Emotions are associated with feelings. Most of the time we allow ourselves to be led by what we feel; at times we feel tired, we feel sad, we feel angry, we feel rejected, we feel unwanted, we feel unworthy, we feel depressed, and many other negative feelings. Then, there are the positive feelings; feeling happy, feeling good, feeling ‘on cloud nine’, feeling jumpy, feeling a sense of accomplishment, feeling high, and such like things. Yet, feelings do not last. They come and go. One time we are feeling this and then the next we feel the other.
Emotions are usually affected by our surroundings or the state of our body. When we have money, when our family is doing good, when in good health, when our jobs and careers are expanding and growing, when we have good friendships, when we have ‘settled’ in life; then, we feel good and other positive emotions. But when we consider everything to be going wrong, when we face death, when we face any other loss, when we are facing disease or illness, when we are in financial crisis, when we think ‘life is against us’; then, we feel sad and a whole set of other negative emotions.
It seems like the state we are in emotionally is affected by ‘things’ whether within us or outside of us. Other people also affect our emotional state. When things are good we are good to go. When things are bad then we feel defeated. It is a very unhealthy way of living; where we are depending on our feelings. Emotions are usually there as an alert system, not as a control system. They are there to alert us when something is going well or something is not going well. They were never meant to determine the course of our lives.
Being led by emotions is an unstable way of living.
We should be keen enough to recognize our emotions, but they should never drive us. At times, we have to stop for a while, pay attention, and seek God; maybe something is actually going on in our bodies, maybe what we are about to do is not right, maybe we are walking in danger. Maybe. At times they are really telling us what is going on, therefore, we have to respond in the appropriate manner. Yet, at times, our emotions are just running wild, and we start reacting in fear.
Emotions are an alert not a standard.
We are not to follow our emotions. We are to respond appropriately according to the situation. Emotions are fleeting. They can lead us to react inappropriately and irrationally. They can lie yet at times they are pointing us towards something that is really wrong. Therefore, we need to know what the Word of God says so that we are able to stand firm. Following emotions makes us unstable. We lose ourselves. We are never to be controlled by our emotions. We are to respond rather than react. If we need to confirm something, then we go on and confirm it, if we need to ask for a second opinion, then we go on and ask, if we need to make peace with someone, then we go on and make peace with that person. There should be no confusion whatsoever. Most times, we just have to stop first, step back, and pray for God’s direction and will.
God is not the author of confusion.
Most of the time, in our humanness, we want what we can see, we want a sense of certainty and direction. If anything comes up that we deem is out of our control, we panic. We start being driven by emotions. We fear. We may start doubting anything and everything, we start asking what-ifs, we start asking for opinions from everyone, we go and search online about the situation we are in – we wonder, what does the internet say about what we are going through? We go on the overdrive, we make up in our minds every possible outcome to the situation we are going through. We realize most times we live in fear, and as a result, we end up attracting what we fear.
The Bible tells us to worry about nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving we let our request known to God. We cannot walk by sight and by faith at the same time. We have to choose, yet, without faith we cannot please God. Faith is the assurance of things not yet seen, it involves going by what we do not yet see, it involves taking the promises of God as they are and believing that they will come to pass.
We should learn to quieten our minds and be still, study and meditate on the Word, and wait for God to speak and act on our behalf. Our minds can become Satan’s playground, and if we are not careful, he will instill all sorts of thoughts in us. We have to put the mind and its thoughts into subjection to Christ, we have to have a will that seeks to do God’s will. Having a relationship with God stabilizes our emotions. We are transformed by the renewal of our minds with God’s Word and with time, we are able to prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
We are to walk in the Spirit, and when we do, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The flesh and the Spirit are hostile to each other. We cannot be led by our emotions when the Spirit of God is in control. Life has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize the season we are in and go through it gracefully. Things will not always go as we would have wanted, and life will not always turn out as we had planned. God is the One in control. We have to learn where our part ends and where God’s start. We are not to take up the part of God in our lives. We do not own our life, it is a gift from God.
We cannot heal ourselves. Yes, we seek treatment when sick, but eventually, it is God who heals. We do not control others or circumstances, at the very least, we can only control ourselves, yet even so, there are many things we cannot control in our lives. However, there is one thing we have control of, and that is our emotions. We can choose to be happy, cheerful, and kind, irrespective of what we are going through. Just because we are going through a storm does not make us entitled to be out of control emotionally. We can choose to be thankful in every circumstance.
The Bible says that a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
When all is said and done, it goes back to the state of our hearts. The emotional state we are in depends on our hearts’ condition. What is the condition of our hearts? Do we have God on the throne or prideful self? Do we believe we are not supposed to be going through what we are going through? Do we ask, why us and not ‘others’? Do we believe that we are better than others and as such we should not experience what we are experiencing? Do we blame God for what we are going through? Are we relying on people? Have we placed unrealistic expectations on people? Or, do we believe that God remains God irrespective of what we are going through?
The truth is, God is God. God is still on the throne; He has not moved. It is us who move away from Him. When we finally come back to our senses, we realize we need God. With time, we come to the knowledge that all things work for good to them that love God. We know that God loves us; God is love, and when we dwell in love we dwell in God and God in us.
Loving God means we are not after selfish worldly ambitions. Love is not self-seeking. Seeking selfish ambitions leads to an emotion-led unstable life, whereby we react depending on how things are or depending on how people treat us. We should not forget that as we go through life, there will be storms, but God has promised to be with us every step of the way. He has promised He will not let us be tempted beyond our ability to bear. With God, all things work for our good and for His glory.
Our attitude during such times is very important. A heart attitude rooted and dependent on God gives us stability. We are to trust God, not man or things. We are to walk in fear of God. When we put God first, we are able to go through life with joy. Joy comes from God, it is not an emotion, it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joy comes from within, from contentment only God can give. With time, when we walk by the Spirit, fruit starts manifesting; love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
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