Balancing Your Emotions With Truth

Have you ever heard a statement like: “The devil wants you to pay attention to your feelings, Jesus wants you to pay attention to the truth”? Or maybe you’ve noticed that our culture can focus so much on making sure everyone feels good, that it limits our ability to speak truth, causing some to wonder if emotions are something to be dismissed or belittled. 

As a counsellor I hear comments like “I got that instability from my mom” or “I’m working on controlling how I feel.” In fact some seem to be so disconnected from their emotions that they can’t identify what they are feeling in a given moment, which is immensely hard on their relationships because they can’t connect effectively in intimate relationships like marriage or even parenting. 

Perhaps this is a major factor in why we are straying so far from God’s truth in our culture! We’re trying so hard to shut down a part of us that God has gifted us with, which eventually rises up and takes over if we don’t give it the acknowledgement it needs. 

You see, we aren’t supposed to control our emotions, but instead we are to feel them. Yes, we may need to filter our actions and sometimes if we respond to our emotions the wrong way then our actions can become sinful, but usually those actions are sourced in our inability to process the emotion in the first place. 

As adults we aren’t the only ones that need to learn to accept our emotions, our children need to learn this too. Even better that they learn now before it becomes a problem later as adults or teens, when they are trying to process their compassion for others simultaneously to their understanding of God’s truth.

My favourite illustration to use when processing and accepting emotions is found in the wave pool; emotions are like the big surges of water, or “swells” that come at you in a wave pool. 

When you first see them, you might be afraid or nervous either because of the size or unknown nature of what’s coming.  When I first stepped into a wave pool I would see the swell/wave coming and get nervous and try to stand my ground, keeping my feet firmly planted. The result was not good. Slammed by the wall of water and gasping for breath I would have barely enough time to prepare for the next rush of water. 

I needed to stop trying to fight the swell. Taking a breath and letting my feet leave the ground, allowing my body to rise with the water and eventually come down the other side. There may be moments of discomfort, wondering how long the wave will last, or how long we might have to tread water, but in the end we find safety and security in riding it out. Choosing to feel our emotions is quite similar. Our emotions are part of our whole being and they tell us something. Have you ever noticed that Ephesians four starts by telling us to “Be angry”? It’s our response to anger that is warned against, but so often we have vilified anger as evil. 

Both we and our children need to learn to FEEL our emotions. We need to acknowledge them, face them and ride them out. As we do this we can learn to understand what is motivating the emotion that we are feeling. Anger, for example, tells us that we need something, possibly justice for ourselves or others; it’s a catalyst for change. Responding to that need requires acknowledgement of the emotion and its source, making a decision about how we respond to it happens AFTER we allow the wave of initial emotion to pass, when we are “grounded” with our feet are on solid ground again.

This is a hard lesson to learn, for ourselves, but also for our children. Allowing our children to feel things like helplessness, desperation, grief, sadness, fear, and anger are uncomfortable for us and so often we swoop in to distract them or save them from the waves that they need to learn to process and ride out – it’s our job to show them what it means to see emotions as a gift from God instead of a curse to be worked through, and to show them how to let their emotions inform them but not control them. 

So, a more accurate statement could be something like, “Jesus wants us to pay attention to both our emotions and the truth, allowing the truth to inform and guide our actions.”

May you have courage as you ride the waves that come your way, and teach your children to do the same. It’s important to be that emotional safe place for your children so you aren’t  triggered yourself (You don’t want to get sucked into the undertow of their wave). If processing your own emotions is new for you, bear the discomfort with God at your side, and if you need help, counselling is always a good option.


