I know I’ve been there…but I have to ask you–
Are your emotions driving you bananas?
There is a very popular belief that
“Thoughts make your feelings. Feelings make your actions. Actions make your life.”
And for many people that is completely true.
We hear stories about people that are destroyed by following their emotions in the news everyday. While I believe thoughts can create my emotions and I believe they can fuel my actions, I think there is a better way to live than allowing my fickle emotions to fuel my actions and choices.
Jesus made decisions from purpose, values and truth, not emotions. Even as a child when Jesus stayed behind at the temple, his mother was surprised that Jesus’ divine purpose, “doing His Father’s will”, had fueled Jesus’ actions.
In Hebrews 12:1 the Apostle Paul paints a vivid picture of a passionate runner, running to win the race. You run very different when you run to win; you strip off every weight and tie your shoelaces so you don’t trip.
I am so glad that Paul continued by telling us how to “run to win” spiritually.
“2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Jesus initiates and perfects, which means He is the author and completer of our faith. He fuels our purposes with His divine energy when those purposes line up with His Word.
Jesus was able to look beyond the terrible pain of the cross to see the joy of what His obedience would accomplish.
I realize our emotions can overwhelm us.
In spite of our best efforts to stuff them inside, they can come out of nowhere exploding and protruding like what happens when trying to squeeze a fat belly into tight jeans.
Emotions can take you to the highest highs and the lowest lows. They can propel you or derail you. They can pop your dreams or prompt your success. Also, they can energize your activity or exhaust your efforts.
Emotions, strong feelings and whims are produced when events are processed, almost instantly, by your brain through the well-worn neural pathways in your brain. (Remember the path through the tree-like neurons.) Emotions are produced by thoughts you believe and the value you have assigned to that thought.
Let me explain.
I have assigned (without meaning to) a very, high value to the goal that I don’t want to inconvenience anyone. I don’t want to make life hard on people, so asking someone to do something for me is very painful. It affects the way I drive, when and how often I call someone. It affects virtually every decision that involves someone else. Honestly, I worry too much about this.
And, I need to create new thought patterns in that area, because it robs others and me. Sometimes I miss ministry opportunities and fellowship that would enrich vital relationships.
What value have you given it?
Is there something that you have assigned an inappropriate value?
Maybe it is something you want to own and you don’t feel like you can be happy until you have it.
Maybe there is someone that what you think they think about you or what they say (or don’t say) about you upsets you way too much?
Perhaps it’s a failure that plagues you and stops you from doing something you should be doing?
Emotions are part of what makes us human.
They enrich our lives, but if you allow them to drive your actions you are headed for a wreck.
Emotions can lie to you.
They can exaggerate and distort the truth.
Your emotions go haywire on you and blow stuff way out of proportion.
Sometimes they are simply inaccurate. Just because you believe something, doesn’t make it true. Yet when you believe it, it becomes your reality.
I know of a mom that didn’t believe her daughter loved her. No matter how hard the daughter tried to prove her love, it wasn’t enough. The mom was jealous of every relationship the daughter had. Finally, she totally shut the daughter out of her life; all because she simply believed a lot of little lies. She assigned meaning to things that didn’t mean what she thought at all.
Emotions need to be evaluated in the light of Scripture and your values as a child of God. Take your mindsets and emotions to the cross. Ask God bold questions, like
What is the truth in this situation?
What do you want me to do with this emotion?
Emotions are important warning signals.
They can tell you something is wrong; that you need to stop or slow down because there is danger.
So think prayerfully.
Precious Holy Spirit,
What is this emotion telling me? Danger? Devastation? Distraction?
Is its message to me true?
Is this emotion an attack from the enemy to discourage or sidetrack me?
Could this be a prompting from Precious Holy Spirit that I need a course correction?
Is it a prompting to pray? Something like an amber alert that goes off on your phone?
What value am I assigning to the event that has stirred this emotion?
What asset/benefit am I surrendering to this event? Peace, joy, confidence, love.
Is my goal and purpose to be comfortable in a life of ease or is it to please God?
Emotions don’t have a driver’s license.
Don’t allow emotions to drive your actions. Give the keys to the right driver- truth, desired outcomes, goals that the please God and bring glory to Him.
If an angry neighbor came running over and demanded that you give them your car keys or if your confident toddler wanted your car keys, would you hand them over? Of course not. Neither your angry neighbor nor your toddler have the emotional maturity to handle your car at that moment, so why would you give your flighty emotions the keys to drive your choices? Don’t do it.
If you want to reign through Christ…Jesus must reign on the throne of your life. Every decision must be submitted to God. Make His Word the ultimate authority. Put Truth in the Driver’s Seat John 17:17 Santify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.