Have you seen Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out? I know it’s a kids film right? Or is it? Truthfully, it’s actually an incredible film taking it’s viewer through our emotions and how they work. It’s one of my family’s favorite movies. My boys at 19 and 17 will pop the Blue Ray in and ask us to watch it with them on any given weekend. Maybe that’s because they can relate to the film. Of course the hockey helps but given their experiences the last couple years they’ve had their own emotional journey, there and back again. Joshua and Micah not only understand but feel the truth of Riley’s journey. They’ve felt it all from hurt, sadness, anger and yes happiness and joy. Within the movie Inside Out there are five Islands. These 'Islands of Personality' consist of Family, Friendship, Hockey and Imagination but Goofball Island is probably my favorite. These are honestly the closest to our family’s personal “Islands” of personality as you can get. Just like in the movie, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear have all played a part in our lives, if not in multiple roles over the last couple of years.
Our emotions unfortunately tend to lead us around instead of us leading them. Many times we end up pulled around by the nose while our emotions push and prod us into reacting instead of responding to situations. Before we know it we’re either blowing our lids or balling our eyes out. Sometimes both if we’re having a good day right? I guess that’s part of being human though. Some of us are led by Joy, some by Anger, others by Sadness, Disgust and Fear. I personally love the character Joy. She’s a bundle of energy. She’s always looking for the best in a situation, explaining “there’s always a way to turn things around.” Joy firmly believes, “There are a lot of things to be happy about.” This probably comes as no surprise to you but I count myself in this bunch. I’m one of those “my glass is half full” girls. I have to be. If not I’d find myself lost in sadness. The thing about our emotions is we need them ,every last one of them, just in balance. We truly need sadness in our lives if for no other reason than to appreciate joy.
See when our emotions grab us by the throat, running a muck and out of control, life gets really nasty, gnarly, and pretty much uncontrollable if not completely off kilter fast. Fear, sadness, anger, jealousy envy, hate, despair, anxiety, worry, bitterness, resentment all begin overrunning our once happy, loving, peaceful and self-controlled lives. Once we feel life spinning out of control we tend to gravitate towards words like, “I’m so done”, “I can’t” and “I’m finished.” Impulsive outbursts become the norm and our standard operating procedure. We pull an ‘Anger’, flipping our lid, believing everything is ruined, honking our way through our own personal traffic jams in life while asking ourselves, “Can I say that curse word now?” This moment is the very reason we have to be very careful. To guard our hearts, as Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
Watching Inside Out I’m reminded of what God’s Word says about our emotions. The Fruits of the Spirit, they are all part of keeping ‘headquarters’ in check. I love Galatians 5:22-23, “But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that.” This is where Life Lessons #65 and yes #66 apply. Hitching a ride on an emotional train wreck is probably not the best way to spend your day. Emotional stability comes from personal responsibility. It’s a matter of being willing to take authority over what controls you. As Judith Orloff says, “How you react emotionally is a choice in any situation.”
In a few days we’ll look into what happens when Anger and Fear collide in Part 2. And hopefully see how Joy inspires us to get off the ‘me’ train and regain control of headquarters once again.