April 19, 2010
Maybe it was Hormones…
"…but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man
is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NAS)
My husband Scott and I were watching a movie when we heard a great line: "Put the cuckoo back in the clock." We looked at each other and laughed, really hard.
I had been having some emotional days, and we both knew that this line from the movie was one aptly applied to me lately. While most women would agree that emotional days are not out of the norm, this new degree of emotional upheaval was a bit over the top for me.
In my early forties I discovered that my hormones were changing. That might be more than you wanted to know about me, but I think you'll be glad you read this because even if you're not in your forties, at some point as a woman you're going to feel the effects of hormones. (If you're a man, this devotion might help you to understand the female in your life when she seems unstable or overly emotional.)
When hormones change, you can experience all sorts of physical, mental, and emotional changes. You fluctuate between being so hot you want to jump in a cold swimming pool, and then a short while later you feel you need gloves and socks on. You are weepy one minute and a nanosecond later your child's presence makes you more irritable than you ever have been. You're sure at some point in your life you had the ability to remember things but that ability is long gone. Finally, one day your husband's comment about the cuckoo clock is funny, but another moment, it is the absolute wrong thing for him to say.
So how do we respond to these hormonally-induced changes? We must take into account that the hormonal changes we're experiencing are real, and that our "outer man," the term used in today's key verse, is changing. While we don't want them to master us, at the same time we cannot discount the real effects of hormones. We need to make adjustments in all areas of our life.
Spiritually speaking, the flesh may seem much stronger than the spirit, so we will need to counter these changes with spiritual weapons. We can be "strong in the Lord and the strength of His might" (Ephesians 6:10, NAS). We'll find that God's spirit renews our "inner man."
We also need to make adjustments in the physical realm. Sometimes we as Christians want to separate the physical from the spiritual or emotional aspects of ourselves, but it's all connected. Physically speaking, we need to take care of ourselves. Too much junk food, sugar, and caffeine will only exacerbate our emotions and thoughts. In addition, we may not have the stamina to do all we've done before. We may need more exercise and more rest. A doctor can advise you.
In the mental and emotional realm, we may have thoughts and feelings of insecurity, doubt, anxiety, irritability or anger in a way we never have before. It's so easy to perpetuate the downward spiral of our thoughts, beating ourselves up for having these negative feelings. Instead, we need to confess any sinful reactions against others and recognize that when our bodies are changing, we need to be purposeful about taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In a nutshell, we need to seek a balance. On the one hand, we need to be gracious to ourselves, knowing that our "outer man" is changing. On the other hand, we need to take practical steps to prevent our hormones from ruling us. God created our hormones and He will give us wisdom and strength in dealing with them.
Dear Lord, thank You for hormones, even when they sometimes don't feel like a gift. Open my eyes to how my hormones affect different aspects of my life, and give me the strength to deal with them in a healthy way. Thank You, Lord, that because I'm Your child, Your Spirit lives in me, giving me the strength to do what I feel I can't do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Melanie's blog -What Matters Most for ideas to help on hormonal days!
She's Gonna Blow! Real Help for Dealing With Mom Anger by Julie Ann Barnhill
For an extra measure of encouragement, read Handling Daily Frustrations
The S.O.S for PMS: Practical Help and Relief for Moms by Mary M. Byers
Keep track of your emotional and physical changes in a journal. Can you identify a pattern? Be prepared for times that will be hormonally charged. Take some things off your schedule and eliminate some stressors. If you can, wait to make major decisions. Take a walk, read a book, sit outside. Even if it's just for 15 minutes, take care of yourself.
What's the most challenging aspect of hormonal changes to you? The mental, physical or spiritual aspects?
Do your changing hormones result in treating other people in a not-so-nice way? What can you do to respond better to others? Especially to family members?
What are some practical steps you can take to minimize any negative effects of changing hormones?
Galatains 5:16, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
2 Corinthians 4:7,"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." (NIV)
© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 19 April 2010.