Focus on the Family Broadcast

How to Keep Your Emotions in Check

How to Keep Your Emotions in Check

Deborah Pegues offers the tools you need to keep those emotions in check so that your relationships can remain healthy. From keeping God in the mix to managing your schedule and stress level to dealing with demanding people, you’ll learn how to keep your emotions in check and abide in God’s peace.
Original Air Date: September 12, 2022


Deborah Pegues: What do I mean by cast down an imagination? Don’t tolerate thoughts that take you down that path. That path of superiority. That path of condemning other people. Don’t allow yourself to think like that. You can halt a thought.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Deborah Pegues, and she’s here today, uh, talking about how to be more conscious of your self-centered thoughts and emotions. Thanks for joining us. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus on the Family President and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, it is so easy to let emotions get the best of us. I don’t know why you can be a Christian for 20-30 years and really, uh, never get on top of that emotional equation. Uh, think for a minute, for example, we encounter a situation with a coworker that riles us up. Or we see a friend post a picture from a beautiful resort, and envy creeps in.

John: Mm.

Jim: Or we lose our cool with our kids, or maybe our spouse. And you’re sitting there beating yourself up, going, “I should know better. I shouldn’t take the bait.” Uh, but here at Focus on the Family, we want to provide those tools for you. You know, one way to think of Focus is just a giant treasure chest of resources-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: for just about anything you’re gonna encounter in your family situation. So, we’re here for you. You just need to let us know that you’re there, and we’ll do everything we can to help you. So call us at the number John will give in a little bit. Uh, emotions are a good thing. I think God is an emotional God.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Look at the Old Testament, the New Testament. Uh, God is a God of emotions. He created those emotions, but we have to order them. And we have to put them under submission to His leadership. Right? And our friend Deborah Pegues is gonna help us learn how to do that, perhaps more effectively than we’ve ever done before. And I’m looking forward to more of God’s peace and contentment in my life.

John: Hmm. Well, this is gonna be a great conversation. Deborah is a popular guest here at Focus on the Family. And, uh, she’s a certified behavioral consultant, a Bible teacher, an international speaker, and is also a best-selling author. We’ll be talking today about one of her, I think it’s 18, books. It’s called 30 Days to Taming Your Emotions: Discover the Calm, Confident, Caring You. Get a copy from us here at the ministry when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by

Jim: Deborah, welcome back to Focus.

Deborah: Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.

Jim: It’s always good to have you. I love your smile, your wit.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: And your sarcasm. (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: See, I love sarcasm.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: But you say that’s something we need to control. Really, aw, really?

Deborah: Well, maybe just control it some.

Jim: (laughs) It’s so much fun.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: But, uh, anyway, you are the behavioral consultant. So let me ask you: why is it so easy for us to kind of let go of the reins when it comes to our emotions, and we let our emotions drive us?

Deborah: Well, but Jim, wouldn’t it have been great if God had just created only one emotion with just happy?

Jim: (laughs) That’d be great.

Deborah: That’d be great. But we’re not robots. So we really should be delighted that God has given us that range of expression where we could be happy or sad or i- i- it makes us have a quality of life.

Jim: W-

Deborah: And so I’m glad He did.

Jim: Yeah, and don’t you think there’s a bit of learning in that? Right?

Deborah: There’s a bit of learning. Absolutely.

Jim: So we have a range that God allows us to go to.

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: So we can stumble.

Deborah: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: So he can say, uh, “That’s not quite the way I’d like you to handle that.”

Deborah: And you know, I believe God created us in such a way to d- we- we need Him.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And we need Him to control our emotions. And even before we get started, remember that emotions follow motion. Emotions follow motion. So, uh, sometimes when you’re dealing with an emotion, if you just get in motion; you just get moving towards the opposite of a negative emotion; You’ll find yourself really enjoying this- this whole process, this ability to express pleasure.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: Let me, you know, being a man, you gotta grab me by the face and give me that example. What are you talking about? (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: Well, you see, I had one- one of my emotions that I- I had coming here, ’cause you know, I- we’re here in Colorado Springs. You have to fly into Denver, my least favorite airport in the world.

Jim: Oh.

Deborah: And so, I was getting anxious.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Deborah: Even b- about coming, because I had heard that you had severe winds, and so-

Jim: The bumpiness. Yeah.

Deborah: This emotion was just taking, just getting the- the best of me. So that’s why I just decided to go back to what I teach. I have some foundational beliefs that I’m gonna use to control, frame my emotions.

