“Feeling from the Inside Out” by Chad Young

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If you haven’t seen the animated movie Inside Out yet, whether or not you have kids, you’ve got to see it. I purchased it on DVD and watched it with my kids on Friday night, and it’s led to quite a bit of interesting discussion among our family. It’s one of those movies you just keep thinking about days after watching it.

Inside Out is about a young girl whose family moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. Well, actually the movie is mostly about five little characters inside of her head named Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Each of these characters represents an emotion, and they control what the girl does in each scene. I was not surprised to learn the film’s producers consulted numerous psychologists in making the film. Those psychologists helped revise the story by emphasizing the neuropsychological findings that human emotions affect interpersonal relationships and can be significantly moderated by them.

After the movie, I asked my kids which of the emotions depicted in the film tend to control their thinking and actions the most. My oldest son Wyatt, who just turned fourteen, admitted that ever since he’s gone through puberty, anger seems to get the best of him more often than he’d like. My 2nd grade daughter Evelyn said, “Definitely fear! Fear is in the driver’s seat the most in my mind.” This made sense as she recently has been struggling with anxiety. When we considered our five year-old daughter Josilynn, our whole family decided Joy was her primary emotion. She is full of joy, unless she doesn’t get her way or loses a competition. Then anger can take over! Finally, my son Clark acknowledged that joy and sadness are the two most dominant emotions in his life.

Of those five emotions, which one tends to take control of your life the most?

As I reflect on the movie, I can think of times in my life that each of those five emotions has controlled my actions. Of course, the emotion we were created to experience the most is joy. Anger, sadness, fear, and disgust are all the consequences of living in a broken world. The Bible says that one day after Christ returns we’ll live in a world where there will be no fear and no sorrow. Joy will be our companion.

While raising four kids, I’ve sought to understand how to best shepherd their hearts and create an environment where joy is found. A verse that has inspired me and has also been a good verse to teach my kids is Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Thinking good thoughts, as this verse commands, aids in my having a positive emotional well-being. Of course, at times other negative emotions get the best of me, but when that happens, I confess that to God, asking him to take control of my emotions.

How does Philippians 4:8 connect with you? The next time you are tempted to speak poorly about someone or to complain, I’d challenge you to put that verse into practice. Hopefully, like me, you’ll experience more joy than you would if you had allowed the cynical spirit to control your attitude and actions. Let me know if it works!

Wrestling With Faith, Love and GatorsTo read more of Chad’s adventures, see his new book, Wrestling with Faith, Love and Gators. He’s a 14-year Cru staff member residing in Atlanta, Ga., with his wife Elizabeth and their children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. He’s also the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World.

About the Author:

Chad YoungChad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fourteen years. He is the author of AUTHENTICITY: REAL FAITH IN A PHONY, SUPERFICIAL WORLD (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, findingauthenticchristianity.com. Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples.

Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.

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