As a single, I must admit that marriage is one topic we usually want to talk about. It’s a big desire within our hearts. But at times we get too preoccupied about this topic that we lose sight of other matters within our hearts. Yes, it’s a big concern that most singles have right now, but we need to remember that the heart has a lot of emotions that we need to learn how to handle as well.
One book in the bible contains lots of emotions. From emotions of joy and praise to emotions of sadness and despair – The book of Psalms. The Psalms are poems or songs that are meant to be read or sung. Psalms don’t just express emotion, but they also impart lessons that we can learn. It is to give instruction in line with the emotions they show.
When we look at Psalm 42, we learn how the Psalmist was able to handle his emotions or heart very well. Let’s look at the background of this Psalm. There are different emotions showed in this Psalm alone. From reading it, one would observe that there is a struggle – a spiritual depression.
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
The psalmist was experiencing a trial in his life. He is comparing himself to how a deer thirsts for water, just as how he thirsts for God – to be with and experience God once again. He is at a time in his life that crying is no longer new to him. Day and night he cries and compares tears to food, as if it was a regular part of his life. Mockers have surrounded him and the psalmist is looking for a solution – the answer to the mockery he is experiencing.
3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
The struggle seems to be so overwhelming that he feels like he’s drowning. It is like being overwhelmed with the power of a wave that you have no control over, and if you would compare that to his trial he does not have any control over what is happening around him.
7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
Truly, there are so many emotions in this psalm but you would see that it was handled properly. Here are three ways how to manage your emotion and not be overwhelmed by it.
(1) Respond and not React
Rather than reacting wrongly, he responded. When people react, it seems to be defensive and in our reactions, our emotions usually take the central role. Responding though, is more thoughtful. You respond by processing things which restore the balance, rather than being controlled by too much emotion. You include logic into it. He responded through the series of verses in this Psalm.
|Remembering the Past||4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
|Assuring Oneself||5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him|
|Acknowledging the Lord||6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
|Holding on to who God is||8 The Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.|
|Assuring Oneself Again||11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.|
(2) Be Honest about your emotions
The point where you just bare your soul to God. What does this mean? This shows how you understand the Lord. God knows everything, so why do we need to tell him what we feel? When we are moved, when our emotions are overflowing and we can’t contain it anymore – He wants you to unload all of it to Him! We need to understand we can tell him everything
God’s love wasn’t earned – it was given freely. Therefore, nothing you can do or say will also negate it.
(3) Preach to yourself
Talk to yourself! See the example of the Psalmist in verse 5
5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
When we learn to talk to ourselves we learn how to embed God’s word deep within our souls. That’s why it is important to know God’s word in order to battle your emotions with it. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it perfectly.
Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says,: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression
I know it is not easy when you’re carrying so much emotion in our heart. This is why it is important to be firmly rooted on God’s word, that it may be our guardrail for the heart. In the end, the designed response of the heart is Worship. We manage our emotions by responding and not reacting, being honest to God about it and preaching to ourselves. We want our hearts to just glorify God and worship Him. May we learn to handle our hearts well so it will always lead to a response of worship.
How about you? How do you manage your emotions?
Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in B1G South Connect entitled “Reactions of the Heart”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.