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So, this is weird.

Sometimes my leg has a mind of its own and will jump.

Sometimes my hand will twitch or my arm will go flying.

Sometimes I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin.

After seeing many doctors and having thousands of dollars’ worth of tests, a diagnosis was given. Functional Neurological Disorder. The way that I can best describe it is that my brain feels like making me jump and so it does. It made neural pathways for these actions, and over time, the pathways became highways for smooth travel and the jumping became more frequent and stronger.

Physical therapy and massage have been a great help to keep it under control. But still, it happens.

For a while, when I felt a jump coming on, I would think, “Here it comes again.” And I would wait for it. I would accept the tense feelings and submit to it.

One day, I was thinking about this. If my brain can tell my body to do something and it does, shouldn’t I be able to tell my brain to tell my body what to do?

I gave it a try. I felt the tension building up and instead of allowing that feeling to have its way, I told myself to relax, be still.

It worked!

Most times now, I am able to change my feeling to act out by simply not accepting the negative feelings. You have no idea how much more peaceful my body feels by just making this small change in my thinking.

I discovered that:

  • Feelings aren’t fact.
  • Feelings can be changed when we are intentional.
  • Changing from negative feelings to positive ones can bring peace to your life.

Have you ever allowed your negative feelings to take over your brain and your actions? Feel free to raise your hand. You know that you have. All of us have.

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11

Here’s my advice for when something or someone has you feeling that you want to jump out of your skin or act out in a negative way…

  • Number one rule for just about everything – ask God for help.
  • Then say, “Nope, I’m not feelin’ that.”
  • Tell yourself to relax, and pick an appropriate feeling to feel – compassion, love, peace, whatever!
  • Imagine what the new feeling feels like and go with that.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Your thoughts have the power to bring feelings of peace! Change your thoughts, change your feelings.

You may need to remind yourself of your new feeling more than once – especially if the negative feeling has become a habit. But our brains are amazing creations that can be retrained. You can detour those neural pathways to find a new destination. And over time, the new feelings will become easier to get to.

And another thing… Remember that old saying, “You are what you eat.” Well, you are what you feed yourself. If you feed on entertainment and surround yourself with people that are negative influences, you will struggle more with negativity. Feast on things that are positive influences and spend time with people that encourage positive habits, thoughts and feelings.

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11

Remember that your feelings are NOT in control of your mind, body ― or your mouth. You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you feel. As with everything, ask God for wisdom and strength to follow His pathways rather than just going with what you’re feeling.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, Forgive me for the many times that I have allowed negative feelings to get in the way of what is best, what is Your will for me. Help me to choose the appropriate feelings for each circumstance. Help me to see others the way that You see them. Help me to submit to You and Your plans for me even when I’m not feelin’ it. Amen

Mandy Hood

Mandy Hood is co-founder and executive director of The Connection. She authored the book, “Let’s Get Together: The story of a unique women’s ministry.” She hopes the book will be a stepping stone to building a supportive network of community-based ministries.

Mandy and her husband have been married for 44 years. Together, they enjoy camping and traveling. Every year, they look forward to GramCamp – three days of spoiling and fun with their three favorite young men.

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