Jim: Yeah. You say in the book, uh, “One of the good things to do is to regularly connect with God and prayer.” And you use an acronym to do that. What’s the acronym?

Deborah: The b- the acronym is P-R-A-Y. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Jim: Okay. That makes sense.

Deborah: Yeah. That makes sense. (laughs) Easy. So here it is.

Deborah: The P is for Pause. We gotta take time. And listen, we’re all so busy. We gotta take time to just stop all activity and focus completely on God and His ability. His power. When I sit here and think about that, inside of me I have the spirit of this almighty God, who is always present, all powerful, and knows everything.

Jim: Huh.

Deborah: So that takes down some of the emotions, especially when I’m dealing with anxiety. So we have to pray. I know everybody, so we know we have to pray. We know that. But how many people stop and pray?

Jim: That’s good. It’s funny.

Deborah: You know, we pray on the run, we don’t stop. You know. And God wants that undivided attention. You know, you can always, yes, you can exercise and pray. But when you stop and absorb His presence, you’re gonna have a different mindset.

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: But the R is for Reverence. Express your admiration for all of God’s attributes. Lord, I just thank You that You You’re just present. I just thank You. I- I stop in reverence who He is.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So many of us bring God down to our level. That’s why we are anxious most of the time. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: It’s like, “Here’s the problem, and I can’t figure it out, so I assume He can’t figure it out, either.”

Jim: Hmm.

Deborah: But I stop and remember that “Nothing’s too hard for You.” And then I ask … I ask … I ask for what I want. We can ask. We don’t- we can’t assume that God doesn’t care. He cares about every aspect. I ask forgiveness for my sins. I ask for His will to be done-

Jim: Hm.

Deborah: I ask for guidance. I ask. And then the Y is Yield. I’m gonna submit that request to God. I’m not gonna say, “let, let, let.” I’m gonna say, “Father, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because I don’t really know what’s best for me. I just know what I want.

Jim: That is so good.

Deborah: Just what I want.

Jim: I mean, that’ll bring you peace right there.

Deborah: [inaudible]

Jim: If you can actually get there.

Deborah: I’m- I’m peaceful just talking about it.

Jim: Yeah. No, of course.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: Uh, prayer is so crucial, uh, that staying connected with God. And it seems pretty obvious. But w- what role does self-care, now – Uh, ’cause you know, Jesus Himself separated from the- the needs of the moment. He got away from the crowds. And we don’t- we think of self-care as being selfish. That it, you know, if you need to take a break or you can’t say “yes” to everything. ‘Cause I’ll tell you what: working in ministry, it’ll take everything you give it, 24/7.

Deborah: That’s right.

Jim: And you gotta stop and say, “Okay, I need to spend more time with my family, my marriage, myself.” So speak to self-care and the importance of it: and the godliness of it.

Deborah: And Jesus modeled it. I love it in Mark: 1 when they- they came to Him and He had been ministering all night, healing people and all of that. And they came to Him while He was praying; He’d gotten up early; and He- they said, “Everybody is looking for you.”

Jim: (laughs) Yeah.

Deborah: And I love it when He said, “What?” He said, but He said, the Scriptures say that. “I gotta go into the next town to preach. You know, I’m- I’m done with the healing, because I know what my priority is.” And even when the disciples came to Him after they had been out and they had done a lot of wonderful things, and His response was, “You need to go take a break.”

Jim: Mm.

Deborah: He says because they had no time for leisure. I couldn’t believe the word “leisure” was in the King James Version of the Bible!

Jim: Right.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: The first travel agency.

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: He said they had no leisure. And some of us who are go-go-go performers, hurrying and always gotta be achieving. We don’t take leisure. Leisure is godly. And that’s why self-care really isn’t selfish as you said.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: It’s about honoring God with this body that He’s given us: the limited ability to do things in the flesh. And I have to r- be reminded all the time of that. Because I just like to keep charging at it.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And in fact, Deborah, I was gonna ask you about that, because, uh, one of the points you make is sleep: to be able to get to sleep. You struggle with that.

Deborah: I struggle with that.

Jim: I so appreciate the openness of that.

Deborah: I do. I do.

Jim: So what, uh, what are some things, personally, that you found that- that help or don’t help with sleep?

