by Terri Webster
I can't always trust my emotions.
I have positive emotions and negative ones. Sometimes my emotions plunge me into a pool of tears, only to yank me out into a dry place where I feel nothing. They change as quickly as circumstances can change.
Emotion is a natural, instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others (Google online dictionary).
The other morning distant thunder roused me from sleep. My husband had left at pre-dawn for a white-water rafting trip, and I’d fallen back asleep.
The thunder was oddly constant, without the usual breaks and pauses.
I thought Doc, our 85-pound dog, will be freaking out and “pawing” the window to come in. I threw off the covers, slid into my flip flops and brushed my teeth, all while constant, rolling thunder grew louder.
When I opened the front door and walked out on the porch, ominous clouds swirled above, illuminated with lightning. I was awed enough to quickly snap a picture with my phone. Then a burst of wind and a clap of thunder caused Doc and me to hurry inside and close the door.
Heavy rain poured down in straight sheets, then was blown sideways. The wind howled around the house, while thunder constantly rolled. The electricity flashed off and on in unison with lightning.
Finally, after two hours, the rain let up and wind quit blowing. The lightning and thunder lingered, until finally it all stopped.
And just like that, it was calm and serene. The clouds were pushed aside by a calm breeze, revealing blue sky.
Isn’t this how our emotions are at times? They sweep over us with barely a warning, then abruptly change with our circumstances.
In the past I've allowed my feelings and emotions to be a determining factor in decision making.
The tiniest thing can flip on my emotional switch. If I'm not careful, before I know it, I’m swept out of control down a river of emotions.
Why does your heart carry you away allowing you to
be controlled by emotion? And why do your eyes flash
in anger or contempt? Job 15:12
Why do we gauge the truth with our emotions and feelings?
Why did God create us with such a powerful character trait?
Why can’t I trust something that’s largely a part of who I am?
To answer these questions, the only reliable and unchanging source is God’s word; alive, active, and powerful.
It’s only when I move the situation under the light of God’s word that I find the real truth. Then I feel silly for feeling the way I did and allowing my emotions to carry me away.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
When I find myself in a negative emotional whirlwind, I realize I can’t solely rely on them to reveal truth.
Here are three reminders I use to avoid being swept away by changing emotions and feelings, that I hope will encourage and help you too.
- Realize we’re made in God’s image. All throughout scripture we see that God has emotions and feels deeply. He was so moved with compassion that He gave His very son, so we could have an eternal, intimate relationship with Him, through Jesus’ atoning blood. All emotions aren't bad, but it's always safe to shine His truths on them.
- Negative emotions are based on past hurts and mistakes. Where God has already brought emotional healing and forgiveness, the devil’s scheme is to stir up our past to derail us and get us off course.
- Remember, it’s not all about you and me. If someone doesn’t respond the way we expect or want, stop and think that they have circumstances you’re unaware of. When we take ourselves out of the center and put Christ there, our perspective changes quickly.
- Lastly, sometimes it's just plain 'ol hormones and exhaustion that plays a part in changing emotions and feelings. Make sure you consistently nourish your body and soul so these times won't be as severe.
Finally, may you always enjoy God's peace in any storm as promised here in Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Staying the course,