Feel a Meltdown Coming On?
Whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all been there before—the all-out meltdown. From crumbling on the floor for a sob session to throwing objects across a room, our meltdowns come in all shapes and sizes and result for all kinds of reasons. They’re ugly; they require tissues and, usually, some kind of intervention.
And after our tears have dried, we think about the reason we ever cried and screamed and threw things in the first place, and it seems so utterly silly. So we laugh it off and tweet about desperately needing a break from all the crazy.
We’re girls. It happens. We cry, we yell, we sob as we dig our spoons into the carton for more ice cream. Right?
What if our meltdowns weren’t meant to play out that way? What if God has a better plan for us than crumbling with every crushing emotion?
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit I’ve had my fair share of nasty meltdowns. I’m not a stranger to panic attacks, and when things pile up on me, I can crack into thousands of pieces. (or so it feels.)
But by God’s grace, I’ve begun to hear the Spirit’s whisper when I start to feel the tears welling and the anger bubbling. I’ve been reminded of God’s perspective before I ignore self-control to enter Meltdown Mode.
God has more in store for me and for you than succumbing to each meltdown that boils over in our souls. He truly can and will provide the grace, strength, and clarity we need to escape the temptation to emotionally explode.
Let’s start unpacking this topic by understanding some essential truths.
Tears are okay, and simply crying isn’t a sin. You won’t find a verse in Scripture that says, “Dry your tears; you shouldn’t show emotion.” God has gifted us with emotion, and, as women, we’re especially sensitive to feelings. Embracing tears can even be a healthy exercise. If today was a rough day, it really is okay to shed a few tears—but what’s behind our tears and what accompanies our tears reveal what’s happening within our hearts. And that’s what matters to God.
What’s Causing Your Tears?
We tend to blame a meltdown on an outward circumstance, but unchecked emotions are often the roots growing beneath the surface. Whether we’re super sad or all-out angry or unbearably anxious, if those emotions are in the driver’s seat, we’re choosing to be led by feelings rather than truth. When life is overwhelming to us or hurting us or even punching us in the gut, we can passively allow Meltdown Mode to set in or we can actively choose to run to Christ.
We need God-sized power to quell an outburst. He can do it!
It’s tough, I know, to stop and pinpoint the ugly root of the flesh that’s trying to put on a show, especially when your weak flesh just wants to give up and lash out.
But this is the bottom line: we have a choice. We can “give full vent” to our emotions, or we can choose wisdom and give God control. Mary Kassian says it this way:
A weak woman lets her emotions drive her mind; a woman of strength makes her mind drive her emotions. You can choose joy. You can choose peace. You can choose to believe things that are good and right and true and beautiful and excellent and trustworthy.
What Are You Doing with Your Tears?
Yelling, throwing, binge eating? Those aren’t innocent results of our circumstances; they’re sinful responses to whatever may be going on in our lives.
God’s Word commands against sinning against each other in anger and throwing self-control out the window.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil (Eph. 4:26-27).
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19–20).
And what’s more, we usually end up doing something we regret later. The stomachache from your second pint of Ben and Jerry’s usually isn’t worth it. And saying words that can’t be unsaid to someone you love really, really isn’t worth it.
Stopping the Meltdown Before It Starts
Can we actually kill meltdown fever before it explodes? With God’s grace, it’s possible. Let’s put these practices into action.
- Take a proactive approach.
- Add meltdowns to your prayer list. Ask God to give you the power to have self-control, that He would grant the grace needed to protect your heart and emotions.
- Know when you’re the most vulnerable. Are you exhausted or starving or navigating your hormones? This is ultra practical: Do what you can to have a feeling for what physical factors are coming into play.
- When you do feel a meltdown brewing, stop and pray . . .
- for peace. He can bestow peace amidst the craziest of feelings.
- for strength. We need God-sized power to quell an outburst. He can do it!
- for His perspective. His goodness is so much bigger than what we’re facing.
- for joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength! What meltdown? This is what you can cling to.
- Apologize when you get it wrong.
- When you stumble and let emotions drive you straight into a mess, put on humility and ask for forgiveness from God and from those you hurt.
- Remember it’s not up to you to “just try harder next time.” God pursues us. He showers His grace upon us. He’ll guide you in this journey.
The last time I had a full-blown meltdown was because I couldn’t put together an outfit to wear to the grocery store. No kidding. My husband swooped in to save the day and made the trip to the store so I could finish cooking dinner. I wish I had chosen to seek Christ and throw on a sweatshirt.
So we’re in this journey of seeking grace and calming our meltdowns together. Join me?
What’s the toughest part about keeping your emotions in check? How are you learning to take your heart and your tears to Christ?
Written by: Samantha Nieves