David McVety

Counsellor and Shepherd

Original article published HERE

Parenting: Laying a Foundation for Relationship and Self-Acceptance


Laying the foundation your children need to develop and grow as God designed them to, isn’t something we always consider. In fact, often times I find myself sitting back and just being glad that my kids are doing what they “should” be doing or what they have been told to do. After all, why mess with something that isn’t broken, right? Well, unfortunately it isn’t that simple. Our children grow and develop, their brains change and shift, and their behaviour changes as they stretch grow in their independence. To weather these changes, they need a foundation of both security and acceptance. This foundation creates confidence to explore, assurance of salvation and an innate willingness to learn and not be afraid of hard question or difficult answers. My four children are drastically different from each other, and it’s easier for me to relate to some than with others. It takes more time and effort to be in relationship with those I don’t understand, and I need to make sure all of my kids know that I love them deeply,


In order to prevent misconceptions or feelings of preference from our kids, my wife and I have been intentionally asking each other a few key questions:



  1. Have we been criticizing our children’s shortcomings more than we have been noticing their unique gifts?
  • Melissa and I watch our children together. It’s quite natural to look at a child and notice their shortcomings but doing this doesn’t build confidence. They need to know they are perfectly and wonderfully made, just a they are; without this foundation, they will not be able to grow and explore who God has created them to be. So, instead of noticing the bad, we acknowledge and consciously highlight the positive traits in each of our children.
  1. Are we affirming what they do or who they are?
  • The overt things that they do are important to acknowledge and affirm BUT affirming actions alone creates a sense of value found in performance. The possible result is a belief system that says, unless they perform, they are not valuable; their identity becomes tied to their performance. We MUST be looking past the actions and noticing the character traits of our children, the things that are motivating them to do the things they are doing, even if those motivations aren’t always right. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm WHO our children are, and correct and guide their character through moments where their motivation may be wrong. Doing this is a key ingredient to building resilience in our kids, they need to know that it’s okay when things don’t go as planned, this isn’t failure because even their attempts build and express their character.
  1. Are we listening to the heart of our children?
  • The other day, my daughter asked if she could skip going to youth group that evening. Our tendency as parents is to give a quick answer based on our value set, we value community and spiritual development and have had a standard in our home that says our kids will commit to going to youth as an expression of that value. In this case however, I stopped myself from the quick “no” and instead tried to listen to her and hear the reason that she didn’t want to go to youth. It gave us an opportunity to talk about why we prioritize going to youth group and discuss whether or not those goals were being met. At 13 it is very helpful for her to begin to process and problem solve how to commit and meet those needs so that she isn’t just going out of obedience but is participating. Listening actually gave me a chance to equip and grow her toward self-motivated spiritual growth and discernment.



I have found these questions to be extremely important for both my relationship with my children as well as their acceptance of themselves.


God wants us to embrace the gifts and purposes He has for each of us, and our job as parents is to build our children’s foundation so they can live fully fulfilled in who they have been created to be. When I think of the body of Christ, I can’t be a hand if God has made me to be a foot, (1 Cor. 12:15-26) and as a foot if I see that my child is a hand, I may need to work harder to understand the value of the hand, I may have to learn new things so I can teach them about who they are more effectively. My prayer is that these questions might help guide you as you guide and affirm your children in who they are and who God has created them to be.


Originally written for and published for




I was struck recently by something that maybe should be a given, but I don’t think it really is in our culture.

The issue that spoke to me was that of obedience, obedience specifically as it relates to God and my relationship with Him.


Is not about “Do this or else” but an offer to “please stay close and safe”


I was struck recently by something that maybe should be a given, but I don’t think it really is in our culture.


The issue that spoke to me was that of obedience, obedience specifically as it relates to God and my relationship with Him.


I think that most of us see obedience as something that involves punishment. Thoughts and phrases like “If you obey me then I will love you” or “if you love me, you will obey me” or “if you obey, you will be blessed” which leads to other thoughts like “if I disobey I will lose out or be punished.” These concepts aren’t totally wrong, in fact they tend to line up pretty clearly with the Old Testament, considering the numerous times Israel was “judged” for their disobedience.


Even as parents we may take this posture with our kids. “Do this or else” is a common response from many of us, especially in moments of frustration on our part or disrespect and disregard from our kids.


This is a problem when it comes to our understanding of God though, with this mentality, the only reason we have to obey is to avoid punishment, which really puts us at odds with the concept of love, doesn’t it?


We fight our sin in a desperate attempt to avoid losing something, or gaining punishment. Doing this makes us look at verses like this one as threats:

John 15:9-10 (NIV)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

It can come across like, “IF you do what I’ve asked then I will love you” but that isn’t what it says.


In reality though, it actually says something entirely different from a threat.


