How to Overcome Negative Emotions

Despite currently communicating my thoughts in writing and for anyone to see, I used to be much more guarded.  I would only share if among my closest friends. Also, any number of other criteria needed to be checked off my self-created mental list of what would deem a situation safe enough to discuss what was on my heart. You may be thinking this girl has some trust issues.  You wouldn’t be wrong. God’s working on that, too, dear reader, but as I was saying…

I attended a women’s retreat and was placed in a small group with only two other individuals: one of my best friends and the retreat’s guest speaker, a woman who had gone to seminary with our pastor. In other words, all boxes in aforementioned mental checklist were checked to the Nth degree, and my brain told my heart it was safe enough to share (or did my heart tell my brain?). Leave it to God to create such a space at such a time when those listening could not only be trusted but offer life-changing counsel as well.  

Once in that safe little bubble, I shared that I had been feeling guilty about the life I used to lead and was trying to grow away from. I had been feeling guilty over all the time I wasted away. I even felt guilty for feeling guilty.  I knew better! Needless to say, I­­ was guilt-ridden about all the things, and I had dared not tell another soul about all this pent up guilt until then. 

How could I genuinely lead the life I was being called to live if I had such a negative thought pattern holding me captive to my past?

In typical pastor fashion, the guest speaker in my very small group tried to coax a solution out of me as opposed to just telling me what my issue was. I totally fell for it.  She asked where my guilt came from.  Not quite picking up what she was putting down, I guessed the source of my guilt was a nun who had taught me in Catholic school. Spoiler alert: that wasn’t it. 

She gently pushed a little more. “God doesn’t want you to feel this guilt. If it doesn’t come from God, where does it come from?”  Just like that, literal dots were being literally connected by literal lines all over the place…figuratively speaking…and I responded by blurting out, “It comes from Satan?!?!”

She knowingly smiled and explained how if something comes from the enemy it cannot come from God. She prompted me to call the guilt out by name and declare that it would not have a place in my life any longer. That was easy! If it wasn’t from God, and I knew it wasn’t (knowing is the hard part, sometimes), then I surely didn’t want any part of it!

I declared, “Guilt, you no longer have a hold on me.”  And guess what?  It didn’t.  From that moment on, I have been liberated to peacefully and simultaneously co-exist with the knowledge of who I once was and who God continually calls me to be. 

Bonus: You can apply the latter practice to anything at all which is not from Him: call it by name and declare its hold on you defeated. Once the emotion or fallacy from the enemy is recognized, called out and conquered, replace it with this truth:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5


Father God, thank you for orchestrating moments in my life which can only be composed by your loving hands.  Thank you for the people you put in my path, whether for a lifetime, a season, or just a few hours.  Thank you for the ability to get to know you better through your Word and through fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is in knowing you better that I can better know your voice and discern it from the enemy’s.  If something is not aligned with your will for my life, please awaken me to what that could be and remove whatever may be getting in my way. 

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name,


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