The Next Time Your Emotions Take You Hostage, Try This

The past couple of weeks, my life has been busy, busy, busy. My days have been filled with long hours of manuscript revisions, traveling, speaking, working in my dad’s office, visiting with relatives, and so much more.

During all of this busyness, I’ve also been facing an emotionally confusing issue in a certain area of my life. Due to the combination of tiredness and busyness, I’ve been struggling to keep my thoughts and emotions under control.

I don’t have to be a “victim” to my thoughts and emotions.

Typically, I can focus my mind on Scripture (or prayer) and my thoughts and emotions get in check pretty quickly. Not this time though. For some reason, I’ve been in need of extra work to get a reign on my crazy thoughts.

I’m not the only girl who struggles with this, right?

Despite how weak or strong I’m currently feeling, I know that Bible commands me not to worry but to give thanks in all circumstances.

Philippians 4:6 says it this way, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Knowing the truth of that verse and actually applying it and putting it into action has been difficult recently. Do you ever go through seasons of struggle like this?

Two Questions to Battle Discouragement

Instead of standing by and giving into my thoughts and emotions, I’ve been kicking things into high gear and striving to honor God in this area of my life.

I’ve been spending extra time reading through one of my new favorite books by Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled: A Place of Quiet Rest. (I consider it a must read!)

As I was reading today, a small section jumped out at me. I think Nancy must have written it with me in mind. She said,

“When I encounter someone who is battling discouragement or depression, I often ask two questions: ‘Are you singing to the Lord?’ and ‘Are you memorizing Scripture?’ These two exercises are not some magical formula to make all our problems go away, but they do have incredible power to change our perspective and attitude toward the issues we are facing.”

This piece of wisdom popped out of the page and brought me loads of encouragement. I don’t have to be a “victim” to my thoughts and emotions. By the power of God I can do practical things that will revive and restore my thoughts, which will then direct my emotions.

Without wasting a second, I went about singing some of my favorite classic hymns. Immediately, my spirits were lifted, and I started to feel revived. I also started meditating on Psalm 23, which helped remind me of the truth of who God is.

From One Emotional Girl to Another . . .

As an emotional girl to emotional girls, I want to encourage you to give Nancy’s advice a try. Don’t give in to worry, fear, depression, or discouragement when it comes knocking at your door. Try singing great hymns (or praise songs) and meditate (that’s a fancy word for thinking about over and over) on passages like Psalm 23. You will be pleasantly shocked by the incredible results.

Are you singing to the Lord? Are you memorizing Scripture?

I know this will not be the last time I will face worry or discouragement in my own life. I know that confusing circumstances will be back in before I’m ready. With a solid plan of action, like this, I have nothing to fear. I know how to fight off crazy thoughts that can so easily turn into crazy emotions.

Are any of you girls struggling with worry, confusion, discouragement or depression? If so, how can you apply Nancy’s advice to your situation? Are you willing to give it a try?

I would love to hear how you have dealt with crazy emotions in the past. How could singing to the Lord and memorizing Scripture help in the future? Let’s carry on this conversation in the comments section below.

PS: For a chance to win A Place of Quiet Rest, be sure to hop back on the blog for Freebie Friday!

Psst . . . Are you a part of our Summer Book Club? If so, read up on Week One: Discernment. We will be discussing it next week.

About Author

Bethany Baird

After a brief experience in the modeling industry, Bethany’s eyes were opened to how self-absorbed and lost her generation of young women really are. She and her older sister were inspired to start a blog (www.GirlDefined.com) and wrote a book Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. Their passion is to help young women find God’s truth about beauty and womanhood and the freedom that comes from living a radically different life for Christ.

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  • Kayla

    Wow this is super helpful! Before I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t really do anything but be a victim. I will defiantly use this the next time I start to doubt,worry or fear!

  • Grace O

    Thank you so much for this post Bethany! This is exactly what I needed to hear today! 🙂

  • Clarissa

    Exactly! I’m taking a college introductory psychology class right now and this post flies right in the face of what psychology would say. Psychology makes you a victim to your emotions, but God’s word sets you free! The spirit gives you the strength to overcome the emotions that want to hold you hostage. It is the enemy’s trap, but we can trust God’s power to overcome even Satan’s biggest hurdle in our lives. God is so much more powerful than anything. After all, He is creator of the entire universe! He set the earth into place with His words; of course He can set our hearts into place where we ought to be in Him.

  • Elizabeth Williams

    A lot of us think that meditating isn’t for us and we can’t do it. But think about it. Like you said, meditating is just thinking about something over and over. The truth is, we’ve all mastered the art of meditation, it’s just WHAT we’re meditating on. For instance, I often meditate(without even realizing it) on my problems and worries. We have to keep on focus on God and His character 🙂

    • Jesusfreak17

      Amen! What great insight!