Allow me to illustrate; if my son wants to run across a busy street I tell him no because I know that he is likely to get hurt if he does. So I tell him not to, and depending on his age I might tell him why. I ask him to stay on the sidewalk with me, and to hold my hand. If he stays WITH me and listens to what I’ve asked, he is: in my presence, close to me, safe and accepting the love I am offering through my instructions – essentially “remaining in my love.”


You see, he has the opportunity to realize that my instructions, boundaries and even commands are expressions of love, and opportunities for him to trust me and stay in my presence and admit and accept that I love him. This makes the act of obeying shift drastically because it isn’t me telling him something in an attempt to take away his fun, but for the purpose of protecting and loving him.


What brought this to mind was the fact that I was finding moments in my day and life where I felt specifically led to do something by God, things that were uncomfortable and I wouldn’t have normally done. When I did them I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. This is NOT what someone who is having good things withheld from them would feel, but instead is something that someone feels when they know they have heard and listened to and chosen to walk closely with someone that loves them and wants only the best for them.


To simply know this and preaching that God’s word is a loving instruction manual for the best life He has created me for doesn’t do justice to actually living life with an all powerful and loving God.


My son finds joy in being close to me, holding my hand and knowing that he has NOTHING to worry about and that nothing can hurt him if he is with me. He lets go of his desires to run across the street, not because it doesn’t look fun or tempting anymore but because being close to me is so much better!


There is joy beyond words when we are close to God and trusting His direction and protection, and something beautiful to the idea that, in obedience, we are close enough to hear God’s gentle whisper of comfort and love. (1 Kings 12:11-13)


This is what remaining in God’s love is – and it changes EVERYTHING!


We don’t obey because of consequences/punishment or even because there is a carrot hanging in front of us that we hope to get if we listen well enough, we obey because it’s an opportunity to trust and let God make the decisions we don’t need to make, it’s a chance to be close and to find something SO much better than the plastic and temporary pleasures of the world.


Obedience isn’t about “do this or else” it’s about “please stay with me – it’s better here” and to let go of the worries of this world and experience joy beyond our wildest dreams.


May your understanding of obedience be changed forever and may you find and embrace the AWESOME joy that comes with being close to your Father and trusting that He knows best.



Audio: Teaching Our Children the Value of Quiet (and boredom)

Teaching our Children the Value of Quiet (and Boredom too) 

Melissa and Dave’s Keynote address #2 at the BC Christian Home Educators Conference

I believe that there is incredible potential for us to grow our children and a vital need for us to teach them how to embrace and look for opportunity in times of rest, quiet and ESPECIALLY Boredom! Melissa and I shared about this at a recent homeschool conference as the keynote speakers.

Teaching our Children the Value of Quiet (and Boredom too) 

For more reading in my Redefining Boredom Series follow these links:

Part 1: Room for relationship

Part 2: Healing

Part 3: Creativity

Part 4: Spiritual Growth

Audio: The Impact of Rules with Relationships on our Faith and Parenting

Click here to listen Rules – Relationship = Rebellion

Exploring how rules impact our tendency as human beings to rebel – toward our parents and even towards God.

Keynote address at CHEC (Christian Home Educators Conference)


For articles on this check out these links:

The Heart of Discipline: The Principle of New Covenant Parenting – How Rules Relate to Rebellion

Rules – Relationship = Rebellion : A Parenting Principle


Podcast – Face Time vs Screen Time: Helping kids with an electronic-digital balance

The DFR Podcast team discusses and gives tools for Helping our kids balance digital devices in their lives.

Podcast #65: Face Time vs. Screen Time – Helping Kids Achieve Electronic-Digital Balance



Originally posted on HERE on the DFR site.


For more info follow these links:

6 Step guide to Social Media Introduction for you children

Dr. Dave’s Cell Phone Sanity, a Graduated System for Cell Phone Introduction

Filters for every device in your home – There is a need for all devices in your home to be filtered. This article also gives names of sites and programs that will help you monitor text messages, Instagram and Facebook accounts if you find the need.

The Three Layered Approach to Internet Security– The how to and why’s of the filters listed above.

iPod Safety in 3 steps