Deborah: Well, what I find that doesn’t help is that I’m more short with people; I want to eat more, because my body is craving to be renewed, and I give it food instead of, uh, sleep.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Deborah: And so it’s just detrimental: physically, spiritually. I’m more short with people when I’m not rested.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: Um, everybody’s in slow motion to me when I’m sleepy. Everybody’s stupid when I’m sleepy. (laughs) Why couldn’t I think of that? What do I … duh?

Jim: (laughs) Mm. That’s good.

Deborah: And it’s just really me needing some rest. And so we gonna have to stop and- and understand that rest is godly. That’s why leaders have to model that. We belong to a church once where the pastors took off often. They were off to Hawaii, off to this place and they’d say, “We’re sending our love. We have an assistant pastor.” You know, they’ve delegated. They’re not so insecure that everybody’s gonna love the assistant pastor more (laughs) than them. And- and- and go away with him or whatever. So, we have to be- be God honoring in that and know that it’s godly. Self-care is godly.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And especially for women.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: It’s for men, too. But women who just feel like they just gotta constantly give to the kids, give this-

Jim: Right.

Deborah: they take no time for themselves.

Jim: And I would- I would assume you’re also saying, you know, everything’s in balance. You don’t want to- you can’t do that overboard. You gotta be engaged.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, if it’s all leisure, you’re not in the Lord’s will either.

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: But taking care of yourself.

Deborah: Absolutely. But- but those of us who are, quote, ambitious rather than sometimes just being goal-oriented into what God is saying, we tend to go the other route.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: We tend to go the wrong way.

Jim: You know, one of the things for me, and I’m grateful my son Trent has really gotten into working out, which really sparked me to get involved too. And so I’ve been, for the last four-five years, I’ve been able to get in three or four times a week to work out, which has been good. I don’t do much cardio; I’m more in the weight cat-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: weightlifting category, (laughs) which I love.

Deborah: But Jim, even if you do it for five minutes; so sometimes we think we need to wait till we have an hour to work out, or 30 minutes to work out. Listen, I went out for a seven-minute walk this morning.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because there’s something to getting that oxygen to your brain. You’re just gonna have a better mindset, you know, to just get out there and breathe some fresh air. And it’s good to get into the habit. And that’s the hard part.

Jim: Let me ask you: uh, you mentioned in the book other people can affect our stress level. And I think it relates to what you’re saying in terms of prioritization. But h- how do you learn to deal with other people that are affecting your stress level? And then affecting your priorities because of that?

Deborah: Well, um, again, we don’t want to disappoint people. Because we’re not … Listen, when I talk about fear, and I wrote a book on fear. But one of our biggest fears is alienation. So we don’t want it- people- we don’t want to be alienated from people, so we say “yes” when we really want to say “no.”

Jim: Yes. That’s correct. (laughs)

Deborah: Yeah. Yeah. You- you have to know what’s working in you when you do that. So I don’t- I don’t say “yes” when I want to say “no”. I have a favorite phrase that I use: “I have another commitment. I’m sorry, I have another commitment.” Now, that doesn’t mean I have another appointment. I have a commitment, and the commitment is to myself. (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Deborah: I have- I’ve made a commitment to myself and to my marriage, that I’m gonna balance this thing out.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And we’re gonna come into agreement, Darnell and I will come into agreement before I go running off on a schedule that’s, you know, people-honoring and not God- not God-honoring.

Jim: You know, again, one of the things that sometimes we as Christians, and I think Christian women particularly, can load a lot of guilt onto themselves because they’re not saying “yes” enough. I mean, that’s what some are saying right now. You know?

Deborah: I- I- know.

Jim: That I … “Man, say ‘no’? I’ve- I’ve not said ‘yes’ enough to my pastor, who’s asked me to volunteer for this, or my husband’s, you know, wanting me to do this on the weekend.” So h- how do you find right- the right balance? To say, to understand that saying “no” is, okay?

Deborah: Saying “no” is okay, and here’s what I like to say. The Bible talks about serving the Lord with gladness. And when I get to the point where my serving Him has caused me to say “yes” so much that I am not glad about it anymore; I’m mad about it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: So I don’t want to serve God to madness. (laughs) I want to serve God as long as I- I can be glad about it, because it’s in alignment with His will. I have the peace about it. I’m not fearing your rejection, your alienation. And therefore, I don’t- I don’t … Most people think if they say “no” to the pastor, they’re saying “no” to God.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: When I had a pastor say, “Listen, I just keep piling it on until i- they say uncle.” (laughs) Until say- until they say, ‘That’s enough’.” And most people won’t say that. Some people will just quit church. I’ve talked to people who left the church because they worked them too much. “I never got a chance to come into the service. I was too busy with the Children’s Church.” When you could have just said, “This is as much as I can handle.”

