Party planning really isn’t my thing. I don’t care for colour schemes and décor decisions make me want to eat a whole box of donuts. But growing up, there was one party I could throw like no one else.
I didn’t need a cake (maybe some ice cream). I didn’t need a theme (just a reason). I didn’t even need invitations, because no one else was invited (though everyone was aware it was happening).
I was queen of the pity party…
Seriously, I was so good that Pinterest should have been taking notes.
Confession: Sometimes I still feel like a little girl, and all I want to do is throw myself a pity party. Maybe you can relate.
I got married recently, proving once again that God is good and He works miracles (my husband is really hot). A few weeks ago I spent the morning being a domestic goddess. After four hours of Crock Pot and cleaning, my house was a dream and I was so excited for my husband to acknowledge my Proverbs 31-ness.
To my disappointment, when he got home, there was no mention of Proverbs, or my cleaning, or my cooking. Suddenly my excitement shattered and out came the balloons for my pity party. My sentences became sassy, then my answers became allusive, and finally my silence became deafening. I was so caught up in my own feelings that I couldn’t see the confusion in his.
My husband didn’t know what had happened, but he knew it wasn’t good, so he quickly left, frustrated at my frustration. I had gone from feeling excited to disappointed to angry to lonely in the space of a few minutes… And I had allowed what I did to be based on how I felt every time.
It didn’t take long for my emotions to turn to embarrassment, so I called my friend (who has navigated marriage longer than my five seconds) to get some sympathy. She laughed and told me that I was wrong and needed to apologise. Ugh, that was not what I felt like doing, but I knew she was right. So finally, rather than embracing the emotions of my ego, I rose to the responsibility of my role as a wife, a friend, and simply as a Christian. I took down the balloons, turned off the violins, and put away the ice cream. This pity party was over.
When my husband arrived home, I apologized, and we talked about how our emotions so often cloud reality, and when we let them, we are doing the enemy’s work for him.
Because following our feelings is one of the most effective tools the enemy uses on us. So how do we fight back? Here are four thoughts to exit the emotion, return to reality, and make the devil mad:
1. Acknowledge the Emotion
Some days my emotions feel so overwhelming that all I want to do is cuddle, cry, and eat carbs. Other days my emotions feel so inconvenient that I want to pretend they don’t exist… But neither indulging nor ignoring our emotions is the answer. Dealing with our emotions doesn’t begin when we act on them, but when we acknowledge them. King David was never afraid to tell God what he was feeling:
I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember? - Psalm 119:25 (MSG)
2. Ask Jesus In
David never left a conversation with God without asking for help. When we invite the Holy Spirit into our emotions, He will never rush us through the process, but He will always be quick to show us the way out. He is so kind like that.
3. Answer with Gratitude
Sometimes my emotions take my thoughts hostage, so I have to take my thoughts to the Truth. Philippians 4:8 is a great inventory to keep our thoughts in check.
Philippians 4:8 (ERV)
“…Continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”
When I first started this, I was throwing out bad thoughts like Leonardo DiCaprio throws $100 bills, I wondered if I would have anything left! But it wasn’t long before I remembered that my husband came home the other day because he forgot to pray for me, and then I thought about the texts he sends me to check in, and the secrets he entrusts me with, and the house he cleaned while I was away, and the Crock Pot dinner he made (full circle y’all!). Suddenly, a smile broke out on my face.
4. Adjust the Attitude
We may not be able to control the situation, but we can control how we respond. And when we set our mind on gratitude rather than frustration, it’s amazing how quickly our face changes. Often I am surprised at how my attitude adjustment can be the very thing that turns a situation around.
The enemy wants us to fuel our frustration, converse with our condemnation, and have a date with our disappointment. He knows that if we stay in our emotions, we stand in our own way, and he has to do very little.
So today, make the devil mad by rising above your feelings. Smile, it declares your authority more than you even know.
Elyse is a writer, pastor, and international speaker. Her experiences of life as a pastor’s kid have led Elyse to write her first book “Confessions of a Church Kid.” Elyse now resides in Los Angeles, working with young adults and ministering as one of the pastors at Oasis Church in Downtown Hollywood. Connect with Elyse on her blog.