Mastering Our Emotions

One of my favorite quotes is from Kathy Litton, Director of Ministry to Pastors’ Wives for the North American Mission Board.  She led a breakout session at the Velocity 2013 Conference regarding the influence a wife has on her husband, and her statement still has my mind processing.  Here it is:

“The discipline of our emotions is found in the training of our responses.”

Do you, like me, ever find yourself spouting off answers or demands only to regret your words an hour later?  Have you, like me, ever wished you could go back in time and change your reaction to a challenging moment?  Like when our kids push our buttons or our husband (knowingly or unknowingly) hurts us?  Yet, these aren’t the only areas that trip us up.  Leadership (as well as parenting, marriage, friendship, etc) often brings situations that invite surly responses and negative emotions.

Recently I spoke with one woman who was dealing with a divisive faction of people who were causing trouble in her church.  She was hurt and defensive, and it showed.

Another lady at the conference was distracted during one of the breakout sessions by a few volunteers who were whispering in the back of the room.  She grew frustrated, and within moments she wrote a passive aggressive note to silence them.  She left a bad impression on the volunteers….who were mortified that they had been a distraction.

And, yet another woman shared the indignation she felt as her current church withheld its blessing for her husband to plant a new church….in the same town.  Her emotions were getting the better of her.

Ladies, leadership brings burdens.  It comes with the territory.  But, we must train ourselves to measure our responses in ways that honor God, protect our listeners, and leave ourselves blameless before God.  If we do….if we can actually train ourselves to silence our tongue until we have time to process the moment….then we just might find that our emotions no longer rule the day.

What would our ministries look like if we put this idea into practice?  What would the church (as a whole) look like if its leaders grew in maturity in this area?

So, what is our LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE this week?  Let’s discover a new level of discipline of our emotions as we train our responses to the world around us.  

THAT’S true leadership!



6 thoughts on “Mastering Our Emotions

  1. Tricia,

    I think people sometimes just want/need to vent, but it should be done in private. If there is a situation that needs to be addressed like noisy volunteers then it should be done “in love”. I know — easier said than done. What does the Bible say — Who can tame the tongue?

    Have a Victorious Day!


    • For sure people enjoy venting from time to time, but it’s simply not right. Scripture is clear – if someone has offended us (or we’ve offended someone) we are supposed to talk to them in private about the situation. We aren’t supposed to chat it up with other people. If we’d follow God’s guidelines we’d avoid all the consequences that accompany venting, like saying things we regret, making people feel bad, tearing down reputations, or putting bad impressions in others’ minds. More importantly, if we followed God’s guidelines we just might discover we CAN tame our tongues! Hope you have a great weekend, Marianne!


      • Hey Tricia,

        Yes, we CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but it’s a process. I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.

        I think we are talking about two different things. It seems like you are talking about something that is negative and non-productive. What I am talking about is a processing of feelings that is productive and Godly. Not every issue needs to be addressed with the other person and even if it does, sometimes we need to process what is really going on inside of us before approaching the other person. Personally, I like to journal to God, but sometimes I just need to work through some things with a trusted Godly friend. I often discover that I don’t need to address the issue, because the issue is ME (take the log out of your own eye before you pick the speck out of someone else’s). I might also come to the conclusion that the other person may not be at a place to receive the correction and I would just make matters worse. In this case, I have to trust the Holy Spirit to convict the person. If I decide that action is needed, I will do my best to follow the scriptural guideline of speaking to them privately. One scripture comes to mind — love covers a multitude of sins (1Peter 4:8).

        Have a Victorius Day!


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