If you're an 80's kid like I am, then when I belt out the lyrics "Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain," you'll channel your inner Rob Base and start singing along. What a jam that is!! The other day I went and saw the new Pixar movie Inside Out with my kids. I LOVED IT!! As a life coach I was soaking up all the emotional metaphors they were throwin' down. After watching a movie that shows why all emotions are important and how sadness and joy go hand in hand, I couldn't help but sing those words out as I left the theater "Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain....pump it up, pump it up!"
This movie made for a very interesting and introspective evening. What are emotions truly for? Many times our emotions tell us to do things that we know are not good for us, yet we as women put so much stock in how we feel. Emotions can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Emotions help us feel and show love. Fear, when experienced properly, is an effective emotion protecting us from dangerous situations. Emotions help purge what is going on inside of us. All of these emotions can be helpful. What really gets me is how, for many of us, emotions dictate our actions- even when those actions are not good for us. Our emotions are often skewed by our experiences, so the decisions that we make as a reaction to our emotions often leave us feeling wounded and alone. "But I feel like it" is a common phrase we tell ourselves to justify actions that may lead us down a painful road. Feelings sometimes come on so strong that they feel like truth in the moment we are experiencing them, so what can we do to distinguish between truth and feelings? How can we keep feelings in their proper place?
We know Jesus was emotional. He cried, grieved and mourned-- but Jesus' emotions never dictated what He actually did. He NEVER made His decisions based on how he felt. Instead, He sought God's will and acted on that truth. When Jesus went to the garden to plead with God, hoping that there might be another way apart from the cross (Luke 22:39-46), He was beyond emotional... He was undone! Jesus met with God three times that night to get an answer. When he did, Jesus put His feelings aside and did what needed to be done, willfully going to the cross. TRUTH dictated his actions, not His emotions. Phew! I am so thankful He chose to act according to the truth and not according to what he felt like doing.
Emotions are important. They are indicators of what's going on in our hearts whether it be "joy or pain, sunshine or rain" (HA! I made you sing it again). It is critical to be in touch with how you are feeling because those feelings will let you know where your heart is. When I am angry, it's important for me to stop and think, "Okay, why am I angry? What's really going on?" and then sort through that before I take action. Anger is an indicator that something deeper is going on in my heart. If I just react to a situation in anger, I will say and do things that will hurt myself or others. Instead I stop, search my heart, and ask God to direct me to the truth. If the truth sets me free, (John 8:32) then that's where I need to place my decision making-- in truth, NOT in how I feel.
Trust me, I know this is hard to do! I want to challenge you with this question- when using your emotions as your decision maker, have you ever been led astray? I have been led astray by my emotions many more times than I care to count. On the flip side, the truth from God's word has NEVER let me down.
Is there something in your life you know you should be doing, but aren't because your emotions are keeping you stuck? Are you making choices that are hurting you because you've based them on how you feel and not on what is true? For many of us, we need to stop. We need to take a minute and find out why we are feeling the way we are feeling, then take all of those feelings and surrender them to God, allowing Him to dictate our decisions.
We all want to walk in freedom. We all want to be able to make choices that bring peace. This will not happen if your emotions are the building blocks for your actions. Peace and freedom come when we surrender our feelings before the Lord and trust Him to guide where we go and what we do. The next time you are having a feeling that is causing you to think crazy thoughts or consider crazy actions, stop and ask yourself "where is this coming from?" Then, ask the Lord to help you see clearly and trust Him to guide you according to His truth. He is trustworthy, only wants what is best for you, and will guide you into your best possible life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your feelings*, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight." Psalms 3:5-6