Tag Archive | Feeling stuck

Coping With Emotions During the Coronavirus Pandemic

“Our feelings do not affect God’s facts.
They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the
eternal things that we do most truly believe.
We may not see the shining of the promises—
but they still shine! His strength is not for one
moment less because of our human weakness.”
– Amy Carmichael

As I sat down to have my quiet time this morning, my feelings were definitely not where I wanted them to be. These stressful circumstances all of us have been walking through for the last three months and the uncertainty concerning what lies ahead have me feeling numb on the inside. Weariness, along with the physical pain of a flare of sciatica, made staying in bed today much more appealing than getting dressed and spending time reading God’s Word and praying. But I knew from personal experience that would not have been a wise choice.

I’ve learned that how I start my day sets the direction for the whole day. I have a morning routine that usually begins with half-an-hour of gentle exercise. It only took me a couple minutes to realize this wasn’t going to be a part of today’s routine. So I got dressed, prepared and ate a quick breakfast, and drank a cup of coffee. Then I took some unhurried time in God’s Word and prayer.

God created us with emotions, they are a gift from God, one aspect of our being created in His image. Jesus, who lived a perfect, sinless life, experienced a wide range of emotions. He was angry at the Pharisees because of the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:1-6), yet had compassion on the crowds who came to hear Him speak (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:23). He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazurus (John 11:35). He experienced deep agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, even while choosing the will of the Father above His own (Mark 14:32-34). Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature.” In Jesus, we see what our Heavenly Father is like, including the emotions that are a part of His nature.
‬‬
Emotions are a part of our regenerated nature and a vital part of connecting us to other people and to God Himself. But unfortunately, emotions are also wired into our fallen nature. Sin and Satan have access to them and will try to use them to manipulate us to act in ways that are not pleasing to God. That’s why we can’t allow our emotions to determine our choices, to rule our lives.

In her book Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, Lysa TerKeurst wrote:

“Feelings are indicators, not dictators. They can indicate where your heart is in the moment, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to dictate your behavior and boss you around. You are more than the sum total of your feelings and perfectly capable of that little gift . . . called self-control.”

By their nature, human emotions are highly variable. They were never meant to determine how we walk. God has provided His Word and the Holy Spirit as reliable guides. The only way to overcome the ups and downs of our emotions is to fill our minds with God’s Word, our source of truth. And remember, God has also provided the Holy Spirit to guide us into His will for our lives. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13)

We can’t control the things that happen to us each day, but we can control how we think about them. Emotions are rooted in our thoughts, so the only way to bring them under control is to change how we’re thinking. Sometimes, we just need a change of perspective, a decision to look at our circumstances through the lens of God’s Word instead of through our disappointments and anxieties. Romans 12:2 calls this renewing our minds. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ‬

I’d like to close with a prayer I received in my email, a prayer from New Life Ministries that helped me get on track this morning when I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster ride. This simple prayer helped me to change my perspective and not allow my emotions to be in charge. If you’re struggling emotionally, I encourage you to make this your prayer.

“Heavenly Father, You are my strength and my refuge. As I journey through this day, I will encounter events that cause me emotional distress. Lord, when I am troubled, let me turn to You. Keep me steady, Lord, and in those difficult moments, renew a right spirit inside my heart. Amen”

2B8BC6EF-E14B-404B-943A-79BF6F81294C

 

Does Chronic Illness Have You Feeling Stuck?

I truly enjoy going to church when my health allows me to do so. But there is one thing other than poor health that frequently keeps me at home. Our front yard becomes like a mud pit when we have a heavy rain. For several days afterwards, I’m forced to stay in the house because going outside would result in my walker or wheelchair sinking down in the mud. I am physically stuck in the house until the sun comes out and dries the yard!

Since finishing my series on Job a couple weeks ago, I have been praying for God’s direction for this blog. Honestly, I’ve felt stuck. My desire is to write articles that will encourage those with chronic illness, but my prayers for direction were going nowhere. Then this morning, I sensed God speaking to my heart that I wasn’t the only one feeling stuck. This is something many Christians experience when facing circumstances we wish we could change but can’t. Whether the issues have to do with chronic illness or some other problem we are facing, feeling stuck is a common emotion.

