Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Living Beyond Your Feelings, by Joyce Meyer

I figured my last post was rather sad and so I should post something a little more upbeat. :) I finished reading "Living Beyond Your Feelings", by Joyce Meyer last night. Adam and I got it during my mini staycation, where we enjoyed 4 days/nights with no children! Yes, NO children! Altho I love my children, it was nice to live life with minimal responsibilities for a time!

I got this book because I was looking for a book on grief, and I wanted something that was Christian based. This book doesn't really handle grief, but it does have a section on handling loss, which was helpful. But the book, as a whole, was very helpful and encouraging in all areas of my life.

Because, even tho I'm pretty quiet....I'm very emotionally driven.

Joyce tells candidly stories about her own life and how she struggled with her emotions. The truth is, every day we have the decision to make when we wake up: Will we make today a good day, or will we focus on all of the negative things? Will we let our day choose how we feel about it, or will we be proactive? I admit that 99% of the time, I wake up, start my day....and then my day is either good or bad based on what happened that day. If it was a pretty relaxed day....then, yay, I had a good day! If it was stressful or I had to deal with something I didn't want to, then it became a bad day, fast. And the whole household knows about it!!!

Emotions are neither sin or not sin....they just are. Some are good emotions, but most of what we focus on in our lives are bad emotions. Stress, anger, depression....The sin comes in in how we deal with our emotions. How we handle our negative emotions can bring grief or glory to God.

Joyce talks about having conversations with yourself. And I think it's something I'm going to implement. I need to remind myself of how I should react to change, stress, or unexpected drama. This stuff is going to happen, and being upset and 'camping out' in my feelings up stress or anger or depression isn't going to fix anything. One thing that she teaches that I'm REALLY going to implement (so if I don't do this, call me out on it...in LOVE!!), is to end each grievance with a positive. Don't deny what you are going through, but don't end it on a negative note. I have tried this and it works. In the Psalms, David did this all of the time. It reminds us that even tho we are dealing with unwelcome circumstances, we recognize God's sovereignty. For instance, someone may ask me about my headaches, and I can tell them, "Yeah, they are still bad (not denying them), but I slept good last night and woke up pain free today. (positive end on it)."

Another thing is to remember that hurting people hurt people, and to believe the best out of every situation. I'm one for blowing up things in my head. I take someone being mad at something and I act it out in my head. Like I 'think' (i say 'think' because usually it's all in my head!) that someone is mad at me, because of how they respond to a text or email....but really they aren't and are just busy or had to be short for some reason OTHER than me! But in my mind, they are upset with me and then my mind goes thru the paranoia....."Oh gosh, they are mad at me! Why? I don't think I did anything to offend them? If they are mad at me, then that's just silly!" and so on...until I really feel feelings of anger and bitterness towards them and the situation. (Ugly truth). So I'm going to STOP that, and try to believe the best of every person, and believe that if someone is really upset with me, then they will tell me in love. This quote says it all, "...thinking about things that gives us stress can cause the same reaction as if we were actually experiencing the stressful event."--Joyce Meyer, pg. 240.

The final thing that really stuck out to me, is being thankful in all things. It kinda goes back to point #1, and I know I've talked about it before...but how easy I forget! When my prayers become laundry lists, and become monotone repeats of the days before....I need to remember WHO I'm talking to! I think it's easy to fall into this trap because on most days we don't hear from God like we do a friend, and we as moms are busy!!!, but we are talking to the Creator of everything....doesn't He deserve to actually have a conversation with us? One thing I'm working on is talking to God like I do my best friend (because, isn't He??) and reminding myself to thank Him in all things. To thank Him for bread and home and my comfy bed. To thank Him for my kids and hardworking husband. To thank Him for my season of grief....yes, because if I didn't grieve, then I would not of had such a deep friendship to grieve over! All things, even seasons we'd rather forget, are reasons to be thankful!

Anyways, there is much more in this book that I did not cover, but I hope my "three point sermon" on it was encouraging to you! I think this is one book that is going to reside on my bookshelf for future reference! :)

And if you catch me NOT living out these principles, REMIND me!!! I want to really change, to be more joyful and positive!