Jonah ran from God, when he got to the end of his rope he went back to God, then God recommissioned Jonah right back to Nineveh. Ouch, right? Running and hiding didn’t get help or change God’s will. Have you ever noticed the angry side of Jonah? This guys dramatics are as bad as a little girl with big emotions.
After the people of Nineveh changed God’s will about their destruction, Jonah was very angry.
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. Jonah 4:1
Why was he so angry? One would think that the saving of a nation would make a person happy. The fact that they repented from their sin and turned to God, should cause rejoicing not anger.
We serve a merciful God, this is a distinct trait of how loving and powerful He is. But Jonah is angered by God’s mercy.
I wonder if Jonah was taken back by his own reaction. God used him to be the instrument to show mercy to this land. God called him to do big things. I think this may be the greatest lesson of all for Jonah throughout this entire ordeal.
It was his pride that made him run away from the calling in the first place, it was his pride in waiting until he was at the end of his rope before calling out to God for help, and perhaps it was also his pride that pushed him to finally go to Nineveh after all. Maybe he wanted to be the center of attention as this land came so close to destruction. Perhaps he wanted more time to shine!
God knows every intent of our hearts. God saw that Jonah had a pride issue that needed to be brought out so he could then grow closer to God. Maybe Jonah wasn’t even completely aware of his own heart and God used the people of Nineveh to teach Jonah a little bit more about himself.
One thing is for certain, though, Jonah’s emotions were all over the place! This man is letting his emotions control him.
Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? Jonah 4:3-4*
And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. Jonah 4:6*
And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. Jonah 4:8* (*emphasis added)
Proverbs tells us that man who has no control over his spirit is like a city broken down and without walls (Proverbs 25:28). It is a city that is easy to be taken over by the enemy because there are no walls to protect it.
Having control over our spirit allows us to protect ourselves.
I don’t know about you but too often I am surprised at my own reactions in many situations. After everything is said and done, I often ask myself why I was so upset or why I reacted the way that I did. Wondering why on earth I didn’t have control over myself.
In the heat of the moment, it is so easy to allow the pressure to dictate our reactions, thus dictating our moods.
We don’t have to live this way!
We can be women who are controlled by the Spirit and not by our emotions!
It doesn’t do us any good to be angry, just like it didn’t do Jonah any good.
This has been an area in which I am constantly trying to improve myself. It’s easy to use the way you grew up, who your role models were and even what nationalities run through your veins as an excuse to allow yourself to act out of control. We need to own up to our sin, it doesn’t matter if we are a hot headed Italian or someone who grew up in a house full of yellers as our role models, we can and should aim to stay in control over our emotions.
How To Have Control Over Your Emotions
Realize that you are going to fail as you to try to improve.
You’re not going to win each and every battle. It’s the determination and willingness to change your behavior that keeps you moving forward when you fail. Give yourself grace (every day!) and keep working at it. Every time you have a victory, no matter how small, it will give you the confidence needed in order to see the change happening.
Realize that you can not be in control in your own strength.
Trying to change yourself without the help of God will get you nowhere while spinning in circles. We need His strength in order to change when it’s our own we will fail and ultimately give. We will begin to make excuses for our behavior (again!). We will start believing the lie that we can never change.
Have your quiet time.
Having your quiet time with the Lord every day will give you the strength from Him that you need. You will be more prone to watch your emotions throughout the day if you are praying about in the morning.
Add self-control to your daily prayer list. Tell the Lord your struggles and how you want to be in control. Ask Him to help you in this area. This sets you up for success. Every morning you’re confronted with your tendency to loose it and you’re reminding yourself how letting God be in control of your day will make it easier for you to be aware of your reactions.
Study the fruits of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Being Spirit controlled and walking in the Spirit every day takes work. You have to know what kinds of behaviors are involved in order to live this way. You can’t just say you want to be controlled by the Spirit without knowing what kinds of attributes it takes to live in such a way.
Memorize them, meditate on them, study out every fruit-then apply them to your life.
Take a breather.
Are your kids making you feel out of control? Did your husband say something that makes you fume? Is there a confrontation about to occur? Did you just get a nasty text from a friend? Take a breather instead of instantly responding. Get alone for five minutes to breath, and pray.
Taking this time out will help you to get your emotions under control before you blow up. This step is so important.
Know your triggers.
Figure out what exactly causes the chain reaction to your emotions getting the best of you. Is it hunger? Lack of sleep? A messy house? A bad behavior your child has? Every time you lose it, try to figure out if it’s a scenario that keeps occurring and make changes to eliminate it. Eat regularly, take a nap, set up a cleaning routine, whatever it is that will help you, do it.
One resource that I have found to be the best help to me in this area is Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued by . She gives you tools to help you make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions. She is real and you will find yourself relating to her stories throughout the book-I so love that about her writing! I have read this one a few times and I highly recommend it!
Being in control over your emotions is a hard skill but crucial to a peaceful life. We see men in the Bible struggle just as we do today, let that encourage you. Though, God plainly tells us that it does no good for us to so wildly out of control. Being Spirit-filled will allow you to have a more peaceful home because if mama ain’t happy nobodies happy. It will allow you to have a better reputation among your peers and will allow you to further your reach for Christ. It’s not easy but it so worth it, my friend!
Your turn! Do you struggle with letting your emotions get the best of you? In what ways do you try to be Spirit controlled instead of controlled by your emotions?
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