Mastering Our Emotions

One of my favorite quotes is from Flourish’s very own, Kathy Litton. She led a breakout session at the Velocity 2013 Conference regarding the influence a wife has on her husband, and her statement still has my mind processing. Here it is:

The discipline of our emotions is found in the training of our responses.

Do you, like me, ever find yourself spouting off answers or demands only to regret your words an hour later?   Have you, like me, ever wished you could go back in time and change your reaction to a challenging moment? Like when our kids push our buttons or our husband (knowingly or unknowingly) hurts us?  Yet, these aren’t the only areas that trip us up. Leadership (as well as parenting, marriage, friendship, etc) often brings situations that invite surly responses and negative emotions. Let me give you some examples.

I spoke with a pastor’s wife who was dealing with a divisive faction of people who were causing trouble in her church. She was hurt and defensive, and it showed as she vented about her frustrations to other people in her church.

Another lady at the conference was distracted during one of the breakout sessions by a few volunteers who were whispering in the back of the room. She grew frustrated, and within moments she wrote a passive aggressive note to silence them. She left a bad impression on the volunteers who were mortified that they had been a distraction.

And, yet another woman shared the indignation she felt as her current church withheld its blessing for her husband to plant a new church….in the same town. Her emotions were getting the better of her and she struggled with bitterness against people she once loved and served.

These stories are nothing new. I have these conversations multiple times each month. The names change but the stories remain the same: Life throws us curves, and we respond in the moment with our emotions leading the charge!

Ladies, leadership brings burdens. It comes with the territory. But, we must train ourselves to measure our responses in ways that honor God, protect our listeners, and leave ourselves blameless before God. If we do….if we can actually train ourselves to silence our tongue until we have time to process the moment….then we just might find that our emotions no longer rule the day. Instead, we might discover we can live by James 1:19-20:

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You all must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Published January 1, 2012