Managing Emotions: Our Responses and Reaction!

My life is a story of God’s grace!

Recently, I received a call from my girlfriend/sister who resides with her family in another part of the country. We have been friends since high school, i.e. secondary school as we commonly refer to it here in Nigeria.
She called to check on me. Prior to that call, she was aware of some disturbing situations which required me to take prompt disciplinary actions as it pertained to my siblings. She understood my concerns and was standing in the place of prayer with me, but she was also worried about me, hence the call.
As our conversation proceeded and she unveiled her fears, I assured her, that I was not that lady anymore. I am not that lady who is moved by everything, no, not anymore. I have long chosen to be moved by what God says concerning my peculiar situations.
She went on to describe how she felt when she visited me in the hospital where I was first diagnosed with bipolar. She saw me lying on the hospital bed conscious yet unconscious because of my state of mind. My mind was far away in thought and pain. I was still in recovery from the depression that I felt over my parent’s separation and the enormous responsibility of caring for my siblings. This was like 12years ago.
 Hmmm! I just listened to her as she went on. According to her, after talking to me with not much response, she went outside the ward and wept. She felt so sad to see me like that, far from the picture of her childhood friend!
At present, she was calling to make sure I was not worried over the disturbing situation because she didn’t want to ever see me in that state again! Lol!
Our responses and reactions to a given situation or occurrence is what determines if it is disturbing or not. Our responses define our situations.  Hajara Pitan’s article on perspective comes clearly to my mind at this point.
She affirms that, “any given circumstance can be read in different ways and that it is a matter of choice how you interpret it.”
We can’t control situations, only God can. We can choose to control how we will react or respond. I choose ‘response’ over ‘react’ because I am beginning to recognize that there is a thin line between the two. In responding I am careful, intentional and conscious. In reacting, I am venting without a solution in view, I am unleashing my emotions without careful thoughts on a way forward!
Within the week, one of my sisters got me really upset. My first instinct was to ‘react’. I quickly checked myself and realized I could wait calmly for the emotions to pass so that I can be in a better state of mind to respond with God’s love and wisdom. By the time I had a conversation with my sister, it was indeed a response, and the issue of concern was resolved amicably with the appropriate apologies.
Are you emotional in your responses, or do you react? Are you a ‘touchy’ person? As you grow in the knowledge of God through regular study of the Bible, you will become better. Your self control and love for people will increase and this will impact positively on the lives around you.
 In the past, I have had medication that affected my mood, to the point that I was always touchy, until I related with my doctor and my medication was reviewed. If you suspect that your ill temper or mood has to do with your medication, please go back to your doctor; do not adjust your medication based on your discretion, it’s dangerous! 
Not being able to sleep well at night can affect your mood and temper. I have observed that, I sleep well when my mind is rid of any issue that can affect my rest. Bipolar has a medical explanation for mood swings and temper tantrums but that does not mean that anyone who is touchy or emotional is bipolar! 
In an article titled, ‘Stuck on the rage road!’, Stephanie Stephens of bp magazine, states that,  “Just because you have a head-turning temper tantrum doesn’t mean you have bipolar disorder”.
Notwithstanding, If you are diagnosed with bipolar, and you experience constant burst of anger/temper tantrums, please keep an appointment with your doctor. Always check with your doctor instead of adjusting your medications.
Scrutinize your thoughts by God’s standard before you decide to get angry. Anger as an emotion is not a bad thing. It is the improper way we apply anger that is bad. Try to see the end from the beginning, be patient, allow the ‘good’ in you speak and not anger!
Ecclesiastes  7: 9 , advices, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry. For anger rest in the bosom of fools.”
Gal 5:22-26, Talks about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Having accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we now have the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us in different measures. Pray and work/walk with determination to see the full expression of the Holy Spirit in your life. We can. We can because God’s grace abounds to us. Activate the ‘fruit’, put it to work!  Respond with God’s love!
My name is Precious, I was bipolar and I live a full life.

Heavenly Father, give me grace to always walk in the Spirit. Give me grace to ‘be angry and not sin’. Take charge of my emotions; teach me how to respond with love always, in Jesus name, Amen.

Galatians 5:20-26, Ecclesiastes 7: 9, Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV)
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