When emotions are turbulent and fit the facts, DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) says to use Problem Solving. We Christians know that Jesus is our Problem Solver.
I think about the verses in the Bible in which Jesus walks on the water and calms the sea as the Disciples are wracked with waves that threaten to capsize their boat. Sometimes my emotions feel like those choppy waves. They threaten to freeze me, I want to go back to bed and put the covers over my head to ward them off.
Just like in the story, Jesus can step out and turn my emotions to smooth glass if I choose to ignore the urge to go back to bed and instead focus on Him, the Problem Solver.
Have you ever felt like your emotions are engulfing you? You can’t find a way to calm them and they crash against you in waves of despair or fear or anger. Your action urge is to lash out and make the waves even bigger, or ignore the problem and sit in the boat hoping it won’t do you in. You can’t stop it- your bad feelings are overtaking your ability to think of anything else.
DBT has a flowchart- a step-by-step for what to do I this situation, ultimately ending in either problem solving to put it to rest, solved, or opposite action, doing something the opposite of what you feel. (PDF) DBT Problem solving
I wrote my own step-by-step using the story in Matthew 14 about Jesus walking on water to calm the sea.
1.) Think about the event that is causing your problem
2.) Bring it to Jesus
3.) Allow Him to step out on your emotional wave, to calm it as smooth as glass.
4.) Listen to the calm and wait for the voice of God (Wise Mind).
5.) During this calm, pour out your heart to Jesus.
6.) Take His hand and step out onto the calm.
7.) Do not falter as Peter did. Do not give into the emotion and cause the waves to speed up again.
8.) Stand firm and think of ways to solve your problem with Jesus.
9.) If the answer doesn’t come to you, because God has His own time, consider doing something opposite of the way you feel in order to ease your suffering.
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33