a husband and 4 little ones, sometimes i have to stay up extra late at night to make this work.

i find crying out to the Lord in the form of song to be one of the most pleasurable experiences of life.  it doesn't matter what funk or pit i come to Him in, my vision is always realigned to gazing on the beauty of Him.  every time i gaze on Him i cannot help but be changed.
but we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 corinthians 3:18

every time. 

nothing changes in my circumstances.  everything shifts on the inside and the raging emotions, the surging hormones, just seem to melt - often into a puddle of tears.  (one of the reasons i love to do this specific type of worship time alone).  i cannot tell you how many tears have fallen on the broken keys of my 1900 upright baldwin piano.  i cannot tell you how many times my voice has cracked and gone off key as i could barely get out the words of a simple chorus.  i cannot tell you how many times i felt Him, really felt Him, meet me in the midst of whatever it is i was feeling so strongly and bring me peace.

you might not be a musician.  that is okay.  you can crank up your favorite Jesus culture you tube video or blast your favorite worship album in the car or on your ipod.  you don't have to sing well to worship well.  worship is the heart posture that says,
 i will love You no matter what is going on in life.  i will lift you high and say that You are good.  i will believe the truth and not my emotions because You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

dance.  sometimes this is the only way to break free from the emotional chains - stomp them down and look like a fool.  i seem to remember a very famous king who did this very thing and God said he was a man after His own heart.     (2 samuel 6:14)

2. cry out to the Lord.  one of the gals on our facebook conversation said she sometimes just prays, "help me, please, please, help me!"  i cannot tell you how many many times this has been my exact prayer.  did you know it is legal to pray for yourself?  it totally is legal! 

when we ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help us, He always does.  always.  (you can stand on that one.)  our prayers don't have to be fancy or long or even coming from a place of knowing exactly what it is that we are needing.  just asking Him to help is enough.
if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? luke 11:13
3. tell your emotions to stop all their noise!
why are you downcast, o my soul? why so disturbed within me? put your hope in God, for i will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. psalm 42:5, psalm 42:11, psalm 43:5
emotions = soul.  we can speak to our emotions and tell them to get into order.  king david did this all the time.  emotions are great indicators and lousy leaders.  do not let them lead you.  tell them to follow what you choose to do.

He isn't surprised by the raw ugly state of our emotions - He chose to love us with full disclosure of our brokenness.  we can come to Him and hope in Him, no matter how ugly our emotions may look at the current moment.

4. let the small things really be the small things and focus on what really matters.  it really is simple but feels like a hard thing to do.  if the laundry is piled up, there are tons of errands to run, bills unpaid, calls to make... remind yourself, what really matters in eternity?  for one day, or for even a couple hours in one day, you can let these things that seem so important wait.  take the time to get your heart aligned and these mountains will shrink in their size.  everything does not have to get done right now and you probably won't do a great job at doing them in your current emotional state anyways.

5. ask for prayer.  let yourself be vulnerable with other women (or your husband even!) in the body of Christ.  we are here to be a support for each other.  although it is so hard and humbling to admit our weakness and admit we don't have it all together all of the time, it is so amazing to have someone pray for you.  if you can, have them pray with you right then and there.  i have ended up in a mess of tears and felt the heaviness lift when i have taken the step to do this with women i know.

we think people are judging us for not having it all together.  they usually aren't.  actually showing our weakness and asking for help can encourage someone else who also has bad days.  you can give another woman the courage to ask for prayer when she needs it if you step out first yourself.

6. eat right and sleep well.  this simple reminder can make a world of difference.  when emotions are crazy, it is so tempting to splurge on all sorts of things that won't really make us feel better.  take time to take a nap.  take a walk.  drink some calming herbal tea.  eat something nourishing to your body.  take care of these little things and it will help you focus on the big things.

in what ways do you deal with emotional or hormonal funks?  
what have you found to help pull you out of the pit?

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