Why Did God Give Us Emotions?: A Biblical Perspective on What Science has Discovered About Emotions  -     By: Reneau Z. Peurifoy M.A.
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Why Did God Give Us Emotions?: A Biblical Perspective on What Science has Discovered About Emotions

Lifeskills Publications / Paperback

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Product Description

In his book Why Did God Give Us Emotions?, author Reneau Peurifoy discusses six steps to managing our emotions effectively. After more than two decades as a therapist and teacher, Reneau Peurifoy has become a master at reducing complex ideas into simple, easy-to-understand terms and applying them to daily life.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Lifeskills Publications
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 0929437160
ISBN-13: 9780929437163
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Emotions are such a mysterious gift. They take us to heights of ecstasy. They dash us on the rocks of despair. They can bind us together and tear us apart. They can move some to noble acts of courage and self-sacrifice and in others, they are the force behind terrible acts of evil and destruction. Why did God make us this way? How are we supposed to manage this wonderful and mystifying gift we call emotions? In his new book "Why Did God Give Us Emotions?," author Reneau Peurifoy takes a detailed look at the many sources of our emotional responses and the role emotions play in our thoughts, actions, relationships with others and relationship with God. Peurifoy holds a Master?'s in counseling and attended Fuller Theological Seminary. "Why Did God Give Us Emotions?" is a book twenty years in the making, based on Peurifoy?'s focused study, counseling experiences and growing maturity in the faith. "From the very start I ve had two goals: I wanted to look at what science has learned about emotions from a biblical perspective and I wanted to do it in a way that would strengthen the reader?'s walk with God," Peurifoy states. "Over the last two decades I ve seen the strengths of science and psychology in helping people and making our lives more comfortable. I ve also become acutely aware of the inability of science and psychology to address the true source of human misery: sin and our separation from God. I believe that God has helped me write a book that will be useful to many."Peurifoy stresses the importance of recognizing how the individual aspects of emotions interconnect. He focuses on four main aspects of emotions: their subjective nature, their physical side, their mental side and their spiritual side. He then shows how each of these aspects must be addressed if true healing of emotional issues is to take place."Why Did God Give Us Emotions?" addresses topics like: Are some emotions "good" and others "bad"? The role of medications in treating emotional problems How our core beliefs affect our interpretation of events How emotions are the true window into our souls How to stop hiding from "taboo" emotions What keeps us from hearing God The role emotions play in becoming the person God wants us to becomeThere is certainly no shortage of counseling and self-help books lining the shelves of Christian bookstores today. "Why Did God Give Us Emotions?" is destined to distinguish itself from the rest. With simple, straightforward verbiage (no pop psychology terms here), practical steps to follow and twenty years of wisdom and insight, Peurifoy?'s book is essential reading for pastors, counselors and those struggling with emotional issues as well as for the general reader who wants to understand this wonderful, yet often mysterious gift and gain skills for managing emotions more effectively. Also included is a section of discussion questions, making "Why Did God Give Us Emotions?" an ideal vehicle for small group study.

Q&A with Reneau Peurifoy

Q: Let’s talk about the “elephant nature” of emotions. Why are emotions such a mystery to us?

A: A well-known Indian parable tells of six blind men who encounter an elephant for the first time. As each one touches a different part of the elephant, they arrive at conflicting conclusions as to what the elephant is like. The first man touches the elephant’s leg and states that it is like a pillar. The second touches the tail and declares it to be like a rope. The third touches the trunk and says it is like the thick branch of a tree, etc. Although each man’s perception is accurate, none has really understood the true nature of the elephant.

The same thing can happen with emotions when individual aspects of emotions are studied without stepping back periodically to see how they interconnect. The four main aspects of emotions explored in detail in Why Did God Give Us Emotions? include:

  • The subjective nature of emotions: This includes how they make you feel, how they focus your energy and attention and how they urge you to take actions to obtain the things you want and avoid the things you don’t want. This aspect of emotions also includes the experiential understanding of events and concepts that is much more powerful than simple knowledge.
  • The physical side of emotions: This includes the various parts of the brain associated with emotions, the physical reactions they cause in your body and the ways injury, illness or other malfunctions of the brain can affect how you think and feel.
  • The mental side of emotions: This includes the role that your thoughts and beliefs play in generating emotions and how emotions, in turn, affect your thoughts.
  • The spiritual side of emotions: This includes the way emotions reveal both your true character and the nature of your relationship with God as you struggle to live in a broken world. It also includes the way emotions give us insights about the nature of God.

Q: Can some emotions be good and others bad?

