Was My Emotional Response Appropriate? 

by Tracy McCarter Tuesday, November 17, 2009
In his new book Why Did God Give Us Emotions?, author Reneau Peurifoy discusses six steps to managing our emotions effectively. After more than two decades as a therapist and teacher, Reneau Peurifoy has become a master at reducing complex ideas into simple, easy-to-understand terms and applying them to daily life. He holds a Master’s in counseling and attended Fuller Theological Seminary. Peurifoy was in private practice for twenty years (1980–2000) as a marriage and family therapist specializing in anxiety disorders. He retired from private practice in 2000 and is currently teaching at Heald College in Sacramento, California.

Q: What are some steps we can take to manage our emotions effectively?

A: When you experience emotions that seem overwhelming or puzzling or when you have responded to a situation in an ungodly or self-defeating way, be sure to ask God to open your heart and mind to His guidance before you begin.

Step 1: What Am I Feeling?
Clearly identify what emotion you experienced. Be sure to use words that describe true emotions. If you are working with an inappropriate behavior, identify what you were feeling just before you reacted.

Step 2: What Triggered this Emotion?
Most emotions are a response to needs and wants being met, a threat or a loss that has been experienced. Once you identify what you felt, the easiest way to identify the need or want that triggered it is to ask yourself, “What did I want in this situation?” or “If I could control events, what should have happened?”

Step 3: Was My Emotional Response Appropriate?
Decide if the response was a logical response. If there was a real threat, then some level of anger or fear would be appropriate. If a loss occurred, sadness would be appropriate. Ask yourself if the level of the emotion fit the situation. If the emotion was logical and at an appropriate level of intensity, go on to the next step. If not, you will need to look deeper for any hidden needs, unbiblical forms of thinking, core beliefs, or conditioned responses that triggered the response.

Step 4: Were the Actions I Took Appropriate?
Most of the time, simply asking yourself the question, “Was my behavior something that glorified God?” is enough. However, if you are not sure, talk to someone who is mature in the Lord. This might be a fellow believer or a pastor. An objective third person is often helpful in looking at your behavior more clearly.

Step 5: What Does God Want Me to Learn from This?
Because we are experts at rationalizing our responses, this is often the most difficult step. However, if you ask God with a sincere heart to help you see what He wants you to learn from this experience, He will reveal it to you. Be willing to allow God to lead you to those things in your life that are keeping you distant from Him and need His healing touch such as fear, pride, resentment, self-importance, emotional wounds or sin that you are reluctant to give up.

Step 6: Is There Some Action I Need to Take?
Strong emotions always indicate a need to take action. Sometimes the action involves dealing with unresolved hurts from the past, ungodly beliefs, pride, or sin in your life. This is especially true if you identified issues like this in Steps 3 or 5. Other times, your emotions are signaling that you need to take some other type of action. If you have clearly identified a need or want that is reasonable and doesn‘t violate what has been revealed in Scripture, ask God to help you plan actions that will please Him.
Sometimes the required action has to do with setting limits or confronting someone. Sometimes it involves making changes in your life or pursing something your heart desires that you have been ignoring. If it is difficult for you to identify actions you can take that would be appropriate and pleasing to God, seek the counsel of other believers or your pastor.

Why Did God Give Us Emotions? by Reneau Peurifoy
LifeSkills Publications September 15, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-929437-16-3/240 pages/softcover/$16.95
www.rpeurifoy.com www.whyemotions.com

0    submitted by Tracy McCarter
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