Today, while I’m still recovering from a recent surgery, friend and blogger Terri Hutchinson is stepping in to share her wisdom on how to manage our emotional world. I met Terri back in in 2017 at a She Speaks conference, and we’ve remained in touch ever since. I hope you’ll check out her bio below and make her feel welcome by commenting, as well as sharing her wise post all around the web!
Welcome to fall, and to hurricane season!
I like to call it “beauty and the beast” season.
Because I live in South Carolina, hurricanes get my attention. Storms, in general, fascinate me. I can remember, as a little girl, my dad and I monitoring a green-gray sky, showcasing an ominous funnel cloud. Very eerie and intriguing, to say the least.
With the onset of hurricane season, I’m contemplating how storms manifest within nature and within myself. As weather can be predicted and tracked, I wonder if I can predict, and manage, my internal turmoil before it develops into a destructive storm damaging another’s spirit?
I believe I can if I’m mindful of the signs.
In nature, atmospheric changes create weather disturbances, and we’re familiar with the signs. Treetops begin to sway. Birds become silent. Winds become strong. A deep rumble. A brilliant, jagged light. Crack! Boom! The power of any storm is directly related to the amount of energy available to it.
What energy source creates inner turmoil?
Perhaps, it’s when we want to be frustrated, irritated, or discontented. Or, it’s wanting to be offended and watching to find fault. Negative emotions and thoughts are the catalysts, and the energy source, sustaining inner turmoil.
For example, a negative mindset begins with a slight irritation transforming into a persistent frustration, turning into a smoldering infuriation, and, subsequently, unleashed in a burst of anger.
It’s a chain reaction I have experienced much too often. Maybe, you’re familiar with it as well.
Here’s what I know. I get to control the effort I put into being discontented, dissatisfied, and angry. It is my responsibility to take control of what’s going on inside my head and heart. And I can choose to manage my internal dialogue de-escalating irritation and frustration. By doing so, I remove the power source.
Of course, I have to want to.
Sometimes, I don’t want to control my thoughts or emotions. Don’t I have a right to express hurt, disappointment, and resentment? Why do I have to control the storm within myself when it seems my husband doesn’t do the same?
We know the answers to these questions. I’m responsible for me, and I’m accountable to Jesus.
Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel” (NIV).
Turmoil stirs, whereas peace calms.
The proverb raises a question: Do I want to be a wife, a woman, who brings calm and peace to my conversations and interactions?
Of course, I do!
Jesus knows I can and it’s not an impossible thing for me. When I listen to my heart, identify triggers, and initiate self-control, I take charge of the turmoil and negative energy sources.
It’s taken time for me to get on board with Jesus’ way: a slow-to-anger, peacemaker mindset. Too long, I followed my family’s example, slamming doors, going silent, or letting my mouth be an instrument of hurt.
The urge to revert to old ways always tempts me, so I take the storm to Jesus.
Who better to calm the storm within me? Since there’s no hiding my heart from him, I might as well lay it wide open.
Here’s what I do. Whatever is in my heart, I say aloud, such as: “Did you hear him? Did you see what happened?” Next, I tell Jesus what I want, or wanted, to say in retaliation. I let it out, and it’s not pretty. But what comes next is amazing!
By releasing the anger, turmoil is de-energized. I move from a place of anger to a position of confession. Then I confess in order to realign myself with Christ. I let Him help me work through my annoyance, frustration, and anger before I attempt to work it out with my husband.
Thankfully, I’m making progress and doing better with the practice of taking the peace-path.
The peace path involves …
- Deliberate choices
Managing our thoughts and emotions is a daily practice. Daily.
Choosing tenderness over anger won’t always come instinctively. We’ll forget to activate self-control, or won’t care to do so. We’ll want to stay hurt, mad, or dissatisfied. In those times, we’ll face the truth of our choices, take it to Jesus, confess, and fine-tune our radar.
Just as weathercasters rely on radar to predict storms, we rely on the Holy Spirit who identifies and tracks turmoil within us. Our act of stillness lets us hear the Spirit’s warning and guidance.
Three Steps to De-escalate Frustration and Turmoil Within …
1. Listen to Yourself
Tuning in to our thoughts and verbalizations reveals much about the atmosphere within us. Tune in, so you may recognize the early clues of irritation and frustration. Hold yourself accountable and submit the negative to Christ.
Here are some telltale signs to watch and listen for: a curt response, accusation, sarcasm, assuming negative intent, silence, glares, avoidance, rejection, a disrespectful retort or gestures.
2. Identify Triggers
Pay attention to trigger events sparking annoyance or dissatisfaction. Ask yourself why you feel this way. Questions like these help to tease out truths.
I store my frustration from work while at work, but I let it come out in odd ways once I’m at home. My husband, too, had a very high-stress job and he did the same. We know it’s not fair to the other. Self-control goes out the window as we release the pressure within.
Often, we want to let loose the negativity stored inside because we’re tired of stuffing. Self-control is not stuffing. It’s choosing a proper avenue to express negative feelings. We can find respectful ways to express discontentment and dissatisfaction. When, where, and how are all critical to consider.
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” —Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
The end goal is storm neutralization.
You’ll know you’re becoming a storm neutralizer when you …
- Perceive the signs of internal turmoil and want to take control, before it escalates.
- Slow down to listen to your internal dialogue, and how it’s energizing turbulent emotions.
- Assess for trigger events and determine if you’re triggering your spouse’s frustration.
- Desire to find common ground bringing peace to the moment.
- Choose not to justify your position, but desire meaningful conversation to move the issue forward to resolution.
In every attempt we take to transform ourselves more and more into the likeness of Christ, we have to ask for His help. We can ask over and over because Jesus wants us to succeed!
Peace to you,
Terri Hutchinson is a wife, nurse, and believer in Jesus Christ who recently relocated to South Carolina. Be sure to check out her blog at Heartsencouraged.com, where she writes about and advocates for holistic wellness—mind, body, and spirit. You can also find more of her encouragement and inspiration on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Reference: How Tornadoes Gain Power
What is one of the first internal signs you notice that a storm is brewing within?
Which of the three steps Terri shared above do you want to give more focus to in your life?
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Kingdom Bloggers, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements Linkup, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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