Have you ever let your emotions steer your life? You need to know this about your emotions!
I know I have let my emotions steer my life!
Did you know that your emotions can actually work against you if you let them, taking you to places you don’t want to go or encouraging you to do things you don’t really want to do?
We may think we’re the masters of our feelings, but often, our feelings are the masters of us!
It doesn’t have to be that way, friend.
Emotions aren’t a bad thing. They give us the energy, zeal, or warnings that promote action. They make us feel joy when we play with our children, touched when somebody does something nice, or awed when we’re in God’s presence. God created our emotions. However, if we allow our souls to run wild, they will continually sabotage our success, damage relationships, and bring negative impact to our families and finances.
In this blog, I want to tell you how to recognize when your emotions are taking the steering wheel—in life, in love, and even in disciplining your children—and how to use your feelings as a powerful springboard for positive action in your life!
1. Your Brain Is the Key
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” —Charles R. Swindoll
I used to think my emotions were simply a result of what happened to me…
Boy, was I wrong!
Did you know that many, if not most, of our emotional responses to situations are learned and eventually become habits?
Our minds are like GPSs, and our emotions are the destination!
What we put into our heads comes out in our hearts. That means our emotions don’t have as much to do with our circumstances as we’d like to give them credit for—our response to those circumstances are simply how we’ve PROGRAMMED ourselves to react.
Hold on to your seat for this one…
Nobody can make you angry without your permission!
It’s true! Your brain tells your heart what to feel. So, if you’re unhappy with the way you’ve been reacting, take a step back and evaluate what you’ve been thinking, watching, and listening to.
Do you get angry easily? You might be listening to music filled with angry lyrics, meditating on movie characters that depict angry reactions, or letting your mind meditate on negative things. Find the root and replace it with how God says to react in that situation!
MAKE THE CHOICE TO REJOICE
When Gary and I were living in an old 1800s farmhouse with plants growing through the windows, too poor to buy our children a Happy Meal from McDonald’s, it was tempting to throw a pity party. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school—my life did not look like I had planned! I put up a sign in the one bathroom in our house, which also doubled as our laundry room, that said, “Make the CHOICE to rejoice.”
Every time I went in there to cry, I reminded myself, “You are not your circumstances. This does not define your happiness. You are wealthy. You are successful. You have more than enough to care for your family and feed your children. This is not the end of your story. This is just a temporary stop on your way to something greater! ”
I don’t think Gary and I could have ever truly been successful until we realized how to choose joy in the impossible!
Second Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This is a CRITICAL key.
The Bible urges us to take every thought captive. Whatever we allow our minds to think on sets us on a physical and spiritual course to produce that thought in our lives, with the emotions to back it up. We’re warned to guard our hearts above all else, because everything we do flows from them (Proverbs 4:23).
2. You See What You Want to
Have you ever heard the saying, “love is blind”?
It’s true, thanks to something I like to call the “Unconditional Love DNA” that God has placed in all of us.
This is a powerful asset when it comes to protecting our marriages, families, and friendships, but it can also make us blind to reality when we want to see something differently.
Let me show you what I mean!
IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO:
Susan is feeling a little lonely when she goes on a date with Collin, a charming businessman who makes a great first impression. She doesn’t know much about Collin; in fact, they’ve only just met. She goes home and thinks about the evening over and over again. Each time, it seems more magical, and she lets her mind get swept up in the idea of their life together.
By their fourth date, Collin is more comfortable with her—they converse, and she has a chance to really see him in action. The more they talk, red flags start to appear, but Susan ignores the warnings. Since she has already made up her mind that she likes Collin, she overlooks the potentially serious flaws that she starts to notice.
Later in the relationship when Collin does something wrong, it catches Susan completely off guard. This isn’t like Collin, she thinks. In truth, Susan doesn’t know what Collin is like. She fell in love with the idea of Collin without taking the time to really get to know him.
When Susan finally breaks off the relationship, it’s like a mask is lifted from her eyes. She asks herself, “What did I ever see in that guy?”
The answer? Not much!
So what happened? Why did Susan ignore the warning signs in that relationship?
LOVE IS BLIND
The simple answer is, our wants, fears, and desires can drastically affect our emotions, even blinding us to what’s really going on.
According to studies, when we love somebody, the parts of our brains that decide whether they are a good person or not shut down. The closer we are to a person, the harder it is to make out their character flaws.
The most interesting part of the study to me was that the results were the same, whether it was romantic love or maternal love. That’s why recognizing our children’s shortcomings and helping them “right their wrongs” can be the hardest task as parents.
This emotional process can lead us to act before we think, but when it’s managed, it’s a powerful tool and a gift that God gave us. God hardwired us with the ability to love people unconditionally—to have the love of Christ—a skill that we would fail at under any other circumstances.
Thanks to the unconditional love DNA God put in us, parents, spouses, and friends are able to forgive, forget wrongdoings, see the best in others, trust, and be patient with each other!
The Bible called it long before any research was done on the subject. First Peter 4:8 (NLT) says, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
So we don’t have to be afraid to be vulnerable, love, trust, or feel, but we have to approach every situation with prayer, thankfulness, and the peace of God. We have to move in God’s timing and test our hearts with accountability, aware that our feelings can quickly change allegiance from God’s will to our own.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Are you ready to stop allowing your emotions to dictate your destiny? Order a copy of my book, Better Than You Feel: Making Your Emotions Work For You, today!
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