Lord's Day Liturgy

Holes Punched on Your Frequent Sadness Card

When it comes to more typical (rather than traumatic) emotional control problems, we considered that some of the problem is what we want. We want/covet the wrong things or the right things for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we want the right things at the wrong time. This leads to a consideration of emotional control while we wait.

Life is waiting, and God is not surprised by that. He invented the concept as much as He created time to begin with. He determines how fast or slow it goes, and His Word is filled with the call: wait.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
(Psalm 27:14, ESV)

Waiting assumes a better situation, and that you’re (perhaps painfully) aware of it. You know. You want it to be over, and you’re thinking about it being over. That’s what waiting is about. Dinner will be good but it’s still the middle of the afternoon; giving birth will be a joyful relief but you’re only in the first trimester; surgery will be helpful but it’s not even scheduled; getting married will be quite a celebration but you’re only fourteen; Christmas will be great but it’s still November. You have to wait. It is possible to want these things without coveting, but it is also to want them now and complain.

Not everyone needs to know that you know, though. Say your current situation is so bad that you’ve committed some fasting time to it. Do you want it to be past the problem, or could you be satisfied with others thinking you’re a spiritual person for fasting about a problem? Lower your standard and you can have your reward (Matthew 6:16-18). Or, don’t let them know, which includes not whining.

Prayer is part of emotional control; make your requests (for something better) to God with thanks (Philippians 4:6). Maybe someone will think you don’t realize how bad it is because you’re thankful, but you’ll know how hard the battle was to be so thankful. If you are not praying at all, how do you expect to glorify God for His answer, and/or for His strength for your rejoicing in heaviness (1 Peter 1:6)?

Seeking counsel (to get to something better) can also be helpful for emotional control, but seeking more holes punched on your frequent sadness card from soft hearts is like putting the wrong cream on your rash; you’re just going to make it worse. Likewise, ignoring the (wise/tough) counsel that tells you the problem is you, as in your wants or your timing, sets you up for feeling like no one understands you, which makes you very understandably in danger of thinking your hurt feelings are a virtue.

They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31, ESV)