• johned@aibi.ph

Dealing With Jagged Emotions

When Jim hears a certain song he suddenly feels insecure, rejected and unstable. The song reminds him of his ex-wife and the kids. Its full of pain for him. Pain that comes out of left field and can leave him hurting and crippled inside. These "jagged emotions" can seriously hinder our lives and leave us unable to function. I will share with you six strategies I have found effective in dealing with painful emotions.

1.Calling on God on the basis of His character and His word. This is the main tactic adopted by the people that wrote the Psalms.

(Psa 40:1-3 NKJV) I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. {2} He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. {3} He has put a new song in my mouth; Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.They tell God their troubles and then "wait patiently" as He hears their cry.

They are sure that God is good and they turn their problems and pain over to Him. They are confident of His noticing their pain and dealing with it.

(Psa 56:8 NKJV) You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

Waiting on God in trust is appropriate for people suffering persecution, grief, divorce, financial insecurity or other long term pain that has "no immediate solution". Such people need "the eternal perspective" on their troubles and it can be a real relief and comfort in their pain.

2.Deal with guilt through confession and cleansing with the blood of Jesus. Some emotional pain is our fault and due to our own willful sin. That was certainly so for David in Psalms 32 and 51 and he only found emotional healing after he confessed his sin and dealt with it appropriately before God.

(Psa 51:1-3 NKJV) Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.

You may only find healing for some things when you confess them, seek forgiveness and make any necessary restitution required. Secular counselors tend to treat all guilt as pathological - but God has given us a conscience. There is such a thing as appropriate guilt that we should deal with through confession etc. If your painful emotion is guilt then come to Jesus now and He will forgive you (1 John 1:9)

(Suggestions 3, 4, and 5 are connected...)

3.Talking to your spiritual condition and "naming the emotion". This is not infrequent in Scripture and is done in both happy and sad times. The admonition "bless the Lord O my soul." is well known. However here we will give a couple of instances where people named their pain.

(Psa 42:11 NKJV) Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

(Jer 4:19 NKJV) O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.

Once the pain is named it can be dealt with. God can be sought out and the problem taken to Jesus for healing. Naming the pain is appropriate when we are "clogged up with emotion" and confused. It suddenly seems so much easier once we can "get a handle on things".

4.Understanding the difference between our memories, our emotions and our beliefs.A certain memory may elicit a painful emotion every time it is recalled. But the pain of the memory, the memory itself and your beliefs about the memory are in fact three separate things! When you are healed you will be able to recall that memory without emotional pain! That may seem extraordinary to you now but it is true and thousands of people can testify to it. The brain stores the visual component of the memory - the events etc and the emotional part, separately. We can see this is true by the fact that the feelings about an event can change while the recollection of the event remains the same. Or on the other hand people with intensely painful memories will edit the scene in their minds thus the emotion remains the same while the memory changes. There is actually no link between event and emotion other than associations and beliefs. There is no causal connection.

What is causing your pain all these years later are the embedded lies that are strongly associated with the memory. Lies like "this proves you are worthless", "you are so unclean!", "you are always going to be a failure" and so forth. To find out what the embedded lie is just ask yourself -"What is this painful memory telling me about myself - if it could speak what would it say to me". Write down the lie and tackle it with the truth of God's Word. So we see that in any painful memory there are at least three components 1. The event 2. The emotion 3. Embedded lies and valuations that flow from the event and are associated with its memory.

5.Deal with emotions and embedded lies in quite different fashions. Lies are dealt with by confronting them with the truth. Emotions are dealt with by telling them to go away. When the lies are dealt with a lot of the source of the emotional pain is corrected. The remaining emotions are then so detached from reality that we can dismiss them like we dismiss a bad mood when we have to concentrate on some work. Here is a possible Christian approach to correcting embedded lies and dismissing the remaining painful emotions. To correct the embedded lies confront them with the truths of God's Word, the love of Jesus Christ and any words He gives you about the situation. To dismiss the painful emotion do so with definite authority in the name and power of Jesus Christ. This also deals with any spiritual component, any attack from the Devil, associated with the painful emotion.

Let's put this together with "naming the emotion" in a case of deep but inappropriate guilt. The person could say something like "False guilt you are based in a lie! I was the victim - not the perpetrator, I am not guilty and I refuse to accept this false guilt. I am not bad or wicked, in fact God loves me and delights in me as His child. Falseguilt flee from me and never return. I command this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen". Many find that this works for them. Of course it can be varied for different emotions such as fear, anger, resentment etc.

6.Realise that there may be a spiritual component to the pain. It is not uncommon to find emotional dis-integration amongst people who are involved with Ouija boards, pendulum divination, magic, crystal ball gazing, tarot and astrology. The "deeper" into the occult they go the more psychic pain can flow forth as a result. The occult seems capable of being very cruel and predatory to people and their emotions. If you are involved in the occult in any way "renounce the Devil and all his works" destroying all objects associated with your involvement in the occult. If you have been the subjects of curses, blood pacts, vows or oaths of any kind ( a surprising number of people have) then renounce that pact or curse breaking it in the name of Jesus Christ. If you feel you need more information on this go to the following article on the occult. You will find considerable "cleanness" and emotional peace when you fully forsake the occult.


There are many other approaches to dealing with painful emotions that I have not covered here. The common thread of all six approaches is that they are grounded in a biblical understanding of the sources of emotional pain and how it can be cured. I have seen these "techniques" work. They do help people. What you will need is discernment on when and where to use each one. Sometimes you may use them all together. However it would be inappropriate to call on God and wait if you are involved in the occult. What you need there is repentance and a breaking off of your involvement. Neither would you use a spiritual approach like number 6 to help a Christian suffering from divorce. That requires the person to cast themselves on God and wait. It may also need some repentance. So we see that we can use each of these six techniques either alone or together, with discernment, to tackle the "jagged emotions" of life.


This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.