AT THE MOVIE, Week 5, Inside Out, Getting our Emotions in Control

Inside Out: Getting our Emotions in Control

At the Movies, Week 4, Pastor Steve

Impact Christian Church – July 8, 2018

Inside Out – “At the movies” tends to be one of our popular series. It’s fun, it’s different, but also and most importantly my goal is that we’re challenged and we grow as a result of studying the theme for the day. Today we are starting out by looking at an animated movie, and as we all know, today, animated movies aren’t just for kids.  Producers have skillfully introduced dialogue or themes that speak to adults as well, and the movie Inside Out is no different.  It was just coming out as I was doing our last movie-series so I couldn’t do it, but immediately I knew, that’s one we are going to talk about.  How many of you have seen the movie? 

It’s the story of a 11-year old girl called Riley who goes through a major life-transition.  She must leave behind her happy childhood home in Minnesota when her dad takes a new job in San Francisco.  But the real action in the movie takes place inside Riley’s head.  The main cast of characters are five basic emotions who are at the control center, inside Riley, and they cooperate and clash with one another as they influence and direct Riley through life.  Clip #1 introduces these 5 emotions.

Clip #1 –In previous movies, Pixar has given toys emotions, given bugs emotions, now they give emotions, emotions.  Today we’re going to talk about feelings, nothing more than feelings…in the movie we’ve got Anger, Fear, Joy, Disgust, Sadness. 

1.   Don’t ignore your feelings or emotions                                      

Study Guide – They all have a place & purpose…all are needed & valuable…can be positive or negative. I’m certain that a handful of folks right now that are thinking, “Movie sermon? Cartoons at Church?” On top of it we’re talking about feelings, seems kinda Bible-light.  Can’t we talk about the Trinity, 2nd Coming, discipleship? Learn some Greek or Hebrew words.  But feelings/emotions?!”  Lame! 

“So God created human beings,  in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

You and I were made in God’s image so everything within us can be traced back to something good within God.  Maybe we’ve distorted or corrupted it, but what’s within us some way somehow is the result of how God made us.  Let me show you how he made you…

Our Compartments: Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Social, Emotional.  The emotions/feelings we have are a reflection of being made in God’s image.  We feel because God feels. 

Jesus Emotions:

  • ANGER: Matthew 21:12 – Turns over the tables.
  • FEAR: Luke 22:44 – In the Garden Jesus is stressed, anxious
  • DISGUST: Mark 8:1 – Disgusted toward Pharisees.
  • SADNESS: John 11:35 – Jesus wept.
  • JOY: Luke 10:21 – Jesus was filled with the joy. Matthew 11:19 – Jesus was having fun

     Church and Christians have over the years highlighted certain emotions/feelings.  Maybe some over others.  Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say REJOICE!”  That’s what Paul says in Philippians.  Paul is speaking of rejoicing…of joy in the Lord.  Do it over and over…but there are other verses that talk about Jesus’ anger when turned over the tables the tax collectors in the temple…and the Bible talks about the fear and stress that Jesus was going into his torture and crucifixion… Jesus experiences the same emotions we do…yet he was without sin!!

Don’t stuff or ignore any of your feelings – We need to experience them…As the movie begins the narrator isn’t sure what Sadness does.  In fact, Joy rather resents Sadness and continually tries to sideline her out of the action…why don’t you stand in this circle and don’t come out, she says at one point. 

One scene that really caught my attention was when mom says to Riley, “Thank you so much for being happy for us, it has really helped me and your dad, please keep it up for us.”  Yikes, that’s how you turn a kid into a people-pleaser.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t want to make others happy, but not at the expense of stuffing other emotions…which is what poor Riley was being asked to do.

“When I am overwhelmed,  you alone know the way I should turn…    Hear my cry, for I am very low.”  Psalm 142:3, 6

All our feelings have a place…now we just have to figure out how to express them.