Christians sometimes spend a great deal of time pondering this question, whether some emotions, such as love, are good and others, such as anger, are bad. This is similar to wondering whether your hands are good or bad. Emotions, like every other aspect of your being, were originally intended to help you enjoy and serve God. However, just as the actions of your hands can be pleasing or abhorrent to God, your emotions can also serve good or evil. What we need to focus on is the source of the emotion or action. The source of evil lies in a mind and heart tainted with sin. The actions you take and the emotions you experience are just the outer expression of what is in your heart and mind. Yielding to the Holy Spirit transforms your inner being into what God intended it to be. As this occurs, your emotions, desires and thoughts are transformed so they function more closely to what God intends.

Q: In the introduction to Why Did God Give Us Emotions?, you point out that this book was twenty years in the making. Why such a long process?

A: When I completed my first book, Anxiety, Phobias & Panic: Taking Charge and Conquering Fear in 1988, I knew that I wanted to write a companion version from a Christian perspective. However, after being back in church for only four years and with so many conflicting ideas from my wanderings still in my head, I knew I wasn’t ready. In 1995, I started attending classes through Fuller Seminary’s extension program to deepen my understanding of the Bible. At this time I learned Greek and began studying the New Testament in Greek. A year later I wrote the first draft of this book but realized after several chapters that I was not yet mature enough in faith or understanding to write the book I wanted to write. So, I put it aside. I made another attempt to write it about five years later, but again was dissatisfied with the results.

Now, after twenty years of being humbled and growing in Christ, I believe that God has helped me write a book that will be useful to many. From the very start, I’ve had two goals: I wanted to look at what science has learned about emotions from a biblical perspective, and I wanted to do it in a way that would strengthen the readers’ walk with God. Over the last two decades I’ve seen the strengths of science and psychology in helping people and making our lives more comfortable. I’ve also become acutely aware of the inability of science and psychology to address the true source of human misery: sin and our separation from God.

Six Steps to Managing Emotions

Q. What are some steps we can take to manage our emotions effectively?

A: When you experience emotions that seem overwhelming or puzzling or when you have responded to a situation in an ungodly or self-defeating way, be sure to ask God to open your heart and mind to His guidance before you begin.

Step 1: What Am I Feeling?

Clearly identify what emotion you experienced. Be sure to use words that describe true emotions. If you are working with an inappropriate behavior, identify what you were feeling just before you reacted.

Step 2: What Triggered this Emotion?

Most emotions are a response to needs and wants being met, a threat or a loss that has been experienced. Once you identify what you felt, the easiest way to identify the need or want that triggered it is to ask yourself, “What did I want in this situation?” or “If I could control events, what should have happened?”

Step 3: Was My Emotional Response Appropriate

Decide if the response was a logical response. If there was a real threat, then some level of anger or fear would be appropriate. If a loss occurred, sadness would be appropriate. Ask yourself if the level of the emotion fit the situation. If the emotion was logical and at an appropriate level of intensity, go on to the next step. If not, you will need to look deeper for any hidden needs, unbiblical forms of thinking, core beliefs, or conditioned responses that triggered the response.

Step 4: Were the Actions I Took Appropriate?

Most of the time, simply asking yourself the question, “Was my behavior something that glorified God?” is enough. However, if you are not sure, talk to someone who is mature in the Lord. This might be a fellow believer or a pastor. An objective third person is often helpful in looking at your behavior more clearly.

Step 5: What Does God Want Me to Learn from This?

Because we are experts at rationalizing our responses, this is often the most difficult step. However, if you ask God with a sincere heart to help you see what He wants you to learn from this experience, He will reveal it to you. Be willing to allow God to lead you to those things in your life that are keeping you distant from Him and need His healing touch such as fear, pride, resentment, self-importance, emotional wounds or sin that you are reluctant to give up.

Step 6: Is There Some Action I Need to Take?

Strong emotions always indicate a need to take action. Sometimes the action involves dealing with unresolved hurts from the past, ungodly beliefs, pride, or sin in your life. This is especially true if you identified issues like this in Steps 3 or 5. Other times, your emotions are signaling that you need to take some other type of action. If you have clearly identified a need or want that is reasonable and doesn‘t violate what has been revealed in Scripture, ask God to help you plan actions that will please Him.

Sometimes the required action has to do with setting limits or confronting someone. Sometimes it involves making changes in your life or pursing something your heart desires that you have been ignoring. If it is difficult for you to identify actions you can take that would be appropriate and pleasing to God, seek the counsel of other believers or your pastor.

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