Maintaining a hormonal balance
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“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19a
I can clearly see the smile on your face as you check the heading of this chapter once again to ensure that you read it correctly. I assure you that we are going to talk about hormones and our need as women to learn to control them. All too often, women use the excuse of our “female hormones” to justify the emotional roller coasters by which our lives are ruled. Yet even in the week before and during our menstrual cycles, the gestational period of pregnancy, the years of menopause, or just plain, non-excusable bad days “We have this hope as anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Being a woman, and a pregnant woman at that, I certainly know all about emotional roller coasters that seem to have a life of their own. I think the last three weeks I was pregnant with my daughter my husband spoke a total of five words because anything he said would bring tears to my eyes. He has learned this time around to recognize a “pregnant day” which has brought him some consolation during the tide of my ever-changing hormones.
I do not wish to say that our hormonal tendencies are illegitimate or fancies of our imagination. I know that they are real; I merely wish to assert that they are controllable. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” I believe that we can contend the notion that if the Lord our God created our bodies, raging hormones and all, then in His sovereignty He can rightly control them.
When you think of the range of emotions that stem from us during these periods of hormonal imbalance, you must also acknowledge what our husbands are forced to live with. I hear many women, and I have been one myself before, complain that their husbands just need to be more sensitive. Let me ask you two straightforward questions. Do not answer immediately, take a moment and ponder a true answer. Is it really possible to be sensitive to emotions and actions that are ill founded and can change at any given moment? -and- If we, as women, were able to live even-keeled emotionally how many of the arguments that we have with our husbands would never again be heard?
Again, I would like to state that I am a woman, hormones and all. I can empathize and understand, yet I cannot be satisfied to merely excuse my behavior when the Lord has given me the power and understanding to change that behavior. I believe that the key to taming our hormones lies in the ability to walk in the discipline of placing our faith and trust in the truth of God’s Word over our emotions. That does not mean that we deny how we feel nor necessarily feel guilty for those legitimate emotions, it simply means that we learn to hide the Word of the Lord in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) and use it as the sword of the Spirit that it is (Ephesians 6:17) so that we may live anchored, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19a) not tossed about by every whim and emotion.
The following examples of combating the tide of our emotions with the truth of God’s Word are from a personal study that I did when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed emotionally. They are just a few examples of how we can hide God’s Word in our hearts and live victorious lives!
I took some time to honestly assess some emotions I was dealing with, and then I went to the Word of God and found the truth of His Scripture that contradicted my feelings. When my mind began to wander back to those emotions, I was equipped with God’s truth to stabilize myself. Perhaps you will recognize some of your own moments of faltering and be encouraged that God’s Word is powerful and practical.
I feel as if I am being singled out. I feel as if God’s promises apply to everyone, but me, for some reason.
“Then Peter began to speak, ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” Acts 10:34
I feel angry. I am angry with God because I feel as if my prayers are merely resounding off of the ceiling.
“Then the Lord said to Job, ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let Him who accuses God answer Him!”
I feel confused. I have tried so hard to stand on God’s Word and His character, only to be seemingly let down. I simply do not understand.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” Psalm 119:160
I feel abandoned. I feel like I am crying out only to hear my words echo in the stillness.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – But you know Him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” Matthew 14:16,17b
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
I feel condemned. I feel as if no matter how hard I try, I will never be good enough for God to answer my requests. I feel that I am constantly doing something wrong.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4,5
“In Him and through faith Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12
I feel tired; emotionally, physically, and spiritually I am drained.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
As I stated earlier, these are only a few examples. I encourage you to do the same. Be honest with your emotions, whether they are in regard to your relationship with the Lord or with your husband or anyone else. Once you have acknowledged those emotions, go to war with the Sword of the Spirit. “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
The Real World …
War involves some strategy as well as using the right weapons. We already know what weapons we are to use, and we are guaranteed their success. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4 (emphasis added) Now let us discuss some strategy.
Learn to recognize hormones. If you wake up a complete grouch the second day of your period or you find yourself crying at a commercial during your eighth month of pregnancy you can most likely attribute those things to your hormones. Learn to realize when you are having a hormonal day. This will help you know that some of your emotions and reactions may be ill founded and exaggerated. Knowing this will put you at a point where you can decide consciously how you are going to react to those raging hormones.
Hide God’s Word in your heart. I cannot express this one enough. The key to mastering our emotions is battling with the truth of God’s Word. When we begin to feel a certain way, we can counteract that feeling with the truth of Scripture. This is one of the ways we demolish strongholds and take thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5
Be honest with yourself. Trying to suppress or deny the way we feel will only make things worse in the long run. When we push down our emotions we become a ticking time bomb. Learn to acknowledge the truth of what you feel and deal with those feelings appropriately.
Communicate with your spouse. From talking with my husband, I know that our poor men spend much of our “hormonal” times in confusion walking on eggshells. We need to communicate with them how we are feeling and how they can best love us through these times. Most husbands would be grateful for the information. As it is, they only know to stay out of the way which leads to our resentment. They cannot read our minds; we must talk to them.
Allow yourself a bad day. This does not mean that we can willfully sin. It does mean that sometimes we are simply going to have bad days. Some times we need to cry. That’s okay.
Learn to walk in repentance. Odds are at the end of a bad day we need to apologize for some assumptions we made or reactions we had. Walk with repentance in your heart, and express that repentance towards the people you tend to lash out at the most – your husband and children. This will enable them to be more sensitive to your needs because it will alleviate the resentment they often feel towards you.
Don’t see hormones in everything. As a woman, one of the things that irks me the most is when a man assumes that just because I am in a bad mood I have PMS. I am sure you all know what I am talking about. However, there are many women who do the same thing. They conveniently blame every bad mood, harsh word or overreaction on their being hormonal. This is a cop-out excuse – don’t do it.
There you have it, a frank discussion on a subject that most of us only have the ability to joke about with our closest friends. It is something that every woman experiences, though the degrees may vary. You are not alone in your fight. There will be some days that are easier than others. I imagine that I will cry often during the last three weeks of my pregnancy again, but this time I do not have to allow those tears to dictate every moment of my life.
The Lord God created me, beautifully in His image (Genesis 1:27). He has equipped me with the power to overcome all things (2 Corinthians 10:4,5). And He has given me a hope to be my anchor even when all of my “feelings” are warring against that hope (Hebrews 6:19a). In the midst of trying, emotional times we can remain steadfast in our commitments to Christ and to our ministries to our families, especially our husbands.
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Very nicely written - and very truthful according to God's perspective!