2.     It’s time to work on EQ                                                         

IQ = Our intellectual intelligence. 

EQ = Our emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence…

  • Accurately perceive and understand my emotions-frustration, anger, sadness, worry, lonely…
  • Accurately perceive and understand others emotions-discernment to see inside others
  • In either case, to be positive and mature in my response

Clip #2 – One scene that illustrates this magnificently!  Family is at dinner table, up until this point all we’ve seen is Riley’s emotions but in this scene, we also see Mom’s emotions as they are operating at her control center, then dad’s emotions also get involved and there is this interplay between character and emotions = speaks to bullet point #2.  Watch…

Q: Were the parents able to accurately diagnose their daughter’s emotions AND respond appropriately?  This scene is funny and entertaining, but it’s also concerning because if we are honest, haven’t we all done this?  Haven’t we all allowed our emotions to control us, to dictate our behavior, and we overreact?

? It’s impossible to become spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.

Not going to work, not mature, not pleasing to God IF…volunteer around the church but then go home and blow up at your family.  You’re a church leader but are emotionally insecure and defensive Memorize the books of the Bible but don’t deal with your depression and anger. Disciplined in having your devotions but undisciplined with your mouth. Worship and pray and tithe but then go to work and are passive-aggressive toward your boss.  Oh, snap…I guess we really are going to deal with real issues today!

  • Understand your emotions – Romans 12:3, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves”
  • Control your emotions-Proverbs 29:22, 19:11-12…you can/should/need to control your temper… ”Sensible people control their temper”
  • Express your emotions – Ephesians 4:26,  There is a way to be angry but not sin…“don’t sin by letting anger control you.”

Inside Out Character – Do you think these folks express their anger in a healthy godly fashion?  How about you? Or maybe you’re more sophisticated, bury your anger, hide it, disguise it…that’s still not healthy, you know that right?  One more time: it’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature.

3.     Emotions can’t always be trusted                                              

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9

“Those who trust their own insight are foolish.” Proverbs 28:26


Clip #3 – Riley’s first day at school doesn’t go well. Family time in SF doesn’t go well. Try-outs for the hockey team doesn’t go well.  Everything stinks! SO…her emotions get at the control center and make a suggestion that is not good, not wise, not going to help her in the long run.  WATCH…

Would you agree, our feelings have a lot of power!  Our emotions have a tremendous amount of clout!  What we do, what we say, where we go, the choices we make are heavily influenced by our…emotions/heart. The thing is the prophet Jeremiah and Solomon and other Biblical authors warn us, sometimes what you feel can’t/shouldn’t be trusted.  Sometimes our feelings are fickle…

IIu. Engagement Ring – One friend says to another, “Heard you broke off your engagement with Tom, what happened?” “Oh, my feelings for him aren’t the same.”  “That’s too bad, so are you going to return the engagement ring?”  “Oh no!  My feelings toward the ring haven’t changed at all!”

? Guard your heart

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of     your life.” Proverbs 4:23

Guard – We guard our homes-put security systems on.  We guard our cars-alarms. Guard our bodies-avoid gluten, minimize salt.  We guard our skin-put sun screen on. We guard our money-put it in a bank. We even guard and protect our lawns from bugs…and yet we put little or absolutely no thought into guarding our hearts.  “Everything” in life is going to flow from your heart…the control center of you. So, “Guard your heart.”

“His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live  in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

? Renew your mind –

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

Most of us want to renew our minds, That’s why we …

“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.” Philippians 4:8

“Captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Cor 10:5

? Control your response and behavior      Remember…

“The Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” Deuteronomy 20:4

  • I can’t control my feelings , but I can and need to control my response to my feelings. 

The Perfect example is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: 

“My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”             Matthew 26:42

What did He feel? Felt stress, sad, afraid/anxious, he wanted to tap out, BUT his response and behavior were not based on his feelings, it was based on God’s will and truth.  Same needs to be true in our life.