Why Am I So Emotional?
We all have days when we feel more emotional than other days, and there may be many reasons why. Perhaps you didn’t sleep well the night before, or you ate something that lowered your blood sugar or that you were allergic to. The
occasional emotional day is something we don’t have to be too concerned about.
If Dave has a day like that, he never tries to figure it out. He simply says, “This
too shall pass.”
Sometimes we feel emotional because something upset us the day before and
we didn’t resolve it. We are often guilty of stuffing things down inside us rather
than dealing with them. If you are a person who avoids confrontation, you can have a soul full of unresolved issues that need closure before emotional
wholeness will come. I remember a night when I was unable to sleep, which is
unusual for me. Finally, around five in the morning, I asked God what was
wrong with me. Immediately I recalled a situation from the day before. I had
been rude to someone and instead of apologizing to them and asking God to
forgive me, I rushed through the situation and on to the next thing I needed to do. Obviously, my wrong conduct was irritating my spirit, even though my conscious mind had buried it. As soon as I asked God to forgive me and made a decision to apologize to the person, I was able to go to sleep.
If you feel unusually sad or as if you are carrying a heavy burden you don’t
understand, ask God what is wrong before you start assuming things. It is
amazing what we can learn by simply asking God for an answer and being
willing to face any truth He might reveal about us or our behavior. Sometimes
we feel emotional because of something someone has done to us or an
unpleasant circumstance in our lives. But at other times we feel that way because
of something we did wrong and ignored.
When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through
When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through
my groaning all the day long.
If someone has a long history of out-of-balance emotional behavior, they may
have many issues they need to face, perhaps even long-standing problems that go as far back as childhood. Jesus gave us the first principle to remember
concerning stable emotional health when He said, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Without confrontation of painful issues from the past, it is impossible to go
forward with a healthy soul. My father sexually abused me, and once I realized
no one was going to help me, I decided that I would survive until I was eighteen
and could leave home, which I did. I left and thought the problem was over, but
it took another thirteen years to realize that the problem was still in my soul. It
was affecting my personality and how I dealt with everyone and everything in
my life. I had to begin my journey of healing by being willing to look at the
problem inside me rather than blaming all my problems on someone else.
I even had to stop blaming them on my father and all the people who had not
helped me. Even though what they did to me or didn’t do to help was the source
of my problem and the reason why my behavior was emotionally erratic rather
than stable, I had to take responsibility for the changes that needed to be made in me. Always remember that blaming does no good, and it does not help you enjoy freedom and wholeness. God wanted to help me, but I had to ask Him to do so and be willing to let the wonderful Holy Spirit walk me through several years of healing. God’s Word is the truth that eventually set me free from the pain of my past and gave me emotional stability. I pray that the term “emotional stability” sounds wonderful to you and that you will believe you can have it and be unwilling to do without it.
I eventually learned that hurting people hurt people. And once I realized that
my father hurt me because he was sick inside, I was able to forgive him. I
learned that what happened to me did not have to define who I was. My past
could not control my future unless I allowed it to. I learned that I was filled with shame from the past and was partially blaming myself, but what happened to me was not my fault. Guilt was my constant companion, as well as fear and worry. I suffered from many other soul sicknesses as well, but the point is that each of them had to be faced with God’s help, and as they were, healing came in each area.
Picture several different-colored shoestrings tied together in knots, each one representing a different problem in your life. If you handed them to someone and said, “Please untie this mess,” it would take awhile because the strings would have to be worked on one at a time. I have a necklace that is made up of several thin chains with crosses hanging off them at different places, and it tends to get very tangled when it is not being worn. Each time I decide to wear it, I have to exercise patience to get it untangled. The Bible says that the promises of God are
realized through faith and patience (see Heb. 10:36). You can recover from your
past pain, from things that have been done to you and mistakes that you have
made, but it will require an investment of time on your part. You can either
continue to invest in your misery, or you can begin to invest in your healing!
You will invest in something as you live your life, so make sure it is something
that will pay dividends you will enjoy.
Thousands of times in my life I asked, “Why do I feel this way?” but I was
not doing anything about it. I was merely confused and acted out my feelings
rather than trying to get any kind of help. The world is filled with people who do
this all the time, and they are trying to interact with one another in relationships
that either don’t work at all or are very dysfunctional at best.
It is possible to understand some of the reasons why we feel the way we do,
but the most important thing is for us to stop defending our bad behavior. We
must surrender all excuses because as long as we use the past to manipulate
people and situations, we will never be free from it. I frequently used my past as
an excuse for bad behavior, but I had to come to a place where I was willing to
confront and deal with past issues properly in order to have change.
