If your anger is heightened and I tell you to calm down, chances are you will not calm down but only be more frustrated that I am telling you to calm down over something you are experiencing deep anger with.
Dealing with our emotions biblically is not about bypassing what someone is going through but rather helping them take the truth and apply it to their certain situation.
Instead, if I were to help you to breathe and walk with you, chances are your anger would lessen (versus me just telling you what to do – I would show you how to do it).
I think, as believers, we are known for spiritually bypassing people in the name of Jesus and calling it holy. Anything less than joy, and the person experiencing feelings should know better. This leaves the person feeling unheard and stuck in their emotion (which in turn gets stuck in their body).
In layman’s terms, spiritual bypassing is using our faith to disregard our real human experiences. We use scriptures and false humility to act as though everything is okay or that we should be okay. Others often do this to us by telling us to move on, God has better things for us, and God is good. All of this is true, but it can easily bypass the reality of what is happening within us. It looks like: Overemphasizing the positive and avoiding the negative.
Dealing with emotions biblically allows the truth to be the foundation and healing while leading them in love to reality. When our emotions are big or heightened, all sense of reality disappears, and survival kicks in.
Our emotions take over, and our reasoning shuts down.
The term “amygdala hijacking” was first used by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” to refer to an immediate and intense emotional reaction that’s out of proportion to the situation. In other words, it’s when someone seriously overreacts to something or someone.
Our amygdala, created by God, is designed to respond swiftly to a threat.
Helping someone deal with emotions biblically keeps them rooted in truth and love but also not running away from or hiding what’s happening inside them. Whatever they are going through inside may or may not make sense to us.
However, we have not gone through what they have gone through, so their triggers and reactions will differ. (This is another reason each person we come in contact with needs to be loved into truth, or we are no different than the world. We don’t water down the word. But we meet them where they are and take them with us instead of leaving them down.)
How Does the Bible Say to Deal with Emotions and Feelings
There must be a healthy balance of recognizing where we are emotionally without submitting to our emotions.
Often we live in the extreme of either/or. I am either sad or I am joyful. We excuse the reality that two can coexist, forcing us to hide a part of ourselves because we feel we should know better. To know ourselves better isn’t to say we are making much of ourselves. It recognizes how God designed us, wired us, and created us to think. Aka being human.
A healthy way to begin to deal with our emotions biblically is to start by saying things such as, “I am experiencing feelings of sadness right now.” Instead of saying, “I am sad.” One recognizes what we are experiencing, while the other labels it as an identity.
I feel like one is more objective while the other is taking ownership. The Bible never says we won’t have emotions or feelings. However, the Bible tells us how to control, manage, and care for our emotions and feelings.
Learning about spirit, soul, and body helps us to understand how God created our bodies to function and how our bodies also operate as one unit. This also gives us the ability to deal with our emotions biblically. (Read more extensively about spirit, soul, and body in my book Face Off with Your Feelings.)
One example is in Ephesians 4:26-27. It says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
This scripture tells us a few things:
Anger is an emotion. Paul doesn’t say don’t have anger.
Paul is telling us unmanaged anger can lead us to sin.
Paul gives a timeline but also a deadline to say, “Don’t let your anger go unresolved.”
Harboring anger can give place to the devil.
5 Ways to Deal with Emotions
I never knew how to communicate well. Most of the communication I saw was non-existent, high yelling voices, or conversation that led to separation.
I believe there is beauty in learning how to communicate well with others and learning how and when our bodies communicate with us. Dealing with our emotions biblically requires us to become aware of our thoughts and then integrate the word of God.
The more we are in tune with the Father and our soul (thought life/mind), the more we can control the reaction.
1. Take a moment to acknowledge anything that doesn’t feel quite right.
2. Identify what it is that doesn’t feel right. Name it and call it out so that you can begin to move through it.
3. You can accept what you are experiencing without it becoming a part of your identity.
4. Pay attention to what doesn’t feel right and what it is communicating with you. Why does it not feel right? Think of the root cause.
5. Have a conversation with God, trusted friends and family, or professional assistance.
Through our identity in Christ, we have the strength and power to process our emotions, put them into obedience to Christ, and deal with emotions biblically.
Learn more in my course Spiritual Growth Framework, where I walk women through how to trust God and grow their relationship with Him. (PS. We must address our whole body to give Him our whole self.)