Jim: Or do it for a season.

Deborah: Or do it for a season.

Jim: Six months, whatever.

Deborah: It’s okay.

Jim: And then let somebody else take that spot.

Deborah: Boundaries are godly.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

John: Well, there’s some great insight from Deborah Pegues. We’ll hear more in just a moment. Let me say you’re listening to Focus on the Family. And, uh, your host is Jim Daly.

John: Uh, Deborah’s book is available from us here at the ministry. It’s called 30 Days to Taming Your Emotions: Discover the Calm, Confident, Caring You. As you can tell, she really does a great job of weaving Scripture and insights (laughs) and some personal stories, uh, together in this book. Uh, call us today. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or stop by

Jim: Uh, Deborah, I want to talk about a word that may press some buttons to the listeners and viewers. And that’s the word “tolerance.” In some circles, tolerance has become a religion unto itself: that we have to be tolerant of all things to, uh, really achieve our ability to embrace everyone. But there’s a real specific definition to tolerance and the way Christians should embrace it. What is it?

Deborah: Jim, I want to read specifically from my book on page 83. “Tolerance is not about agreeing to embrace differences. It’s about accepting every person’s God-given right as a free moral agent to believe as he wishes. Tolerance is not acceptance. Tolerance is just giving you space to believe what you believe.”

Jim: It’s really saying what God gives us.

Deborah: Absolutely. Why wouldn’t we be tolerant? God is tolerant of us, even though we- even when we’re out of alignment with His word, all- all souls are mine. The soul that sins is gonna die. You know, we d- we don’t have to beat people up. We- and so when we say we tolerate that, there’s so much going on in our society that I have no agreement with. But I don’t have to hate the person. I can dislike the behavior, disapprove of the behavior. I don’t even need to say, “I disapprove of your behavior.” Because you know what? God has put a conscience on everybody. And I believe that everybody who does wrong, they know it.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Do I need to remind them? So I can just love them. I can do what a Christian does, just as Jesus did the woman caught in adultery. I can ch- He said, “Go and sin no more.” He didn’t say, “Oh, that’s okay. That’s okay, they’ve been mean to you. But come on, that’s okay.” He didn’t say, “That’s okay.” He said, “Go and sin no more.”

Jim: Right.

Deborah: So we have to b- when I say “tolerate,” I want everybody to understand it. We’re not condoning. It’s just accepting your right to be different. And I- and I want you to respect my- my right to be different as well.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And I think that’s what’s missing in our culture right now.

Jim: Well, and I think that’s such a great part of the conversation that so often we miss. Um, to express where someone’s at and then to say, “You know what? I think I know a better way.”

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And his name’s Jesus.

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: And you might want to start looking at Him.

Deborah: And some- and sometimes they just need to know that you care first.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: You know-

Jim: I remember talking to a woman who was in the abortion industry. And she came into my office, and she was shaking. And I asked her why she was so fearful. And she said, “Well, somebody said you’re gonna put a voodoo hex on me.”

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: I mean, I laughed as well. And I said, “What do you know about Christians?” And she said, “All I know is you want to kill us.” I (laughs) said, “you know, I can honestly tell you I don’t know a single person that wants that.”

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And I said, “Do you mind if I take a few minutes just to tell you what we believe as Christians?” She said, “I wish you would. No one’s ever taken the time to tell me.”

Deborah: That’s so good.

Jim: Isn’t that amazing?

Deborah: Because all they’ve seen is the- is the meanness.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: They’ve seen people bombing even, b- you know, Christians being a part of being- being (laughs) negative like that.

Jim: Yeah. Yeah.

Deborah: You know, you can do that. We were celebrating our 43rd anniversary at a- at a restaurant. And the young man said, and we told him it’s our anniversary. He said, “I- I’ve been with my lady. We lived together for 13 years” or whatever it was. And he said, “Cause it’s just a piece of paper.” I said, “Actually, it’s not. Wouldn’t you want a relationship that God can bless?” We told him how good God had been to us, and how peaceful the marriage had been for the most part.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: And- and he said, I said, “Wouldn’t you- wouldn’t you just love a relationship that God could honor and really allow yourself up to be blessed by Him?” And I- and I could tell; he said, “I’m- I’m gonna consider that.”