One of the ways God taught me to deal with the past was by confessing His
promises instead of talking about how I felt. I remember one time standing in
front of the mirror and saying something like this out loud: “My parents did not
really love me, and they never will simply because they don’t know how to. But God does love me, and I do not have to spend my life mourning over something I can’t do anything about. I will not waste my life trying to get something from my parents that they will never know how to give me. The fact that they abused me was not my fault. I was a victim, but I will not remain one. I will be healthy emotionally and whole in my soul. God is helping me, and every day I am making progress.”
We all have painful issues from the past that we must grapple with. They
weren’t our fault, and it isn’t fair that we should suffer because of other people’s behavior. Perhaps you were teased mercilessly as a child and still feel insecure or extra sensitive because of that old pain. Maybe someone you loved left you without explanation. Whatever the source of your pain, God loves you. You don’t have to spend your life mourning over something you can’t do anything about! God will help you… He’s waiting to help you.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Moment
Your future has no room for your past, and I encourage you not to get stuck in a
moment or a time frame in your life that is over. Millions of people miss today
because either they refuse to let go of the past or they worry about the future.
The things that happened to me or to millions of others in life are unfortunate to say the least. Such abuses are painful and they do affect us, but we can recover.
God is a Redeemer and a Restorer. He promises to restore our souls, and He will —if we invite Him in and cooperate with His healing process in our lives.
The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me
beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my
self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right
standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
When this Psalm says that He makes us lie down and leads us beside still and
restful waters, it reminds me of our coming to the place where we finally stop running from the past and simply make a decision to face it and receive healing. We spend time with God in His Word and presence, learning that He has offered us a new life, one that is filled with wholeness for our spirits, minds, wills, and emotions. When the soul is healthy and restored, it brings physical health to us too.
Many sicknesses and diseases today are the result of internal stress. No
matter how many doctors we see or how much medicine we take, we may be
only dealing with symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem.
It Just Isn’t Fair Sadly, the world is filled with injustices. People go to prison for things they did not do. One of my uncles spent twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit. His wife, who did commit the crime, confessed right before she died,and he was released. But sadly, by then he had tuberculosis and lived only a few more years. I remember that my uncle was always a very kind man and seemed to have no bitterness at all about that great injustice. I believe his difficult life,lived with an attitude of forgiveness, gave God more glory than someone who has a great life but is never content. Our suffering does not please God, but when we have a good attitude in the midst of suffering, it does please and glorify Him.
Having a good attitude while we are waiting for God to bring justice into our
lives makes the waiting time more bearable. Children die, spouses die, husbands and wives are sometimes unfaithful, and wives are battered. We face issues of homelessness, starvation, natural disasters, and many other unspeakable injustices. But in the midst of it all, Jesus is beautiful and He is a God who brings justice. Life isn’t fair, but God is. He heals the brokenhearted and their wounds and bruises. We may not know why things happen the way they do, but we can know God. We can know His love,
forgiveness, and mercy. When we are sad and emotionally distraught, one of the
very simple yet profound things that helps is this: to look at and be thankful for the good things we do have, rather than dwelling on the injustices we’ve
suffered. You might think, I’ve heard that a thousand times! But are you doing
it?! Knowledge without action is useless.
Life isn’t fair, but God is. He heals the
brokenhearted and their wounds and bruises. We may not know why things happen the way they do, but we can know God. Many people are treated unjustly; they do not deserve the pain they experience, but I am so glad that even when I go through ugly, painful things, I do have Jesus in my life to help and strengthen me. Through His guidance we can be burned but not become bitter. When we are hurt we will have emotions about it. We may feel angry, frustrated, discouraged, or depressed, but we do not have to let any of those feelings control us. We can manage our emotions with God’s help.
When we are hurting emotionally, it is easy to think we will never recover. But once again, I encourage you not to get stuck in a moment in time. Perhaps you did not have a good start in life, but I promise you that you can have a good finish. Hope will release joy into your life. It is never too late to begin again. Let go of the past and take a step into the good life that God sent His Son, Jesus, to purchase for you.
How Much of My Behavior Is Just My Personality?
People tend to be very different from one another in how they act and respond to
particular situations. This has been studied in depth, and four basic personality
types have been identified. Some people have a personality that is more
emotional than others; this group is called sanguine. Sanguine people are
cheerfully optimistic, and they are the life of the party, talkative and passionate.
