“Emotions are a great gift from God. But the Lord never intended them to serve as our guide.” ~ Wayne Stiles
- Tests, follow-up tests, and waiting, waiting, waiting for results. Is it cancer?
- Knee surgery, physical therapy, put the cane away, pain-free walking…Oops. need the cane again.
When people ask how I’m doing, do I respond with my current emotional state or do I reply with the reaction that I am choosing to live in? Which answer is the truth?
Life can take us on a roller coaster ride: up, down, loop-de-loop, and sideways. My emotions love to make a dramatic entrance, but I’m slowly learning that they are “not in charge of me.” God designed me with the ability to choose, and that includes choosing which emotion I’m going to stick with.
That doesn’t mean that strong emotional bursts, first reactions that erupt, and melancholy that loves to take up residence have disappeared from my life.
Outbursts of play and laughter are welcome anywhere, anytime. I encourage and delight in them.
I give the negative ones their moment (as long as they aren’t destructive to me or anyone around me). Then I give them a loving hug and say, “Goodbye. I’m choosing to count my blessings instead, so you can go away now.”
Is this a faith question? If I’m depressed, is my faith not present or not strong enough? I don’t believe this to be true. Mental illness is real, and medical intervention is often necessary. But I do need to trust that God will help me to renew my mind and transform my thinking. And I need to trust that I was designed by God to do so.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:19
My emotions exists. They rise to the surface like a fully-inflated beach ball bursting from the water. And then God helps me deflate them—I don’t have the strength to do it on my own. I choose, I ask, I practice, and the Holy Spirit guides me to peace. It takes recognition, a decision, and lots of practice.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
The world tells us our emotions are barometers that measure the success and happiness of our lives. Don’t buy this false measuring stick.
Instead, view your emotions like the warning lights on a car’s dashboard—they demand immediate attention. So investigate the issue, acknowledge the emotion, and move on to the response that you choose to express.