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And it was all in love and concern for him.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: It’s such a better way for all of us, really.

Deborah: It is.

Jim: Let me ask you about your friend Debbie. You mentioned in the book what she learned through her faith journey.

Deborah: Well, Debbie, uh, was one who had grown up in a very structured culture. Um, kind of like I grew up in uh, everything was a sin. The men and women, they didn’t even swim together.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And so she found herself being so self-righteous. And then she finally went to (laughs) a church where there was a woman wearing lipstick and pants and laying hands on people. (laughs) And people were being healed. And she- it was just a disconnect. “Oh, I didn’t think women who wore pants and lipstick could be used like that in ministry.”

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: “Oh, I didn’t think women could be (laughs) used, period.” So you sometimes you come with a self-righteous attitude. You know, just because you don’t do the sins that they do; you know, most of us – not most of us, but too many Christians, “If you’re not guilty of the sin that I do, then you- you judge me in a different way.” Well, you’re guilty too. You’re guilty of sin.

Jim: Yeah. That’s Romans 2 and 3.

Deborah: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so we gotta watch that.

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true.

Deborah: Yeah. Yeah,

Jim: I- I think when I, you know, one of the things I’ve come up with when you read the New Testament, and you’re going, “Okay, what are the big billboards that the Lord – what message is He trying to get across to us?” There’s really two, in my mind. One is salvation through Christ, and Christ alone. And don’t become a Pharisee.

Deborah: (laughs) I love it.

Jim: Right? I mean, those are, like, blinking neon signs, the message of the New Testament. But we so miss the second one. We- we’re pretty good on the first one: Jesus Christ is the way. But on the second one, we don’t even realize how we look down on other people that don’t think the way that we think.

Deborah: And we look down on them because again, they- their sin is not my sin.

Jim: Right. Yeah. I’ve got control of that one.

Deborah: I- right. I tell- I tell a story in the book about a woman who, um, I know- I saw bounced checks. And- and she was one of the best-dressed women in the church. And I thought, “Oh, I’m so glad I’m not like that.” (laughs) Yeah.

Jim: So how do we get a upper hand on that? To be more Christlike? Uh, which again, Christ warned us, “Don’t do that. Don’t be like them.”

Deborah: Well, anytime we’re putting ourselves in a superior position, we know that that’s not God.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: That- that’s ju- we just say, I know the word is Godly. And that’s not God. And I- when I grew up, we’d say, “That’s not God.” (laughs)

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: You know, we- we gotta understand when we’re judging in a way that’s not really discerning between right and wrong and what we should be doing, but we are really condemning people. We’re putting ourselves in a superior position. That’s why I don’t e- I don’t even like to use the word “you should.”

Jim: Mm.

Deborah: Because that immediately puts me in a superior position.

Jim: Ah.

Deborah: My mentor told me, “You’ve been talking to my husband.” She said, “Don’t say, ‘You should.’ Say, ‘Have you considered?’”

Jim: Oh, that’s much kinder.

Deborah: “Would you like to consider?” Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. “Have you considered this or that?”

Deborah: Yes.

Jim: How do we take captive these feelings of intolerance and judgment and self-righteousness? I mean, that’s a practice that a Christian should be doing every day.

Deborah: Absolutely.

Jim: ‘Cause it creeps in every day.

Deborah: It does. And we talk about, uh, the b- the Bible talks about this casting down those kinds of imaginations. First you have to acknowledge that you do that. You know, you have to acknowledge that you do it, that it’s not right. And you begin to cast down imaginations. What does that- what do I mean by cast down an imagination? Don’t tolerate thoughts that take you down that path. That path of superiority, that path of condemning other people. Don’t allow yourself to think like that. You can halt a thought. Hey, that rhymes. You can halt a thought. (laughs)

Jim: Halt a thought.

Deborah: Yeah. You just need to stop and say, “I’m not gonna think about that. I’m gonna think about the fact that I am what I am by the grace of God, that He has worked in me a desire to do the right thing. That comes from God. That doesn’t emanate from my flesh. In our own heart and our own flesh, we don’t necessarily always want to do the right thing.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: But I have to recognize, even the fact that I want to serve God with passion, then that comes from God. And I have to give other people the grace.

Jim: Mm.