      • Elizabeth Williams

        Thanks 🙂

  • Susan Vasquez

    From one Emotional girl to the other WOW. This was no accident. I needed this today and happen to cone across it. My father passed away 2 years ago. This week my mother has been in the hospital very sick medically and depression. Me my oldest daughter starts High School and it seems that our relationship is growing apart. I’m doing my best to take my Family on a vacation since as a family we have only done this 3 times on 15 years. Then of course I’m struggling at my job trying to make a decision on what to do after 13 years. I’ve been praying and asking God for signs of his will or do I just jump out into faith that all our needs will be met. So as you can see I’m all over the place 🙂 and very emotional. I will Pray AND Sing PRAISE AND Worship I Need God’s help emotional and financially. Thank you ladies.

  • Mandy

    !!!
    I relate to this ALOT and I find it pretty sweet that you mentioned Philippians 4:6 & Psalm 23 because I also have been reading and thinking about those verses when I start to feel overwhelmed by how I feel. I find that getting out for a walk certainly helps me feel better, although not always. I’ve been struggling with this quite a bit lately actually and I find it hard to deal with because I don’t really understand what is going on myself. I remind myself that God does understand even when I do not and He will take care of me.

  • Christa

    Hi! Thank-you for this! I can really relate to this a lot! I’m struggling a lot with my own thoughts and emotions sometimes. I’m so tired of the same thing over and over with a battle I’m facing in my life. It’s not as bad as it used to be. This really hit home for me. I’d give it a try focusing on scripture more than my problems. I also struggle with still living at home when I should be out and living on my own with a full time job not still home. I usually hide my emotions then they come out in other ways by being snappy at people. The time I’m most happy is when I’m at work and when I’m at Jazzercise. It’s just hard to still be at home with the same problems of being antsy. This post helped! Thank-you!

  • Rebecca

    This is so encouraging! I have been really struggling with all kinds of emotions this year. Sometimes it’s so encouraging to know that I’m not the only one & to have a plan of attack. My mom has told me this same advice again and again and it has really helped me. Psalm 23 is also one of my go-to passages in these low times. 🙂 This post has just been such a great reminder of how to address these issues, and that I don’t have to be a victim of my emotions. <3

  • Becca<3

    Thank you for this amazing encouragement today! I’ve really felt like my life has been in a doldrums of sorts (especially with my academics and spiritual life), and thus I’ve been discouraged on multiple levels. This morning I worked out for the first time in weeks since the rowing season ended (which I had been struggling to do due to lack of self-discipline, and I was discouraged by that). At the last section of my workout I put on “Glory to God Forever” by Fee, and my spirits just lifted! I’ve really struggled with listening to a lot of secular music lately. Most of it is picked-up habit because that’s what’s played for workouts at practices. Does anyone have suggestions for really intense worship/CCM music that would be good for workouts? I don’t know, I just notice that a lot a good Christian music sounds almost too HAPPY and cheerful when you’re dying in the middle of a weight set…

    • Sarah Abbey

      I totally feel you! I’m pretty much in the exact same situation. It’s amazing to me how listening to secular music affects how I feel, even unconsciously. Sometimes I think it’s just that God’s truth is so good and so right that it leaves you feeling so free! Have you listened to any of Hillsong Young and Free? Their music has a nice beat to it and I’m pretty sure I’ve worked out to it in the past!

      • Becca<3

        I’ll be sure to try and get some more Hillsong, and I’ll look into Free:) Thanks!

    • Michelle_

      8Tracks.com has a lot of free playlists made by people. The user Jbear_4 has made a lot of popular Christian playlists, not sure if they’re good for getting into the workout mood though

      • Becca<3

        Awesome! Thanks:)

    • Lyndsay

      Try listening to Red, they are a christian rock band. There are also some christian rap artists like Lecrae or Tedashii that sound more like work out music. They’ve helped me in the past.

      • Becca<3

        Thank you!

  • Eliza Grace

    Thank you so much for this encouragement!
    This morning, as I start off my day with prayer, I confessed to God the worry, fears, and discouragement that I’m having for a while now. I asked Him to replace those with comfort and truth. Because I feel like I’m being defeated with fear and lies. After that conversation (of thanksgiving, confession, and request) with God, it gave me relief and confidence to face this day.

    Then few hours later, I read ‘this’. Really so just in time! The Lord is really amazing!

    I often struggle with worry and fear. As much as I hate to admit, I usually find myself worrying before I turn to God and to His Word. But I’m learning tho, I try to avoid worrying too much and always keeping in mind that God is and will always be there for me (so why not I turn to Him first?). That I must focus on the lesson it brings rather on the circumstance. I’ve been exercising that -memorizing scripture whenever I’m dealing with crazy emotions. And listening to gospel music and happy Christian songs with very encouraging message. It really is helpful!

