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How do you handle tension when you feel the urge to ride the emotional wave? Is there truly a way to turn those dark feelings around? Is there a way to put on the brakes?
Can you possibly hop off that surf board and make it to shore safely?
From “I don’t feel like it” to, “I’m waiting, Lord”
Even if you think you can’t, you can work toward short-term goals.
- If your tension is anger-related, your goal may be to nip those feelings in the bud before they sprout.
- If your tension is depression-related, your goal might be to resist caving into those dark feelings.
- If your tension triggers worry, your goal is to not become obsessed with fear.
Whatever tension you’re facing has an equal and opposite reaction to what you usually do, right?
But when we’re facing stress, the obvious reaction is the gut reaction; the fight or flight tendency. Which usually boils down to anxiety over being unable to control the situation. It’s tough to handle tension.
How would you handle tension in these scenarios?
- Your two-year-old throws a tantrum, ignoring reason.
- Your sister-in-law treats you rudely
- Your husband wonders aloud why the house is a wreck.
- Your doctor calls with unfavorable test results.
These situations and more press in, causing us to react.
How we want to handle tension, however, isn’t necessarily how we should react. And a large part of that has to do with our feelings.
So how do we get from:
“I don’t FEEL like reacting in grace, faith, humility, kindness, courage, (etc.)
“I choose to handle tension without anger. I CHOOSE to react without fearfulness”?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things.
Matthew 7:7-11, NKJV
Repetition builds character when learning to handle tension
You’ve probably heard the above verse a hundred times, right? But have you considered why Jesus repeated Himself by rephrasing these commands?
Actually, He didn’t.
These three words each mean to pursue God, yet each one more earnestly and in a different aspect than the last!
Represent your wants and burdens to God, and refer yourselves to Him for support and supply, according to His promise. ~Matthew Henry Commentary[We are to turn to God and ask for that trait He has already promised!]
We must second our prayers with our endeavors; we must…seek for that which we ask for…God gives knowledge and grace to those that search the Scriptures, and wait at Wisdom’s gates; and power against sin to those that avoid the occasions of it. ~Matthew Henry[This means putting faith over feelings with the intent to discern righteous responses.]
We must come to God’s door; must ask importunately; not only pray, but plead and wrestle with God; we must seek diligently; we must continue knocking; must persevere in prayer; and in the use of means, must endure to the end of duty. ~Matthew Henry[Continuing in an attitude of prayer, relying on Christ’s strength to carry out righteous responses.]
You see? It’s a deep dive effort! This asking, seeking, and knocking is not a one-and-done thing. It’s not a quick fix or a magic rabbit’s foot, but a continual leaning on God’s presence, humbly acknowledging His way is THE way.
“Every right thing I ever prayed for God has already promised to do” ~Chuck Smith
The key to discipline is delayed gratification, and the key to delayed gratification is advanced decision making. ~Chip Ingram
We live in a quick-fix society. We want drive-thru solutions. Now more than ever, we must slow down and realize that “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen Thy heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord” means we must deny “quick fix” urges and allow the Holy Spirit to work inner discipline.
And so, here’s a 60-second Temper Tamer Checklist, based on the “ask, seek, knock” principle. And even though it’s a temper checklist, it can apply to other areas as well – such as fear, frustration, anxiety, etc.
We have to start somewhere! This 60-second boost is the boost that keeps on giving – the “ask, seek, knock” principle!
So hop aboard, mama. Get ready for the deep dive!