Since this blog focuses on living a Christ-honoring life with chronic illness, I want to look at some of the positive steps we can take to become unstuck, that is to take hold of the hope that enables us to keep moving forward.


  1. Start with being honest with God about where you are. Admit to Him you feel stuck. Ask Him to show you the way out of the “miry clay” that is keeping you from moving forward.
  2. Overcome discouragement with prayer and praise. Oswald Chambers said, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”  And praise is one of the most effective ways to turn our focus onto the Lord. Praising God for who He is, reflecting on His attributes and names, enables us to see our circumstances in a clearer way. One of my favorite tools for this is a page I keep handy during my prayer time, 30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God, put out by The Navigators. Use the following link to download this helpful tool. http://www.navigators.org/www_navigators_org/media/navigators/tools/Resources/Praying-the-Names-of-God-The-Navigators.pdf
  3. Ask God to speak to you through His Word. On days when you feel up to it, use one of the many online tools now available to do indepth Bible study. Two of my favorites are Bible Gateway and Blue Letter Bible, both available as an app and a website. But even on your not-so-good days, find a way to expose your mind and heart to God’s Word. On days that I find it difficult to focus on reading my Bible, I often listen to it being read, using a Bible app such as the YouVersion Bible app or one of the audio Bibles available on http://www.biblegateway.com. As I was doing some research on the chapter in 1 Samuel that was on today’s reading plan, I also discovered an informative series of videos on the YouVersion Bible app, put out by The Bible Project. There are brief annimated videos about every book of the Bible,  giving an overview of the book and of how it fits in God’s bigger picture, and others on specific topics. These videos are also available on YouTube (just search for The Bible Project and the name of the book or topic you are studying) and on https://thebibleproject.com/resources/
  4. Be a doer of the Word, not just one who hears or reads and then goes away unchanged. Ask God to show you specific ways He wants you to apply what you are learning. Remember these importsnt words from the apostle James, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James‬ ‭1:22-25‬ ‭NIV‬)
  5. Let go of the past. This includes both the bad and the good that used to be a part of our lives. Of course we need to let go of past failures and sin, and ask God to heal the hurts they caused. But on the other hand, chronic illness changes our lives dramatically. If we insist on holding onto our lives as they were pre-illness we will be disappointed. Our dreams and goals may need to change, or at least the way we seek to fulfil them. 
  6. Accept your current limitations. Common symptoms of chronic illness include reduced energy levels, increased pain, amd difficulty focusing on things. If we insist on continuing our activities at the same level we did them before becoming ill, we will fail to meet our goals and end up extremely frustrated. 
  7. Look for new ways to meet your goals. This applies to simple tasks such as taking care of our homes, but it also applies to larger life goals. For example, before my chronic illnesses became disabling, I enjoyed leading ladies Bible study groups in our church.  I found teaching God’s Word and encouraging other ladies very fulfilling. Today, since I am not able to drive or even leave the home without my husband’s help, I am no longer able to do this to add meaning to my life. So I began asking God to show me another way to experience fulfilment. It didn’t happen overnight, but I am now finding the same degree of fulfilment in my role with God-Living Girls with Chronic Illness, as a part of the teaching team for that ministry. Though illness closed some doors, continuing to pray and seek God led to some new open doors beyond anything I had expected or previously experienced. Now, instead of touching the lives of a dozen women in my church Bible study group once a week, I have the privilege of sharing almost daily with a group of 375 ladies needing encouragement in their walk with the Lord.

This Sunday, if the current weather forecast is correct, may be another day of being stuck in the house when I really want to be at church. But even if this happens, I don’t need to give into feelings of being stuck. I can instead choose to take hold of the hope that lies before me and keep moving forward in my walk with the Lord. No matter what has you feeling stuck, my desire is for you to join me in this commitment to not allow feelings of being stuck to detour me from walking forward into God’s good plan.