This is a framework which will take you just 10 minutes each morning and each evening, yet has great POWER to bring transformation on the journey to emotional health! The POWER of 10 (minutes). “Every morning thank God for his love and every evening thank him for his faithfulness.” Psalm 92:2
Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God. 6 I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your billows have swept over me. 8 The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night— a prayer to the God of my life. Ps 42:5-8 CSB
We can learn a lot from the psalmist when it comes to dealing with emotions in a healthy way as we continue the journey to emotional health.
The writer processes in a RELATIONAL context
He is being vulnerable; he is opening his heart. Scripture invites us to Cast your burdens unto the LORD (Ps 55:22) and also to carry one another’s burdens. (Gal 6:2) . The problem with self-help (when there is no one else involved) is that you don’t know when you are deceived!
We are created to be in community, and vulnerability is key to this.
He RECOGNIZES there is something going on inside
He is not putting on a public face that is misaligned with his private feelings. Many times we recognise something is going on, but we may be unsure of what to do next. Read on.
Emotions are REAL and authentic
He names what he is feeling and experiencing – dejected, turmoil, deeply depressed… Although linked, there is a difference between what we think and what we feel. As someone once said, when you name it, you can tame it.
The psalmist REFLECTS on his emotion
He asks “Why?” Why am I feeling this way? Why did I react that way? That takes some time, space and focus.
He RESPONDS in an intentional way
His views his emotions are indicators, not instructors. They are not in control; while he validates them, he’s not being led by them
and he is not trying to control them. In other words he’s not trying to deny nor repress the. Rather, he is regulating them – allowing himself to feel them and processing them in a healthy way by vulnerable, authentic, aware. He set’s the direction: “While I feel despondent, I choose to declare God’s praise!”
He RECORDS his journey
The fact that we are reading Psalm 42 shows he wrote it down. Here’re three helpful reasons to write
- Consolidate memories and adds clarity to our thoughts
- Track progress (it’s easy to forget how far we have come)
- Identify patterns and triggers which we usually don’t see when without a broader perspective
Take the first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes of your day to apply these steps. Some say these are the most important minutes of the day, and some structure brings stability.
Find a quiet space, with no distractions. Set a timer for 10 minutes so that you don’t have to keep checking the time. Read a few verses from the Bible to bring focus, for example, you could read a Proverb that corresponds to the day of the month. Rick Warren Tip – keep it open next to your bed, that way you’re less likely to skip over this.
Remember David processed in conversation with God – it is a relational context. Ps 23:1 The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. (TPT) Prayerfully invite God to be with you in this moment. Imagine God saying to you “I love you and I’m so glad to be with you in this moment, no matter what you are feeling” You are alone, with God, in the quiet.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you begin to notice what bubbles up inside. Ps 139 – the psalmist writes “search my heart, and reveal…” What are you feeling or becoming aware of?
Name and describe what you are feeling as specifically as you can. This takes some practice, don’t be discouraged. Keep at it. You have permission to feel negative emotions!
Ask yourself Why do I feel this way? Or Why did I react that way today? Who do I feel this way around? What in particular made me feel this way? When do I feel like this? Where do I feel this way? Who, what, when, where, why are great guiding questions.
Make a decision not to dwell on the negative emotion, nor let it control you. You are not ignoring the emotion but embracing it and then choosing to replace it. Choose to meditate on a truth from God’s word. Thank God for his grace that helps you transform step by step.
Keep a daily journal of what you are feeling and experiencing. If this seems daunting, perhaps start with just one sentence a day, and feel free to be creative. Use colours and pictures!
As we open our hearts up, grow in vulnerability and authenticity, we will grow in maturity and empathy, and be effective in the mission that God calls us to! Onward we go on the journey to emotional health!
“A redemptive community consists not of robots but of mature people who know how to live together and who know how to live with God” Dallas Willard