  • Dancer on tip toe

    Thank you for writing this! I really needed this today! 🙂

  • From one emotional girl to another…Thank you for this encouragement today! I’m going to go sing some praises to my Lord now 🙂

    Grace, Faith, & Glitter

  • Jenny

    Thank you for this honest and encouraging post. I have been stuggling with my emotions as well recently. Either I end up overeating or mindlessy scrolling through my phone as a way to suppress my emotions. Even though I am aware of the frutility of my actions while I am doing them, it is difficult to stop. Crying out to Jesus is the only thing that really helps me. Latley I have been singing a lot to Jesus, but would like to start memorizing new scripture. Thank you again for the encoucouragement.

  • Kelly Overstreet

    What a Blessing! As I struggled with crazy emotions just last night. I let my tears flow, and I cried out to the Lord. I woke up this morning to read through Psalm 22, 23, and 24. I so need to renew my mind with good things, and not allow the Enemy to discourage with his fiery darts. Have to have on that Armor. Then I see this, which reinforces the truth. Thank you Lord for your answers to prayer, whether they come from you Word, or your servants. You are faithful! Thank you for this post.

  • Andrea

    The other day I realized my need to control everything. My boyfriend, my family, my horses. I wasn’t controlling outright, that other people noticed it, but I was controlling on the inside. If things didn’t go my way, I became extremely upset and mistreated those dearest to me. I was riding my horse one evening and prayed a simple prayer “God, take control of my emotions”. That night when I was praying, I held out my hand and gave up everything in my life to God, promising I wasn’t going to try to control everything and everybody around me anymore. It was very hard to give up, but God rewarded me with a special peace. I began to pray silently, “God, control my emotions”, whenever a negative or controlling thought entered my mind throughout the day. I was praying that prayer about 95% of the day it seemed! This morning I read in Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young) about letting the Spirit control your mind. And this afternoon…this post! I think God is encouraging me to continue on my journey.
    God says that what is in your heart will come out. What’s in your mind will come out, too, and affect those around you. That’s why I realized it was so important to control your thoughts. But you absolutely are going to fail 100% if you try it on your own. Believe me..been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and don’t have time to wash it (don’t know exactly what that means, but my friend uses it all the time. :P). Let God control your thoughts. Love you all<3

  • Brenda

    I got me here. Right now i am doing a lot of things at my home and church. And I’m happy, really, …But there is something bothering me. I’m fasting too seek God and to see what he wants me to do, career wise. I’m trying to be patient but its not easy..i don’t know..But I’ll try to do these things

  • genesis herrera

    i have these days all day..EVERY DAY!!! i try to remember to be happy in every circumstance i really do..but i feel like my day just always makes me feel so cranky and spiritually done. i always try to remember “ok, what is God trying to teach me hear?”
    But sometimes i feel like i get so overwhelmed that i just have to pillow scream, cry for a good 5 min, or Journal like crazy!! i go to counseling and therapy but someday i just feel done…i try to remember Psalm 126;5 ( or 3?) that says ” Those who plant in tears will harvest shouts of joy.” and i thank God 1 million because thats the only thing that gets me through my day 1 day at a time and holding on to jesus like a stress ball….. and i actually dose me good!!!!

  • Jessica

    This past week has been a very emotional one for me. My middle child physically attacked me and cursed me up and down. This year we have had a lot of problems with him, in and out of hospitals, children youth services, and a home based therapist. It hasn’t been an easy year. I have never leaned towards God as much as I have this year. But this past week my emotions got the best of me. I cried for 4 days straight, had suicidal thoughts, and spoke to our therapist. Reading this post just helped me to realize that there are others struggling with emotions. Thank you for posting. Very helpful information.

  • Franzi

    After a busy week I went completly discuraged and confused to a sportschampionsship with the children from the sportscenter that I am coaching. I got even more discuraged and exhausted at Saturday evening and couldn’t imagine to endure the whole Sunday coaching again. So I just took a walk and sat down somewhere in silence just listening to the nature around me and praing. I had my Bible with me and was reading after I finished praying and that was very encouraging for me. As I walked back I felt renewed and strengthened by the Lord.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Praise the Living God! Rejoicing with you at His faithfulness, Franzi!

      “Every day I will bless you and praise your name. I shall declare your mighty acts and
      on your wonderful works I will meditate. I will speak of the power of your
      awesome acts and will tell of your greatness. The Lord sustains all who fall,
      and raises up all who are bowed down (From Psalm 145).”

  • Sabrina

    This was honestly much needed. I’m so thankful I came across this. I recently have been dealing with some fear and anxiety but thankfully God has been giving me so much love lately. I highly recommend meditating on Jeremiah 29:11!