Did you know you have an emotional habit, and that habit is determining your reaction to most everything in your life? And let me assure you, your reaction to life often determines your experience in life. You can spend your days stressed, anxious, frustrated and overwhelmed, but that would be your choice. It’s your choice to either remain in your emotional habits, or create new ones. God has given you the ability to choose.
So Sis, if what you’ve been feeling hasn’t really been working for you, would you consider working on choosing a new emotional habit? Yes? Great … I’ll teach you how!
You naturally respond to the unfolding of life out of your current habit. If you always freak out when things go wrong, then freaking out when the next thing goes wrong will just happen without your thought or intention. If you always receive change with a negative perspective, the next change is guaranteed to appear negative to you. If you always stress over the details and fret about what could go wrong, stress and fret are continually on your doorstep and you just can’t seem to hide from them.
But, just because it’s always been this way for you, doesn’t mean it has to continue to be this way for you. Without intervention, it will certainly continue, and likely even grow, but you can create a new emotional habit and respond to your life differently, thus creating a new experience.
Would you like to be perpetually positive? Would you like to find the good in everything? Would you like to see God’s fingerprints on every detail and feel peace in knowing he’s working on your behalf? Do you want to dwell in peace? Do you want to wake up with joy instead of overwhelm, and go to bed feeling blessed instead of stressed?
Maybe you don’t have to wait for the circumstances in your life to change, maybe you just need to work on a new emotional habit, and Sis, that’s completely within your control today!
How many of you have lived long enough to know things don’t always go as planned? Doors don’t always open. Mountains don’t always move. Battles don’t always just disappear. But scripture shows us examples of emotional habits derived from faith that allow joy to be present even in the hardship. For strength to continue down the hallway of closed doors to find the one that has been opened for you. To put on your boots and climb the mountains that won’t move. To show up for battles you don’t really want to fight, but walk away in victory.
James 1: 2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Nobody likes trials, but trusting in the mighty hand of God to guide you through every single thing that is and is to come, will bring you to pure joy. Yes, pure joy, because you can anticipate the goodness God will create as he works it all together. Yes, pure joy, because you know even this trial will help you grow into exactly who God created you to be.
Whatever you’re going through right now, it’s not useless nonsense. God allowed this because he knew he could work in it. He knew ultimately more good would come out of it, and good is always his plan.
Putting this in very practical terms, understand that you can literally train yourself to get excited when things don’t go your way. You can be filled with anticipation with every closed door. Why? Because it means there’s a better door for you opening on down the hallway. It means your way wasn’t as good as God’s way, so he intervened on your behalf.
Instead of saying ‘thank you’, we throw our little hissy fits and pity parties. Nooooooo girl. Stop that. Misery doesn’t look good on you. You were made to be powerful, not pitiful. This didn’t just happen to you, it happened for you. For purposes you cannot see and reasons you cannot understand. But you are being called into a faith journey to believe God is working for you, and you can always count on him to work in marvelous, mysterious, and often thoroughly confusing ways. You’re not going to figure this out. You’re not going to per-determine it. But you can flow with it in faith and watch his good plans unfold as you choose to dwell in pure joy during it all. Why? Because you understand God is doing a work in you, and through his work you will lack nothing.
Oh I know that sounds like some Pollyanna crap just blowing smoke up your skirt, but it’s actually faith in action allowing you to experience life as God intended it for you.
What isn’t working for you right now? What door seems to be perpetually closed? What battle just won’t go away? What mountain refuses to be moved? What good plans have been cancelled for you?
If your emotional habit is negative, God is empowering you to change that now. He’s inviting you into an advanced level training course to show you exactly how nothing has to rock your joy or steal your peace. Nothing has to stop your forward progress or derail your purpose.
Look at David. Little shepherd boy David just delivering lunch to his brothers, when he encounters a giant named Goliath. He could have freaked out. He could have believed the stories in his own head that told him he was too little and too insignificant to do anything. He could have ran and hid. But David had been in the fields with his sheep where he had been protecting them from the predators.
1 Samuel 17: 35, David says “I have been keeping my father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck and killed it.”
Oh hot dang, look at that, David had grown to be courageous and bold, defending what he cared for. He had a new emotional habit of going straight toward the enemy and taking it down, so Goliath would be no different. Without stress, anxiety, fear or overwhelm, he picked up 5 smooth stones and faced his giant. Just as he went after the bear or lion, he went after this giant named Goliath, and the enemy came tumbling down.
This battle would have gone radically different if David’s emotional habit had been different. And let me tell you something my sister, your battle will go radically different if your emotional habit changes. What would happen if you actually believed the things God says about you? That you are powerful beyond belief, that you are chosen and equipped, that you are overflowing with potential and designed for a purpose.
What would happen if you stopped running from your battles, but instead you courageously do everything you can with exactly what you have? Would giants fall? Would battles be won? Would the entire trajectory of your life change? You bet your butt it would!
I used to worry and stress over the weather for our BIG Life Retreats. It was one thing I couldn’t control, and the wrong weather would ruin all my good plans. So, I prayed and I prayed hard. I rebuked bad weather in the name of Jesus. And let me tell you, there have been plenty of retreats where no amount of praying made the bad weather avoid us. But you know what God showed me … he showed me he could be trusted when my plans fell apart. He was in the details, even when the details weren’t what I asked for.
The retreats where we jumped in mud puddles with rain boots, yeah, those are the most memorable. The ones where we were huddled together on a houseboat in 50 degree temperatures, trading in our plans for floating in the sunshine on oversized flamingos and unicorns, and instead frying porkchops and feasting on peach cobbler while playing an aggressive game of spoons … yeah, those are the ones we couldn’t have planned and WOULDN’T have planned, but realized we were living in a sweet and unexpected blessing of God in those moments.
So, I no longer stress about the weather. I pray for what I think I want, then I stop worrying about it. I trust that the God who holds the whole world in his hand, yet has his eye on me, will surely care for every detail of my life. And when those details don’t align with my initial desires, I intentionally choose my emotion. I start looking on down the hallway for the better he has awaiting for me. Not with anxiety. Not with worry. Not with disappointment. No, with eager anticipation, knowing God is always up to something divinely designed for goodness.
So Sis, join me in walking on by the closed door and counting it pure joy to move on down the hallway where God surely has something better opening for you. This can become your new emotional habit.
Would that change your life? Would it save you a whole lot of wasted days and worthless worry that resulted in absolutely zero worthwhile winnings? Yes, yes it would.
Now go ahead and start practicing, because you have a new habit to create. A habit that allows you to see the good when the seemingly bad happens. A habit that allows you to count the hardship as pure joy, just as scripture tells us we can. A habit that protects your peace.
David wasn’t looking for a battle, but he was destined for victory. He had an emotional habit of courageously showing up, no matter how hard the battle, and doing what he could with what he had.
You too are destined for victory. You now have a choice to create your new emotional habit of courageously showing up, no matter how hard the battle, and doing what you can with what you have. Go ahead and eagerly anticipate God showing up and doing everything you can’t!