If you want to succeed in life, you must learn how to master your moods. When you have emotion that isn’t getting you where you want to go, you’ve got two options: You either change it, or you channel it.
Sometimes you need to change what you’re feeling.
Some emotions are so destructive, so damaging, so hurtful, so non-effective, the only thing you can do is change it. You’ve got to change what you’re feeling.
Philippians 2:5 says,
“Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ”(TLB).
Your attitude includes your emotions, so what you’re feeling should be the same as that of Jesus. You need to ask yourself,
“How would Jesus feel in this situation? Would Jesus get irritated with this waitress? No. Would Jesus yell at that person? No. Would Jesus be up all night, wringing his hands and worrying that it isn’t going to work out? No. Would Jesus be fearful? No.”
Then, you instantly dismiss any feeling that doesn’t make you more like Jesus. If Jesus wouldn’t respond to your wife with that emotion, then you shouldn’t, either. You drop that attitude, and you figure out what Jesus would do instead.
Sometimes you need to channel what you’re feeling.
When my son, Matthew, died, I entered into the deepest possible grief you can imagine. But my wife and I decided from the first moment that we were going to channel that grief for good and use our pain to help other people. That’s one of the reasons we host the annual conference on mental illness at Saddleback Church. I’m not about to waste a hurt I go through. I’m going to use it for good.
Your greatest ministry will not come out of your strengths and successes. Your greatest ministry could come out of your deepest pain.
What pain in your life are you using for good? If you have been in so much pain you didn’t even want to talk about it, then you need to learn to manage your emotions. You need to name the emotion, challenge it, and channel it if you’re not going to change it. Then, you use it for good.