How to neutralize an unpleasant emotion

The fruit of the Spirit is joy and peace. So… what do we do with our unpleasant emotions (anxiety, loneliness, shame, invalidation, hopelessness and so on)?

Let’s start here. Are we honest enough to admit that we have them? I sure do. I have my moments of internal panic or dread. I have moments when I wish I could crawl into a paper bag and disappear forever. And many times in the past I have felt friendless and all alone.

If peace and joy are fruit of God’s Spirit, then you’d think that getting rid of these rotten feelings would be Christianity 101, right?

But I was a Christian for over three decades before anyone explained to me how to neutralize these unpleasant emotions. Before that I did what I suspect most people do—I went into denial.

Me? Afraid? No way! Lonely? I’m fine. Shame? What’s that? I put on my Sunday smile, and all was well. Shape up! Fake it ’til you make it. Faith before feeling. Yada yada.

But then I learned a surprisingly different way to deal with these nasty disruptions to my equanimity.

There’s a long story behind this, but let me cut to the chase: I’d like to share with you a simplified version of the process I learned. Maybe it will help you when you have those “human” moments that all of us have.

It’s all here, on this one-page guide:

Bible trivia:
Answer from last time: Kish and Jesse were both fathers of Israeli kings.
New question: Joseph and Mary were residents of Nazareth. So why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?

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