Do you have a sinking sickness inside that no one can diagnosis because it's not really a physical illness? You just don't feel like everything is quite right? It could be that your negative emotions are actually making you sick, like mine were.
There's an interesting verse that says, "A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but passion and envy are like rottenness to the bones," (Prov. 14:30, AMP). The Message really brings it down to where we live, saying, "runaway emotions corrode the bones. The New Living Translation says these types of negative emotions are like "cancer in the bones."
Our runaway emotions can make us feel sick inside. Sometimes it's like a kick in the stomach. Sometimes it appears like nagging headaches we can't get rid of. It makes us feel we are on the verge of becoming ill or like our bones are aching, and even though we don't, we are afraid we have the onset of some horrible disease such as cancer.
We are emotionally sick or, as some doctors have said, emotionally ill. It's not the type of emotional illness a psychiatrist might diagnose, though. It is a very spiritual issue.
Emotions Can Be Good
Emotions themselves are not the problem, though. God gave us emotions so we could experience this world in all of its abundance. They help us weave together a tapestry of life where we would never know the height of joy if we did not experience the depths of sorrow.
Those who are healthy emotionally don't hide their emotions, but are willing to feel them deeply and profoundly, share them with God and with others without shame or regret. They embrace their emotions as a part of their lives, not as a burden or something they need to hide.
Solomon, the writer of Proverbs, is talking about negative emotions, such as jealousy, anger, frustration, unforgiveness and even fear. These are the runaway emotions that we allow to run roughshod over our minds, hearts and bodies.
When that happens, there is either a general malaise that falls over us or a shroud of mistrust that we cannot get rid of. It has become part of us and so we live our lives carrying the pain of what has been done to us, what we are afraid will be done to us or what we wish we could be but feel we never will be.
We try to overpower these emotions by enacting some sort of revenge to make the person or persons we are jealous of, angry at or afraid of pay for just living and being who they are. This never works. Most of the time even if they knew our feelings they have moved on, and really don't care that we are seething inside.
Runaway emotions. are kinds of feelings that we just can't let go. We can't get away from them. No matter how hard we try, we keep rehearsing the scenario that happened over and over and over in our minds trying to make it come out differently or trying to figure out how that person will be punished by God for how they made us feel
The more we do that, the more the issue gets stuck in our minds because, of course, there is no solution except simply to forgive the person and move on. Instead, we let these runaway emotions dominate every corner of our minds.
This leads to stress and overwhelm because we can't concentrate on what we're supposed to be doing when we're trying to fix any situation that has already happened. Sometimes these aren't even our problems. Sometimes, we borrow our husband's, children's or friend's problems to stress over.
The Overflow of Uncontrolled Emotions
Then stressing for a lot of us leads to the one thing we can do: We end up gorging ourselves with food. For me, it was always desserts or other high-carbohydrate foods. This does just what the Scripture said. It corrodes our bones, which means to dissolve or destroy slowly. The Proverbs verse stops short here though, because for me this problem was gradually, but surely killing me.
As a coach, I talk to many women who have food issues. For most of them, issues from their past that they have never dealt with are overwhelming their daily lives to the point that they aren't even aware that it is not normal to feel that way.
Every time I am able to get close and personal with them, when they pull back the curtain enough to lay all their cards on the table, the problem stems from something in their childhood. They may think it's an ex-husband, a runaway child or their last boss, but most of the time those presenting issues are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Core Issue
When we get down to what is really bothering them, to what they really want, it is they want to be and feel healthy. Proverbs 14:30 in The Passion Translation says a tender and tranquil will make us healthy. The Message says a sound mind makes for a healthy body.
Sound mind should sound familiar. In 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP, Paul said, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline, abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control."
Paul is letting us know that the sound mind or judgment that God has given us requires something of us to make sure it is implemented. Personal discipline is one of those. (See Success from Failure.) So when our minds keep perseverating over hurts done to us or our loved ones, we must discipline ourselves to take those though captive.
Outsmarting Our Minds
I learned to do it this way. "God, I'm rehearsing how I can solve this problem again. Instead I choose to take this thought captive, hand it to You, let it go and think about the next thing on my to-do list." Sometimes I realize rehearsing these crazy scenarios is just one of my procrastination techniques. (See Procrastination and Weight Loss.)
When I start thinking of it again, I repeat my prayer again until pretty soon my mind gets tired of me doing that and leaves me alone. When I do this, I'm basically outsmarting my mind. I trained it to rehearse that problem. Now, I have to train it to think of something more productive.
Suffice it to say that losing weight was much easier when I stopped trying to solve all my problems and everyone else's. That nagging sick feeling that something just isn't right has gone away, along with 250 pounds of unwanted weight.
My Version of Proverbs 14:30
For what it's worth, here's my composite version of Proverbs 14:30. This helps me understand this verse better to be able to apply it to my life:
"A tender, tranquil heart and a sound mind, which comes from personal discipline and self-control, will make your body healthy, but jealousy and other runaway emotions corrode your bones and destroy your body."
Instead of hiding those runaway emotions or stuffing with food to keep them quiet, it's time to take control of them in Jesus' name.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of five books and two study guides, including her latest, Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy, and her No. 1 best-seller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. She is also a blogger, spiritual weight loss coach (check out her coaching group, Overcomers Academy) and speaker at TeresaShieldsParker.com.
This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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