Living on Purpose: When emotions attempt to control us

Published 11:14 am Thursday, February 15, 2024

By Billy Holland


How often do you hear it’s not what happens to us, but how we respond? We know we will face trials in this life, so it only makes sense to prepare how we are going to react when they arrive. Since the way we perceive develops our thoughts and views, but what if our thoughts are wrong? The most important

Email newsletter signup

factor to prevent our emotions from controlling us is to realize we decide what we think about. When we bow down to our feelings, they become our master. The Bible demands for our mind to be renewed which requires intense training and a passionate desire for personal transformation.

Comprehending how we are mentally wired is critical to maintaining a healthy psychological state of mind. The many disorders of mental health can usually be traced to an imbalance of some sort, which causes the individual to be unable to perceive truth accurately or to resist being dominated by their feelings. Just because we are considered bright and intelligent does not mean we have an understanding of our personality. Have you ever thought that certain people did not like you or were trying to make it difficult for you? There is a chance you might be right, but what if you are wrong? What if you are just being paranoid? You are not the center of everyone’s universe. Being hurt and offended originates from a powerful emotion of rejection.

We all want to be loved and to be held in high esteem, right? But how do we act when we think someone is trying to avoid us? Our feelings are downright dangerous and can keep us on a path of anxiety. For the unrenewed mind, it usually does not take much to bruise and batter our ego. We might think we are fairly thick-skinned and can take a punch, but the temptation to wallow in depression and throw a pity party is just one negative thought away. If we choose to follow God’s way of interpreting truth, instead of dwelling on the what-ifs, we can step over the land mines of doubt and fear and walk in His confidence.

One of the most significant deceptions many experience is dwelling on one’s self. Always believing that someone or something is trying to derail their success is using the victim mentality as an excuse. To clarify, a certain amount of self-love is needed for a healthy state of mind, but when someone is constantly fixated on themselves without regard to anyone else there is a problem. When self is the topic of every thought and conversation, this creates an isolation which leads to a delusional view of everything. Every emotion is connected to this selfish way of discerning life and depletes the soul of joy and peace.

For those who crave to be acknowledged and respected at all times and do not receive it, the common response is to become angry and insulted. Many drive themselves to exhaustion seeking approval because they desire admiration and in extreme cases can suffer from what is called delusions of grandeur. Maybe they never received affection as a child, or always felt shame and inferior when around others who were more accomplished. Jealousy and envy are powerful emotions and very deceptive. As they attempt to prove they are important and worthy of prominence, this commonly leads to even more heartache and disappointment. Whether real or imaginary, feelings of being ignored and rejected can lead to depression and often traced to issues of insecurity.

The way to overcome the slavery of negative emotions is to change the way we think. We must pray and ask God to help us understand that tactics and strategies are being used against us to defeat us. Victory will not happen in the snap of the fingers, the same as we do not cut down a tree with one swipe of the ax. It might take hundreds of swings to chip away our tendencies to be controlled by our feelings, but with God’s help the tree will fall and we can keep pressing forward in His name. Do not assume this will be the only tree, because there is a forest of temptations waiting to challenge us. We hear about having the victory, but until we allow our mind to be renewed from the carnal to the spiritual, we are spinning our wheels. The enemy will never stop influencing our emotions until we realize we can control our thoughts.

Dr. Billy Holland is a Christian minister, author, and chaplain. Read more about the Christian life at