Deborah: The grace. You know, to- and not like – I’m like. You know, I’m not just like, flying, batting a thousand. But I’m batting a thousand in some areas and zero in others.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: And so I have to realize that we all, we zig where other people zag. That’s why we need each other. I need your strength. There’s something you do well that I don’t do well. And so how do we get control of that? Cast down those imaginations.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: It’s so good, and I … y- you know, one of the things, Deborah, in today’s culture, when you look at things like envy and strife and jealousy, social media has done so much-

Deborah: Uh!

Jim: to, uh, exponentially lift those nasty things up in our own flesh and our own heart, both Christian and non-Christian; we’re affected by it. So how do we- how do we approach that whole, uh, social media thing?

Deborah: Well, you have to understand what it is. It- ’cause it can be a tool of- of goodness, of- it can spread the word. But everybody puts their best foot forward on social media. One day I took a picture when I first woke up, and I had- with no makeup or nothing. And I took a picture and I said, “Okay, here’s a challenge. I want everybody to p- post your first thing in the morning picture.” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: Somebody sent me a note and they said, “Are you okay over there?” (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) That’s not what you do, Deborah.

Deborah: That’s not what you do.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I’m thinking like, I- every-

Jim: Get the makeup on.

Deborah: I- uh, every part of me wants to defy what the world is doing.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: I really, I don’t want to love the world, but I understand that social media can generate a lot of envy.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: Because everybody’s life looks so perfect.

Jim: Right.

Deborah: Well, listen you gotta un- know what God has done in your life. I- there are lots of things I probably want, and I see people who are- who have 30 million followers and I’m like, “Ah, I don’t feel like doing social media.” Because that takes time from my being with Darnell.

Jim: Oh, sure.

Deborah: Things that I want to do. So I don’t do it a lot.

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: I just don’t do it. But here’s the thing. I don’t let that spirit of envy get in me. Because envy is rooted in discontentment. The Bible says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I’m gonna be so much farther ahead-

Jim: Yeah.

Deborah: … if I don’t get sucked into this thing of not being content. Because if I- if I talk and walk and I have- and I have the faculties, I have the ability to come here, I have a whole bunch of things going for me. There are other things. I’ve been on a diet since Jesus left.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: (laughs) But- but I’m not gonna let that d- diminish my life because somebody’s on their posting they’ve got their great built- built body and all that. I’m gonna keep my life in perspective.

Jim: Yeah. Uh, Deborah, as we’re wrapping up, uh, I think some practical, um, answers are really helpful for folks. Uh, so I need to ask: what are some of the ways we can embrace contentment, and have a more positive, godly outlook on the life He’s given us? We only get one.

Deborah: We can be intentional in listing those things that we have. That listing our blessings. That- that sounds trite. But listen: if you just, at the end of the day, say, “What good things happened today? You know, God has kept death away from our doors. God has given me food. God has given me water. I don’t have to walk and get it the way they do in Africa.”

Jim: Right.

Deborah: “I can just turn on the shower. And even though gas is high, I can still buy gas. And I- and I go to a church that teaches the word.” There are any number of things. So just on a daily basis, just write down two or three things that you are so grateful for, because that’s the antidote to being ungrateful and all that. It’s just be grateful. (laughs)

Jim: Right.

Deborah: Just be grateful.

Deborah: And some other things you can do don’t hang around people who complain a lot. I s- always put people on a complaining fast. Don’t complain. And don’t hang around other people who do. Or when they do, you counter it.

Jim: Uh-huh.

Deborah: You just counter it is what-

Jim: That’s especially important-

Deborah: Oh, yeah.

Jim: I think, for wives. And for husbands.

Deborah: Oh, yeah.

Jim: I mean, when we’re with each other, right? When guys are with their guy friends, and wives are with their wives friends-

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: you can really denigrate your spouse.

Deborah: Oh, you can.

Jim: You shouldn’t do that.

Deborah: You shouldn’t do that. I had a special session with some women on Sunday. And I talk about, “Don’t talk about what he doesn’t have. If you- if your husband doesn’t make a ton of money, don’t talk about whose husband does. You know, if he brings his check home, (laughs) h- he’s good to you, he’s kind, he’s helpful, he’s supportive – Why would you make him feel bad about something he can’t change?”

Jim: Right.