They tend not to be as naturally disciplined and organized as some of the other personality types. They don’t merely feel and express excitement; they are passionately excited and enthusiastic, especially about things they enjoy. The other three personality types are choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholy. While we all possess elements of more than one of these personality types, most people have a dominant type that is prevalent in their personality. No wonder it’s hard for all of us different people to try to get along together! The choleric or type A person is strong in his approach to life. We might say he does everything with a bang! He is definite and emphatic about what he
wants. When cholerics make mistakes, they are usually loud mistakes. They
make quick decisions, are confident, and are born to lead. They want to control
and have a tendency to be bossy. They are goal-oriented and find value in
accomplishment. The choleric person can get a lot done in life, but he can also
leave a trail of wounded people along the way. Thankfully, God can use our
strengths and help us discipline our weaknesses if we give Him control. We can learn to have Spirit-controlled temperaments. In case you have not already realized it, I am a strong choleric. Dave is mainly phlegmatic. He is more easygoing and not emotional at all. He is very logical, which is not only a trait of his personality type, but a trait that is inherent in most men. Dave is very patient and can wait forever for things to happen. He never worries; he is never tormented by guilt. There are a few things in life, like his golf and football games and not taking vacations in cold places, that he is very definite about, but mostly he is agreeable to whatever I want to do. As he says himself, he is adaptable. It is interesting to note that frequently a choleric marries a phlegmatic. They are opposites, but each has something the other needs. Then we have the melancholy people. They are creative, talented, and highly organized. They need a plan! They love lists! Some of them tend to be easily depressed and discouraged. They need lots of encouragement, especially about their accomplishments. Quite often a melancholy person will marry a sanguine and the war is on until they learn the art of blending and benefiting from each other’s strengths while being long-suffering with the weaknesses.
Choleric people are often irritated by the bubbly sanguine because they have
things to accomplish and are very serious about their goals. The sanguine has a goal to enjoy life and have fun. Sanguine people are a bit random and don’t do well with schedules. If they made a list at all, they probably would not know where it was if they needed it.
An employee and good friend of mine is a wonderful, bubbly sanguine
person. She also happens to be my hairstylist, and when she is doing my hair, in forty-five minutes I find out about all of her neighbors, their pets, sicknesses, and automobiles. I learn about what she saw on the way to work and get a full weather and traffic report. I know how much pollen is in the air. If I ask for a receipt she has, she pulls a wad of stuff out of her purse and begins to rummage through it. Sometimes she finds the receipt; often she doesn’t. She talks and talks and laughs, and eventually I tell her I have had enough and she will be quiet for a few minutes—and then she starts all over again. But I love and enjoy her! We are different, but we need each other. She keeps me from being so intense, and I keep her from being dangerously disorganized. She has a phone, but I am surprised when she answers it, while I on the other hand take mine with me to the bathroom.
Being around a sanguine person for too long can get on my nerves, but I am
sure that I get on their nerves too. Deep melancholies are a bit difficult for most
choleric people too. Their strengths are vital to us, but their need for perfection
can be a bit overwhelming.
All the personality types have strengths and weaknesses. As I said, most of us
have a blend of personality traits. We have one that is more prominent and a bit of one or more of the others. Out of 40 test points, I am 38 points choleric, 1
point phlegmatic, and 1 point sanguine. My husband is phlegmatic, choleric at
times, and also melancholy when it comes to his stuff being kept in order. You just don’t want to mess with Dave’s stuff. He carries a bag of golf hats when we travel, and if anyone squashes them, we pray for them quickly because you just don’t mess with Dave’s golf hats. Golf hats are not important to me, but they are important to him. Likewise, there are many things that are important to me that don’t matter to him at all. We have learned to respect each other’s differences rather than striving to change each other.
Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and thankfully God gives us the
ability to get along if we are willing to learn about our differences and show real love to one another.
What’s Your Type?
One of the most valuable things in life is to know yourself. If you are sanguine,
then just know that you will need to be careful not to let your emotions lead your life.
Don’t purchase things emotionally, talk emotionally, eat emotionally, or
make serious decisions too quickly. Think about what you are doing before
making commitments and crave balance rather than allowing your emotions to
control you. Why do you feel the way you feel? It could be your temperament,
but don’t use it as an excuse to let emotions rule you. If you are choleric, be cautious that you don’t try to control situations and people. If you are melancholy, your mind can give you a lot of trouble because you think a lot and want everything done in a very specific way. If you are phlegmatic, you may need to confront things you would rather ignore, or get up and do some things around the house when you would rather just sit in the chair. All of us need to strive for balance in all things.
I mentioned that personality tests reveal that I have one point of the sanguine
temperament, which means I tend to be more serious and not very humorous, yet
when I teach and preach God’s Word, people tell me that I am very funny. This
proves that as we allow God to control our personalities, we become more
balanced. I might have a tendency to be too serious, but God flowing through me
makes me funny. I love how God helps us in every weakness if we let Him.
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened
and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit
[Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
I have included a list of books on the subject of personalities at the back of
this book in case you want to learn more about the basic types and their strengths
and weaknesses. Studying in this area has helped me immensely to get along
well with and appreciate people of all temperaments.
The apostle Paul stated that he had learned to be all things to all people. I
believe we can learn how to give people what they need if we understand them. I
also believe we can do better at managing our emotions if we understand ourselves.
Many of the answers to the “why?” questions in life are found in simply
understanding more about yourself.
Decision and confession: Whatever my personality type, I will remember that I
am now a new person in Christ.