Deborah: “Ladies, that’s not wise. That’s not wise.” The Bible says a wise woman builds her home. You know, a foolish wanna pluck it with her own hands. So you gotta be conscious. Think about what you’re thinking about, ’cause out of those thoughts are gonna come your words. And as I said at the beginning, build a strong Biblical foundation. There’s nothing like that. It’s- it’s just an alignment with the word of God. Is my thinking in alignment? Am I not grateful? Am I sitting over here discontent because somebody else just built a bigger house? Cast that down.

Jim: Yeah. No, I think that’s good. It answers the last question I was gonna ask you, which is: what’s something I could do today if- if the program is helping me to understand my feelings and emotions may not be lining up appropriately because of this envy, this strife that I have in me? The anger, perhaps?

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: All these emotions that you talk about in 30 Days to Taming Your Emotions. Um, so I think it’s getting into the word, and knowing the word.

Deborah: It’s- it’s getting into the word, and then doing that self-analysis. Again, being truthful. Right now, what are my most negative thoughts? You know, I do this. I’m- I’m always analyzing myself. What are my- what- what’s the most negative thought I deal with right now? What is- what does the Word of God say about that? Why don’t I just memorize that Scripture on that, and let the Word of God become part of my spiritual foundation, so that it informs my thoughts and my responses?

Jim: Yeah. In fact, the- the last thing I’ll ask you is about PEACE, another acronym. So how do you apply PEACE to get peace?

Deborah: Well, you know, I’m full of acronyms today. (laughs)

Jim: I like it. No, that’s good. It helps your perspective.

Deborah: Here’s how- here’s how we pursue peace, and it’s P-E-A-C-E. Prioritize every aspect of your life according to God’s Word.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Deborah: Pr- what does that mean? Make sure every aspect of your life-

Jim: Thoughts-

Deborah: The physical, the relational, the emotional, even the financial. You’re gonna have peace when you know I’m doing this according to the Word of God. I’m paying my tithes, I’m giving. I’m doing all of that. And that’s gonna set you at peace, because the Bible says, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” All right. Expect … That’s the P. Expect less from people and more from God.

Jim: Mm.

Deborah: That’s a good- that’s how you have peace-

Jim: That’s a good one.

Deborah: Expect more- less from people and more from God. A: Acknowledge God in all your decisions. Don’t just up and do something. Acknowledge God. “God, is this what You want me to do? I’m listening, and I’m at that nevertheless point. Whatever You say, it’s gonna be fine with me.” C is Cultivate an attitude of contentment. Cultivate that. You have to grow into that. You don’t just come here content. Because all- every commercial is gonna tell you that you lack something. And finally, the E is Eliminate the unrighteousness. Eliminate sin from your life.

Jim: (laughs)

Deborah: Because again, if you want peace, again, from Psalm 85, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” There’s a divine connection between doing the right thing and having the peace of God.

Jim: Deborah, this is so good, man. And the book, 30 Days to Taming Your Emotions, you c- you can digest this fairly quickly. It’s, you know, it’s pithy in thought. But, uh, brief in words.

Deborah: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s such a great read.

Deborah: Thank you.

Jim: So I would hope people would get a copy of this wonderful resource. I mean, you’ve heard Deborah’s heart. And she’s just oozing with wisdom-

Deborah: (laughs)

Jim: to help you live your life in such a way that honors the Lord in- in your spirit, in your emotions, especially, and in- even your physical, uh, you know, worship toward the Lord. So, this is terrific. Deborah, thanks for being with us.

Deborah: Thank you so much.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And of course, uh, we want to get this resource into your hands. So just, uh, make a commitment to Focus. Uh, join us in ministry, monthly or one-time gift, and we’ll send it as our way of saying, “Thank you for being part of the team.”

John: And let me add that we have caring Christian counselors here on staff at Focus on the Family. Uh, they’re made possible by donors who, uh, contribute on a regular basis to the ministry. Those counselors are available to you. We can set up a free initial consultation over the phone. Uh, it all begins with a phone call to us. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by to find out more about our counseling services, uh, that book by Deborah, 30 Days to Taming Your Emotions. Um, or, uh, getting in touch with us to make a donation. And coming up next time, you’ll hear practical help for couples who are considering remarriage.

Ron Deal: I am a firm believer: blended families can be homes of redemption. But you gotta do it right. If you get it wrong, it just adds more pain and suffering to everybody’s life.


Today's Guests

30 Days to Taming Your Emotions: Discover the Calm Confident Caring You

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